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Mike Portnoy Clarifies Dream Theater Invite for 50th Birthday Bash

Mike Portnoy says that he completely understands why his former bandmates in Dream Theater declined his invitation to join him in a performance of the group’s “12 Step Suite” in its entirety aboard the Cruise to the Edge this past February.

“I think people might have misinterpreted it and might have started to think that there was a reunion brewing, so I can understand why they turned it down,” he said in a recent interview with Rockhok (seen above). “And for selfish reasons, for myself, in a way, I kind of liked it as well, because if they had come, suddenly the focus would have been on that, and, really, it was supposed to be a celebration of my whole career, with all the different bands, celebrating my fiftieth birthday. So, in a lot of ways, it turned out okay.”

Portnoy went on to say that he had no hard feelings toward Dream Theater. “I love those guys,” he explained. “And I always try to extend the olive branch and keep the friendship alive. I do my best with that.”

“12 Step Suite” is a collection of five songs documenting Portnoy’s battle with alcoholism, recorded by Dream Theater from 2002 to 2009. The titles clearly reflect his struggles: “The Glass Prison,” “This Dying Soul,” “The Root of All Evil,” “Repentance” and “The Shattered Fortress.”

Portnoy, who also celebrated his 50th birthday on Cruise to the Edge, had initially said that he’d always intended to one day perform 12 Step Suite in its entirety live onstage with Dream Theater. Unfortunately, his 2010 exit from the band seemed to have removed that possibility.

Asked if it was his original intention to perform “12 Step Suite” with Dream Theater on Cruise to the Edge, Portnoy said, “That was never the plan. When I first came up with the 50th birthday concert, or whatever, the invitation from Cruise to the Edge, and I started putting the… I invited Flying Colors, I invited Transatlantic, and I thought the right thing to do would be to invite the Dream Theater guys as well. So I did extend the invitation, at least to the couple of guys that I’m still friendly with. I wanted to give them first crack at joining me. They are friends of mine for a very, very, very long time, and we created the music together. So I, of course, extended the invitation to them first and foremost. And then once they said they were unavailable, that’s when I put together this great band.”

Portnoy had been playing shows globally with his Shattered Fortress project. The project’s all-star prog-rock lineup for the tour, includes Ross Jennings on vocals, Eric Gillette, Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths on guitar, Connor Green on bass and Diego Tejeida on keyboards. Together, they have not only performed the “12 Step Suite” in its entirety, but a few other Dream Theater classics as well.

Portnoy, who co-founded Dream Theater more than 30 years ago, took leave from the band back in 2010 to tour with Avenged Sevenfold. He was eventually replaced behind the kit by Mike Mangini, and in the time since Portnoy has played with a number of bands.

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Mike Portnoy Discusses His Battle With Alcoholism

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