DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci says that fans shouldn’t read anything into his recent encounter with Mike Portnoy, explaining that he continues to maintain a “good relationship” with his former bandmate.
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 30 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
After Portnoy posted a photo this past New Year’s Eve of him hanging out with Petrucci, many DREAM THEATER fans expressed hope that it represented a thawing of tensions between the two musicians who had been friends for more than three decades.
During a recent interview with Music Radar, Petrucci was asked for the background story behind the Internet-shattering picture. He said: “Mike and I have maintained a relationship and have been friends all these years. Our families are all good friends, and we’ve gotten together several times. That just was the first time we took a photo and posted a photo. [There’s] nothing to read into, other than it’s good to maintain good relationships. That’s really all it is.”
Petrucci was also asked for his opinion of SONS OF APOLLO, which features Portnoy, former DREAM THEATER keyboardist Derek Sherinian, guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-GUNS N’ ROSES), bassist Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, THE WINERY DOGS) and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (W.E.T., TALISMAN). “Mike gave me the record,” John said. “I haven’t listened to it yet. I heard the first song that came out. It sounds great. Those guys are all amazing, and Ron is an incredible guitar player.
“Mike‘s funny,” Petrucci continued. “He handed me a whole bunch of stuff that he had done — FLYING COLORS, SONS OF APOLLO, the Neal Morse record which I hadn’t had a chance to listen to — so I have a lot of listening ahead of me.”
Portnoy told “The Metal Podcast” that he and John “have actually reconnected over the last year or two and actually gotten together many times and had dinner together with our families.” He added: “The reality is he and I have been friends since the first week in college back in September of 1985, so it’s a relationship that goes back 33 years. And our families are all friends, our wives and our kids are all friends, we all grew up together, and that’s never gonna go away.
“After I left DREAM THEATER, there were some years worth of drama and bullshit. But the reality is you put all that aside and friends are friends and family is family and John and I will always be friends and family.
“Like I said, we’ve hung out a lot in the last year or so, but we never kind of went public with it, we never posted any pictures of it, we never really talked about it — we didn’t wanna stir anything up,” Portnoy said. “But we were together New Year’s Eve and his family was here at my house and we were just feeling the love. And it was, like, ‘You know what? What a great message to start off the year. Can’t we all get along? Give peace a chance.’ And we decided to post that picture just to put some smiles on people’s faces.”