Author Topic: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?  (Read 71849 times)

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Offline Shine

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5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« on: August 12, 2015, 04:07:17 PM »
Just about 5 years ago, Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater after a disagreement about the direction of the band. He said that he didn't want to end the band, just go on a 5 year break to recharge creatively.

Well, here we are. 5 years later. And I think it's worth considering whether Portnoy had a point. Look at the 2 albums released since his leave: A Dramatic Turn of Events and Dream Theater. Maybe not the worst work that they've ever done, but I think there's a wide consensus that these two albums are average at best the creative efforts behind these previous two albums have been received with a mixed response. A Dramatic Turn of Events, while arguably the most "progressive" work they've done in years, took a huge number of queues directly from Images and Words. Dream Theater, so far as I can tell from my experience with the fan base, is generally seen as being no better than ADTOE in terms of overall quality. (I'm talking averages here people. Yes, some people *love* DT, but from what I've seen that's not the most common point of view).

So what if they had taken a 5 year break? They would, assuming they stuck to the plan, be just now getting back together and writing new material for the first time since Black Clouds.

Do you think the band was right to stick together, drop have Portnoy leave, find a new drummer, and carry on? Or was Portnoy on to something? Could they have used a few years off to recharge?

EDIT:Some edits to clarify my points and fix some errors.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 05:03:06 PM by Shine »
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Offline ariich

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2015, 04:08:49 PM »
Look at the 2 albums released since his leave: A Dramatic Turn of Events and Dream Theater. Maybe not the worst work that they've ever done, but I think there's a wide consensus that these two albums are average at best.
Not sure why you think this. ???

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2015, 04:17:40 PM »
If they took a break, they would be forgotten and trying to gain lost ground.

If they took a break, there would be no Breaking All Illusions, which placed second in the DTF tournament this year.

Did Mike Portnoy sound more refreshed creatively nowadays?  I don't hear it.

Offline wolven74

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2015, 04:18:06 PM »
Look at the 2 albums released since his leave: A Dramatic Turn of Events and Dream Theater. Maybe not the worst work that they've ever done, but I think there's a wide consensus that these two albums are average at best.
Not sure why you think this. ???

I agree. I think both ADTOE and DT12 are refreshing after the last couple with Portnoy. Besides, I don't think Portnoy would have come back with a lot of fresh ideas. I think he wanted to go in a harder direction than JP, JR, JM or JLB wanted. I don't think the band's decision would have changed if they'd taken a hiatus. Portnoy is happier out of DT... DT seems happy having a new, seemingly more creative partner behind the monster.
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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2015, 04:24:39 PM »
Well, here we are. 5 years later. And I think it's worth considering whether Portnoy had a point. Look at the 2 albums released since his leave: A Dramatic Turn of Events and Dream Theater. Maybe not the worst work that they've ever done, but I think there's a wide consensus that these two albums are average at best.

My favorite thing on DTF is when commenters confuse their own personal opinions with the "consensus" of the entire body of DT's fans.

Offline wolfking

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2015, 04:37:35 PM »
A Dramatic Turn of Events and Dream Theater. Maybe not the worst work that they've ever done, but I think there's a wide consensus that these two albums are average at best.

I don't think this is correct.

I thought from my personal opinion that ADTOE was average but have grown to appreciate it.  The self titled on the other hand blew me away, based on that album, I'd disagree with Portnoy saying they needed a hiatus.

Offline bl5150

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2015, 04:45:36 PM »
The last 2 albums got me back on board in terms of genuine interest in new releases after a long period of "passing interest".
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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2015, 04:46:40 PM »
I thought from my personal opinion that ADTOE was average but have grown to appreciate it.  The self titled on the other hand blew me away, 
It's the complete opposite for me.

And to the OP, the band did NOT
drop Portnoy,
He Quit. I know you said that in your first sentence but by the end of your post, apparently something changed.

The last 2 albums got me back on board in terms of genuine interest in new releases after a long period of "passing interest".
I would take the last two albums over the previous two all day long.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline sneakyblueberry

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2015, 04:57:31 PM »
Look at the 2 albums released since his leave: A Dramatic Turn of Events and Dream Theater. Maybe not the worst work that they've ever done, but I think there's a wide consensus that these two albums are average at best.
Not sure why you think this. ???

i would agree with you, Shine, that the albums are average, but a lot of people seem to dig them.

Offline RandalGraves

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2015, 05:01:11 PM »
I see what you're saying, Shine, and it's actually an interesting point to make. However, the big difference is not the 5 years they would've taken off had they agreed with Portnoy (as well as the albums they've created in the interim), but the direction of the band as a whole.

Given the integral role Portnoy played in Dream Theater, the other members have had to step up and become acclimated to doing things without him.  They also had to find another member of "the family" so that they continue playing and creating music. We can speculate over whether or not the output from here on out would be as good, but I can tell you this: I much prefer ADTOE and DT12 to SC and BCASL.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2015, 05:05:01 PM »
To answer the question: no.

As for the OP, LOL at editing it from incorrectly saying that fans didn't care that much for ADTOE to going down the "they borrowed from I&W" route. 

Offline Shine

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2015, 05:10:36 PM »
To answer the question: no.

As for the OP, LOL at editing it from incorrectly saying that fans didn't care that much for ADTOE to going down the "they borrowed from I&W" route.

I didn't say the fans didn't care for it (and I left my original wording in there, so I'm not hiding anything) I said that it was an average album.
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Offline Kotowboy

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2015, 05:30:01 PM »
Look at the 2 albums released since his leave: A Dramatic Turn of Events and Dream Theater. Maybe not the worst work that they've ever done, but I think there's a wide consensus that these two albums are average at best.
Not sure why you think this. ???

Yeah , apart from a minority - i'd say A Dramatic Turn Of Events was considered a massive step up from the previous album.

Offline Kotowboy

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2015, 05:31:04 PM »
And ELL OH ELL at the idea that ADTOE borrows the arrangements from Images & Words and implies that that's a bad thing :lol

How many bands have songs with identical structures ?

Offline Darkstarshades

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2015, 05:32:10 PM »
Personally, I doubt they would have ever reunited had they done the 5 year break.
It's a very long period of time, which would be facing its end just now.
I personally think everyone of them would have lost interest in DT and focused in doing other stuff, so no, I don't think it was the best thing to do.
You can say "1 year is nothing" right now, but when that year actually passes, you'll be like "wtf, I'm very different now", seriously, let alone half a decade.
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Offline Kotowboy

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2015, 05:36:38 PM »
I remember the whole debacle very clearly. I remember waking up to a text from my DT fan pal who said Portnoy has quit Dream Theater !!!

And I spent the whole day reading articles online about it...

Then the whole sorry " woe is me " passive aggressive deleted twitter  /facebook posts with back pedalling almost apologies began and seemed like they didn't stop for a year or maybe two.

Every time I was ready to start liking Mike P again - he'd say something else stupid and i'd be like ::) Oh ffs.

The best thing he did since quitting DT was to jump overboard from the sinking ship that was Adrenaline Mob.

Offline Shine

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2015, 06:11:33 PM »
I think I should be clear: at no point in my original post did I say whether or not I think Dream Theater would be better or worse off if they had taken the break. I'm really just interested in discussing the idea. But it seems like just about everyone here is more interested in mocking the very idea that Dream Theater could possibly be better off if they had taken time off, rather than having a reasoned discussion on the topic.

Sorry I brought it up.
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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2015, 06:13:24 PM »
The last 2 albums got me back on board in terms of genuine interest in new releases after a long period of "passing interest".
I would take the last two albums over the previous two all day long.

Every bit of this.   IMO, SC was their worst album, and still is.   BCSL was not really much better.    The step up in quality after the change was...well...dramatic. 

MP was correct that the band needed a fresh direction, it was just obviously not anticipated that the fresh direction would come via a split.   

In the end, and considering where they were at the time, it seems to me that both parties benefited from the split...though I think DT got the slightly better end of the deal.
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Offline Kotowboy

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2015, 06:23:59 PM »
Portnoy got a reduced income and no steady "home".

DT lost a drummer who thought he was the star of the show and the rest of the band would Kowtow ( nugget ) to his every whim.

DT gained a drummer who was more than grateful to have the job.

Offline SeRoX

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2015, 06:27:57 PM »
Considering MP was a huge part of DT both musical ideas and playing wise ADTOE is a great success and example thay can still do great music without him. As for the self-titled album it's even better than ADTOE, IMO.

So, MP is not right after all.
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Offline Kotowboy

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2015, 06:36:24 PM »
I think A Dramatic Turn Of Events is way better than DT12 - but it's mostly due to that awful snare on DT12.

Both albums have great songs - but DT12 has more duffers to my ears.

I like every song on A Dramatic Turn...But don't really enjoy Along For The Ride or Surrender To Reason...

And Illumination Theory is good but it's very disjointed.

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2015, 07:00:49 PM »
I think I should be clear: at no point in my original post did I say whether or not I think Dream Theater would be better or worse off if they had taken the break. I'm really just interested in discussing the idea. But it seems like just about everyone here is more interested in mocking the very idea that Dream Theater could possibly be better off if they had taken time off, rather than having a reasoned discussion on the topic.

Sorry I brought it up.

Everybody is discussing whether they think Portnoy is right or not. Nobody can just discuss it with enough substance because the event never really happened

Offline ResultsMayVary

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2015, 07:38:32 PM »
I prefer ADTOE and DT12 over SC and BC&SL, so I'd say Portnoy was wrong.
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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2015, 08:12:05 PM »
https://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=43404.msg1935862#msg1935862

DTF ranks ADTOE #5, ahead of every MP album after SDOIT.
DTF ranks DT12 #9, ahead of the last two MP albums and WDADU.

Given that the fans here tend to like most or all of DT's albums, I don't think I would consider a rank of #6 or #7 to be an "average" effort.

My commentary would be:
DTF generally considers ADTOE to be among the band's best efforts, and the consensus definitely says it's the best since SDOIT, edging at ToT. Even if you consider that one a statistical tie, the consensus say that it's the best album since ToT.
DTF has had a mixed response to DT12. Few people rank it in their top three. Over 2/3 of users rank it within their top nine. But 15 users rank it in the bottom three. However, though DT12 comes in 9th, it's not very far behind #8 8VM or #7 FII at all. And it's way ahead of #10 BCSL. I would say the consensus on DT12 is that there is none, because it's a very divisive album, but that the result factors out to the fans thinking it's an average album, nothing special within their discography, but well better than the last two Portnoy albums, which DTF considers to be among the worst alongside WDADU.
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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2015, 08:19:26 PM »
I'm going to go with the Portnoy was probably right angle.

The last to albums were middle of the road for me.  Mainly, there really was nothing about the last two albums or songs that make me want to put them on but once or twice a year.  And mainly to see if the passage of time has changed my opinion.

The most DT advancement song is probably Illumination Theory and as others have stated, there are problems with it.  It has some really great moments, but misses the mark in the larger perspective.

Portnoy would have benefited the most from the hiatus because he would be the one throwing himself into different projects with totally different people.  And that's a big part of growing musically.

Petrucci probably would have released his solo album.  Not exactly a negative.  We might have even had some of the I&W2 and DT12 songs with Rudess on them.  Possibly even Mangini.  But maybe a different singer.  That could be awesome.

LaBrie probably would have one more LaBrie project album.  I think those projects help his growth outside of DT which can be returned back into DT.

Rudess would probably just keep pumping out his solo albums.  No real change there.

Myung is the wild card.  Most likely he would have teamed up with somebody and not been the main driving musical force like Jelly Jam and Platypus.

But we probably would have more, not less music.  And I think the last two DT albums have shown that the magic does have something to do with the Petrucci-keyboardist-Portnoy team.  And it seems kind of clear by now that Mangini is not going to step up into that role and the other guys have had plenty of time to do so.

This next DT album is going to shape my perspective on future DT.  If it is at Dramatic/12 level, I'll still buy it ... but it won't feel like a Christmas morning present purchase like the glory days.

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2015, 08:33:37 PM »
I prefer ADTOE and DT12 over SC and BC&SL, so I'd say Portnoy was wrong.

On top of the fact that their popularity was seemingly growing with new fans....they were as 'big' as they'd ever been and on a roll career wise and MP wanted to just abruptly stop all due to the fact he was having more fun with a younger band.

I don't think MP ever stopped to consider the fact that his tendencies may have been the underlying 'issue' with why he felt the way he did about the band, his relationships with his band members and how 'stale' it felt to him.

The rest of them have not missed a beat (IMO been more sharp and writing better since) and seem way more energized than when MP was around. Sure....he's done some projects as well but I think the fact that he came back to them and asked for his spot back after AvengedSevenfold didn't ask him to continue to tour with them is a clear indication that he didn't need or want a break.....he just wanted to hold those guys hostage for a bit while he yucked it up with a younger, more 'popular' band.

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Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2015, 08:46:08 PM »
Judging by the animosity that erupted once it had half a chance to, I honestly don’t think the band would ever have reformed after a 5 year break. Or if they had, Portnoy, or others, would have been absent.

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2015, 08:49:43 PM »
he just wanted to hold those guys hostage for a bit while he yucked it up with a younger, more 'popular' band.
I could argue the inverse.  In fact, you kind of did.  Petrucci, et al were basically arguing financial security as well.

And if you want to get a little mean, you could argue reworking I&W is the epitome of them worrying more about a release schedule than recording an album because there is music in them they just have to "put to tape".

And then DT12 is all about capturing "DTisms"?  Although I neither love nor hate DT12, I could never come up with one word to describe my emotional perception of the album.  But going back and thinking about it in this thread, I think I've come up with the perfect word:  homogenized.  Illumination Theory is the only song that sounds like semi-new ground for DT.

But the *not feud* *feud* was great for DT's career.  It had people like me that had long lost their proginity to DT and now it was just a ritual suddenly coming back on DT related conversation centers to see what was up.

Offline jingle.boy

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2015, 09:52:12 PM »
I'll concur completely with TAC - the last two are considerably better than SC and BCSL.  CONSIDERABLY.

I'll say what I said to Mike himself on the PN at Sea cruise... I think the split was best for both of them.  For the band, they got to continue doing what 80% of them wanted to - continue working together, continue to keep the brand alive, continue their momentum (hello... two grammy nominations, festival headlining this summer), and not fade into obscurity through a 5 year break.  It's not like they have enough mass appeal that 5 years wouldn't have had some kind of impact.  Think they would've headlined all these festivals anytime soon if they'd been gone for 5 years?

Mike got to do what he wanted to do... flex his own creative muscle and let those juices flow.  If he felt stale, the last 5 years have given him what he wanted (with mixed results)... NM Solo, Transatlantic, Flying Colors AMob, Winery Dogs, PSMS, Bigelf, and a handful of other studio contributions.  Not to mention all the touring that went along with those acts.  No way he would've been able to do 1/2 of that if he stayed with DT.

Also, let's not forget the positive impact from and for Mike Mangini.

So, was Mike right ... yes - for himself.  He wasn't completely right.  IMO, the band is in a far better spot now than they could've hoped to have been by "re-starting" right now.

As to the OP,
My favorite thing on DTF is when commenters confuse their own personal opinions with the "consensus" of the entire body of DT's fans.

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2015, 10:52:48 PM »
What was Mike's reaction when you told him that?

And I'm in the win win camp. DT got to continue and reinvigorate themselves and MP gets to do what he wants to do. Although I think this next album with truly answer if this was for the best. I think 3 albums will be a good measure. My heart is heavily leaning towards it was for the best.
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Offline Darkstarshades

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2015, 11:00:26 PM »
MP has awesome white hair coming in, I'm really looking forward to letting my hair go white without dyeing it when I get around those ages, I just find it cool.
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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2015, 11:54:55 PM »
I find ADTOE to be fairly bland and uninspired overall, and could do entirely without DT12, and neither album is even better than SC/BCASL, so I'd have loved to see what would have happened if they'd taken a break instead.
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Offline Cyclopssss

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2015, 01:34:17 AM »
Well the thing we must'nt forget is that the band was in a crucial stage in their carreer at the time. I can imagine he felt that way having been in there for so long, but it would have seriously damaged their carreer at that point had they took the time out. 
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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2015, 02:44:31 AM »
The other thing we mustn't forget is that 5 years was a maximum. 5 years would have been too long, but it could/would have been as low as half a year or so if they'd agreed to it, which I think would have been great to revitalize and work on side projects. *cough* JP solo album *cough*
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Yep. I think the only party in the MP/DT situation that hasn't moved on is DTF.

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Re: 5 years later, was Portnoy right?
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2015, 02:49:54 AM »
Agree. One year might have done the trick. But that's all water under the bridge downtown now.
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