Back in September, drummer Mike Portnoy announced he was leaving prog giants Dream Theater. There wasn't a single person who wasn't shocked -- even Portnoy admitted to a personal level of struggle. "Dream Theater is my baby and I never wanted to abandon my child," he said in a recent interview with Classic Rock Prog magazine. "I only felt the parents needed a little breather to help save the marriage."

Portnoy originally only intended to to take a break and postpone the next round of writing, recording and touring, as he felt drianed by that ongoing pattern and felt the entire band was worn out, too. "Yes, on the surface it may seem that life was great and full steam ahead for Dream Theater ... things like playing Download and Wembley, the recent [Iron Maiden] tour in the U.S., top 10 entry on Billboard were all nice feathers in the cap ... but beneath the surface, there was a lot of friction and burn-out."

He continued, "I mean, we have one band member that would literally not even sit in the same room with the rest of us for years now and we'd only see him on stage or at meet and greets ... and then other members just doing a lot of complaining about the day-to-day stuff. To me, these are obvious signs of wear and tear and a need for a break from each other in order to recharge the batteries and reignite the flame. On the opposite hand, I would go out on tour with Transatlantic or Avenged Sevenfold and all of the band members are hanging out, eating meals together and enjoying each other's company."

But Dream Theater has decided to move on, even though there's still no official word on who will fill the large void left by Portnoy.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say I am devastated they chose to continue without me rather than take a break. After me giving my heart and soul, blood, sweat and tears to them and the band for 25 years, I hoped they'd value me and our relationship enough to respect my need for us to take a little break. I am truly heartbroken over their decision. I suppose it also kills me that in the past the guys never would question or ever debate my direction within the band. They always let me call the shots and always trusted my vision and guidance. And now, with such a huge and personal conflict ... they disagreed with me for the first time ... on the biggest decision of them all.

"The big irony here is that I wanted a break to help mend and strengthen our relations and ultimately bring us closer together ... and now by them choosing to move on without me it is ultimately going to seriously damage our relationship ... as well as the Dream Theater legacy I spent so long building and protecting."