Before I write this, understand that this is MY statement. Mike might kill me for speaking up, but I just can't sit by quietly. I guess I'm like Mike in that way.
PLEASE stop reading between the lines with this whole situation. There is no hidden meaning in all of this (is there ever with Mike? The guy is an open book with his fans!!). Everything Mike said in his interview with Eddie Trunk, in his press release or otherwise is everything he has been saying to me for the past year, at least. He LOVES the other (DT) guys and their families. They have grown up together, married women that were (and are) best friends, have raised their kids as best friends. They are family. This was not an easy decision for him as a drummer, founding band member (and band leader) or person.
Let's put 25 years into perspective. I am 40. I met John and John when I was 15. How many friends do I still have that I have had to live AND work with for the past 25 years? Not a single one. I can't imagine looking at the same group of people for that many years and being able to come up with new, fun ideas (that will then be judged the world over). My friends and I get stuck on doing the same things on random weekend gatherings!
Remember, this is strictly my perspective here...
You'd think that being a rock star would be 100% fun 100% of the time. But I know that Mike works extremely hard and takes every bit of this experience to heart. You might think you know, but you have no idea (to borrow a line from Behind the Music). It is a part of who he is as a person, it is definitely not just a job. He's been running at a pace (WITH DREAM THEATER) most people couldn't keep up for a few months, much less 25 years. He just wants a break. He wants to have the chance to play with other musicians and be reminded of how special this all is. He wants to have fun and not be in charge of every detail for a bit. (And for those of you thinking he should just let others take the reins in DT, all I'll say is that you have no idea what you are talking about.)
The way I see it, it's not a matter of Mike not wanting to be in DT (Remember, he DOES want to be in DT... he NEVER wanted or planned to leave the band). Giving up Dream Theater must be like giving up a child for him. I know it's been horribly painful. But I am extremely proud of him for recognizing that he needs to be reinvigorated and for doing what he needs to do to make that happen. You know Mike. He does not do anything half-assed. He wants every drop of music that Dream Theater releases to be perfect and fulfilling for everyone. Right now, he is guaranteeing that he can't do that. Maybe (apparently) the other guys don't feel the same about this situation, I can't speak to that, but he knows that he needs a break to be able to bring the best of himself to the table. There is no alterier motive. He genuinely just needs a break. He needs a break that allows him to find new inspiration and have some down time. When he has done his other side projects, if you think he was not also working on DT stuff, you'd be incredibly mistaken.
I guess I got a bit long-winded there... sorry, but it's torture to sit back and watch my brother getting ripped apart or criticized for making this incredibly INCREDIBLY hard choice. And for those of you who are supporting/understanding of his decision, I want you to know HOW MUCH it is appreciated.
Thanks for listening...
<message edited by Portnoy on Saturday, September 11, 2010 7:36 PM>