Founding member of Dream Theater quits the band

Group will continue without drummer Mike Portnoy

Dream Theater founder member Mike Portnoy has announced he is quitting the band.

The drummer formed the group in 1985 with John Myung and John Petrucci and, though there have been various line-up changes, Portnoy is the first founder to leave the band.

Portnoy said that he wanted to take a break and was “hurt” when his bandmates refused and indicated that they would carry on without him, though he has said he will not “stand in their way”.

“It is with profound sadness – regret – we announce that Mike Portnoy, our lifelong drummer and friend, has decided to leave Dream Theater,” the band explained in a statement. “Mike‘s stature in the band has meant the world to all of us professionally, musically and personally over the years. There is no dispute: Mike has been a major force within this band.”

They added: “Fans and friends: File this episode under ‘Black Clouds and Silver Linings’. As planned, we begin recording our newest album in January 2010, and we’ll follow that with a full-on world tour… All of us in Dream Theater wholeheartedly wish Mike the best on his musical journey.”

Responding to his former bandmates, Portnoy issued his own statement explaining that he wanted a break.

“To many people this will come as a complete shock, and will also likely be misunderstood by some, but please believe me that it is not a hasty decision…it is something I have struggled with for the last year or so,” he admitted. “Dream Theater was always my baby…and I nurtured that baby every single day and waking moment of my life since 1985… 24/7, 365… never taking time off from DT‘s never-ending responsibilities… But I’ve come to the conclusion that the DT machine was starting to burn me out… and I really needed a break from the band in order to save my relationship with the other members and keep my DT spirit hungry and inspired.

“Sadly, in discussing this with the guys, they determined they do not share my feelings and have decided to continue without me rather than take a breather… I even offered to do some occasional work throughout 2011 against my initial wishes, but it was not to be… While it truly hurts for me to even think of a Dream Theater without Mike Portnoy (hell, my father named the band!), I do not want to stand in their way, so I have decided to sacrifice myself and simply leave the band so as to not hold them back against their wishes.”