DT, with Portnoy, a few years ago before their group colonoscopy.
Prog has been on my mind lately, and since I railed about it yesterday, I decided to go ahead and give myself a happy ending by finally weighing in about the Dream Theater drummer search and all the lame old man drama surrounding the band because nobody has ever asked me to and nobody is clamoring for my opinion on the subject. So here it is.
My love for Dream Theater runs deep and is unflinching, even in the face of my friends calling me a homo and stuff because I have every album of theirs uploaded onto my iPod, including the live ones. I'm a stone cold prog nerd; I just recently found out that prog is a dead scene, because I called people to stand tall with me as a geek yesterday, and all three people who were actually going to read the article read it by now. Turns out, my dad and the two other people who read this (one of whom I know hates Dream Theater) didn't surprise me. I wasn't expecting anybody to, though, so about this I am unsurprised. But this lame drama shouldn't have even happened. And I'll tell you why.
The Interbung was all atwitter when Mike Portnoy left/got kicked out of Dream Theater a couple of months ago. I, for one, was shocked and appalled by the announcement that he would leave/be kicked out of the group, but it's not because inter-band tensions are unimaginable and surprising. I was surprised because Portnoy at the time had been spending so much time on the road with Avenged Sevenfold, a band about whose shittyness I am outspoken. They suck. Like, out loud. If you're reading this, I'm almost certain that you agree. Since so many of Avenged Sevenfold's fans are illiterate and spend most of their time rewatching Shrek the Third over and over again, it's powerfully improbable that they would ever find this article, and if they do, they would never be able to decode the siguls and heiroglyphs that you and I recognize as letters and words.
Anyway, Portnoy wanted some time off. He was on the road for months with Avenged Sevenfold, watching them do blow off each others half-erect penises while they wear dumb hats and stuff. I can see where that would wear a person out. But the rest of the dudes from Dream Theater were all like "Naw, bro. We need to get this new record done and hit the road ourselves. These Nissan Sentras don't pay for themselves, dude." They gesture at their "rock mobiles," three 2004 Nissan Sentras with matching license plate frames that say "DT THUGZ LIFE" on them. And Mike Portnoy is like "Please?" and the reply comes, "Eat a penis, Mike, you're out of the band!"
"You can't fire me! I QUIT!" screamed Portnoy, tears welling up in his eyes.
"Get out of here before I BEAT YOU UP," shouted John Petrucci, his voice quivering with emotion.
Portnoy runs away, hands flailing about in the air, a series of powerless whimpers escaping his lips. He runs several blocks away and collapsed behind a dumpster in a 7-11 parking lot. The sobs overcome him; he cries for hours. Little does he know that his former bandmates have spent their afternoon in the exact same way, weeping and embracing each other and lamenting the harsh words that were just exchanged.
Or maybe none of that happened.
Anyway, here's my beef. Portnoy shouldn't have been spending all of his time with Avenged Sevenfold. They can easily find some swoop-haircutted wang to leave his mother's basement and stay on the road forever. They shouldn't have even needed Portnoy on the road, and he shouldn't have been wasting his time enabling Avenged Sevenfold to keep assaulting the nation's youth with inferior music and stupid fashion choices. But maybe the dudes from Dream Theater should have chilled out a little bit. I mean, that "eat a penis" remark was a little uncalled for, and the rest of the exchange seemed petty and bitter, as if the rest of Dream Theater just felt that Portnoy had misplaced his priorities in spending so long with another band, especially one whose inferior quality could be read as an affront to the prog community.
But the biggest question looms: Can Dream Theater make a good album without Portnoy behind the skins? Most of you just said "They can't make a good album WITH Portnoy," and I understand that it's your right as an American to be wrong. I love that your inane opinion can be shouted at your computer screen, and I respect freedom of speech even for you, the inferior human who doesn't like Dream Theater. But shut up now; it's time for the grown ups to talk.
I would make the argument that I have no idea what Portnoy usually does in the studio, but I can say with near certainty that he doesn't write very many guitar riffs or keyboard solos, and I would also argue that if he's such a big potato at arranging and it hasn't rubbed off on the rest of the band, they need to just call it quits in general. I mean, after 20+ years in a band, if only one member has any idea how to construct a song, they should maybe look into furthering their education at the community college with all the other dum-dums and ne'er-do-wells who didn't take a hard run at high school. They need to get their brains working again.
Dream Theater's new drummer is Mike Mangini, a very talented and accomplished drummer who has done a ton of amazing things, none of which I have ever heard or even remotely care about. His discography is packed with recordings that I'll never, ever listen to with notable artists that none of us have even the most superficial interest in. It'll be...fine, I guess? The band will be totally fine, and Mike Portnoy will eventually rejoin the band and things will go back to normal for me, with Dream Theater singing songs about somebody's dead dad being his best friend and stuff. Totally awesome.
Time will certainly tell with Dream Theater's new album that's in the works. It's impossible to say what they'll do other than put out another release that sounds exactly like they've always sounded. But on the flipside, we all know that bands shit the bed all the time, often without even losing any members, so we'll have to wait with bated breath and puffy shirts tucked into leather pants to see if any bed shitting occurs.
Since you didn't ask and don't care.