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DREAM THEATER's JAMES LABRIE Is Pretty Stoked He And MIKE PORTNOY Are Friends Again

A nice, feel good story for your Monday.

Photo via LaBrie's Instagram

Dream Theater and founding drummer Mike Portnoy parted ways in 2010. Portnoy reunited with Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci for his solo album in 2020, and then with Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess in Liquid Tension Experiment later that same year. Then this year, Portnoy attended his first Dream Theater show as a fan in New York City and hung with his former bandmates backstage, which was really nice to see.

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Now in an interview with Sonic Perspectives, vocalist James LaBrie talked about the show and making amends with Portnoy. LaBrie said he wasn't given much notice that Portnoy would be attending the show, but eventually decided that enough was enough and that it was time for the two to be friends again. Which again – it's awesome to see musicians getting back on good terms with one another. Especially when they're responsible for such influential music.

"What happened was my manager… This is, like, two hours before the show… So, you know the history with Mike and I. The thing is what was sad about that whole duration where Mike and I didn't see eye to eye is that when Dream Theater started, Images And Words and Awake, Mike and I were best friends — way back — and then we started to fall apart, for several reasons. It doesn't matter — the details don't matter — it's just that we started to have a problem with one another.

"And so about two hours before the New York show, my manager texts me and he said, 'Listen, Mike's gonna be there tonight. He wants to come back and see you. He wants to make amends. I don't mean to do this…' And I said, 'Frank' — to my manager, I said — 'you're putting this in my lap two hours before I play in front of how many thousands of people in New York. Are you kidding me?' So, I thought about it. You know what? I went for a walk, believe it or not.

"I went incognito and I went for a walk in New York. And I walked the streets and I started thinking about it, and I said to myself, 'You know what? Enough is enough. There's enough hate in this world; there's enough frickin' negativity in this world. If Mike wants to come and see me and make amends, then I should be receptive.' And I got in touch… And John Petrucci was also there. So he said, 'Mike wants to know if he can come back and say hi to you,' like I just said. And I said, 'You know what? Yeah. Let him know. For sure. Tell him to come back and see me after the show.' And that's what we did. We chatted. We had a good, long discussion. We made up and gave each other a hug and did a picture together."

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LaBrie later added that he's at a point in his life where carrying around negativity simply isn't worth it.

"The thing is that you get to a point in life where you've gotta… You can't carry around that. Don't carry around hate; don't carry around negativity. We carried it around far too long, as far as I'm concerned, and it didn't serve any purpose; it just served frickin' division. It was very divisive and very damaging."

"Hey, listen, just the other day Mike texts me, and he was, like, 'Hey, James, I just wanna congratulate you on the Grammy. You frickin' well deserve this — you and the band. Awesome. Kudos. Bravo,' all this stuff. And I text Mike back, and I said, 'Frick, man. Mike, that's very admirable of you.' I said, 'In my book, that's pretty damn cool for you to say these things.' And he said, 'Awesome, man. Love it.'

"So, it's great to be back. We're talking to one another, we're chatting and all that stuff. And that's the kind of world that I wanna live in as opposed to negativity, hate and frickin'… It's just not worth it. It's not worth it."

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