Originally Posted by Deltadrummer
Quoting Geddy Lee, "This is the band, these three guys, there is no replacing anyone in the band. "
You can't replace Mike Portnoy in Dream Theater. Whoever they would get to take his place while on hiatus would be temporary for a year or two. And if the members of the band don't address it like that, they are really deluded, and a bit short sided.
That Geddy quote has been running through mind too.
And I agree, you can't replace Mike. You can find people who can play his drum parts, but I Mike was essentially the front man for the band, the guy who did the most press and the most promotion, and lead the whole thing. That is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to replace his leadership.
And that fact that the core of the band, the drummer, bassists and guitarist have been together since college, creates a vibe that can't be easily be replicated with people who don't have that bond.
As much as I've been disappointed in their last two albums, and questioning if I'm really a DT fan anymore, I have to say, after sleeping on this news, I find it quite depressing.
Back in the late 80's/early 90's I was really looking for a band to come into my life that would be like Dream Theater. I listened to a lot of Shrapnel recordings, because they had all the incredible musicianship, but much of it was instrumental, and the few releases that had vocals were usually pretty bad vocals, with terrible lyrics, like Cacophony. Metallica had publically distanced themselves from more technical playing. Rush was mellowing out. I loved Queensryche, but they weren't quite on the same level of musicianship as the Shrapnel stuff. And I used to think, "why can't there be a band that can play the technical stuff like the Shrapnel bands , but have good vocals, and good lyrics, and play songs that are actually listenable" Then when I heard Dream Theater, it was like a dream came true (pardon the pun).
So, outside of Rush and The Who, Dream Theater has been one of my favorite bands since 91/92. Granted, I don't care for every album or every song, but still, they were right there.
Over the last few years, I've been questioning my level of a DT though. Their last two albums were terrible in my opinion. And I've discovered other bands, like Katatonia, who have some technical elements, but are more focused on song writing than chops.
While it seems DT have lost interest in writing songs over just technically jamming. Although from what I've read, their last two albums seem to have sold better than prior one's, so I was thinking, maybe I'm in the minority.
Several albums ago, Dream Theater decided to not use outside producers. Which OK, I understand. Then they also decided, they would not pre-write or demo any material, and they would just go into the studio, and write as they recorded, and what ever came out, came out. Which made some pretty cool albums.
But rather than saying "That was cool, and it worked, now lets try something else" the band, under Mike's leadership decided that this formula was the new rule. And in interviews over the last few years, Mike had been very insistent that they never write outside of the studio, and everything must be made up on the spot. Which is what I think hurt the last two albums. Ideas were there, but they weren't developed as songs, and the band relied too much on their skill as shredders to fill in where the songs weren't developed. As opposed to albums like "Images and Worlds" that was written and re-written several times before it was recorded, or "Awake" that was rehearsed before going into the studio.
And if you're a prog band, and use "rules" it's less at the heart of what makes a band "progressive" because it's no longer progress. Mike has refused to work outside of a certain set of boundaries. Dream Theater, in the past, has always been about not having any boundaries.
So, I'm pretty depressed about one of my favorite bands losing their leader. I can't imagine buying a new DT albums, or buying a DT ticket knowing Mike isn't there. But there is a little part of me that thinks, well, maybe without Mike's rules, the rest of the band might go back to writing songs, and less filler. But then again, I'm scared of what John Petrucci might do without someone else to rein him in, as his lyrics have been pretty awful the last two albums, and it was Mike's lyrics that saved what songs were left.
Dream Theater has already issued a press release saying their going back into the studio in January. So the band, it seems, is determined to carry on without him. And to an extent, I understand. It wasn't their idea that Mike go and do all these side projects and tours. It's their life too, and they have the right and need to keep working.
But then you go back to Rush, and they realized that without Neil, there was no point in even trying, so they waited patiently until Neil was ready.Of course, that was completely different circumstances, but still, Geddy and Alex realized it wouldn't be the same and wasn't worth trying.
Anyhow, if I were a betting man, I'd imagine either Mike Mangini or Bobby Jarzombek joins the band, with a small chance of Rod Morgenstein.
I'll be curious as to what the next album will sound like, but I won't be rushing out to buy it the second it comes out like I have in the past.