Ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy has commented on the settlement singer Geoff Tate reached with his former bandmates over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name, which gives Geoff sole ability to perform “Operation: Mindcrime” and “Operation: Mindcrime II” in their entirety.
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more 29 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
During an appearance on yesterday’s (Monday, May 12) edition of Eddie Trunk‘s show “Trunk Nation” on SiriusXM‘s Hair Nation, Portnoy stated about the legal agreement between Tate and the other original members of QUEENSRŸCHE: “I think it’s smart [that Geoff retained the rights to ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ and ‘Operation: Mindcrime II’. I mean, that’s what Roger Watersa [of PINK FLOYD] did with ‘The Wall’. And, to be honest, I wish I did it with my Twelve-Step Suite, [but] I didn’t think of it at the time. ‘Cause I get that. If DREAM THEATER was to go out there and perform my five-song concept thing that was completely my concept and my baby, it would break my heart to see them doing that. So I get it.”
He continued: “I know for the first ten years of Roger Waters‘ post-PINK FLOYD career, it would kill him that PINK FLOYD would be playing stadiums — we’re not talking arenas; stadiums! — and Roger was playing theaters or half-filled areneas, and only because they had the name. But he smartly did retain the rights to ‘The Wall’, and I think he got the last laugh where over the last three years or so, he’s been playing stadiums and making billions of dollars.
“When Geoff worked [the rights to ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ and ‘Operation: Mindcrime II’] into his settlement with QUEENSRYCHE, I mean, I get that. If it was indeed his baby and his concept, then it makes sense. But, to be hionest, who the hell cares about ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ at this point? It’s been so done to death over the last 20 years, who the hell cares?”
Portnoy concluded: “But the reality is, I think it’s right that Michael [Wilton] and Scott [Rockenfield] and Eddie [Jackson] got the name [QUEENSRYCHE], because it’s those three guys and they are in the band. I shouldn’t have gotten the name DREAM THEATER; it makes sense [and] I get it. [Michael, Scott and Eddie are] sticking together, they’re gonna see it out. But the fact of the matter is they’re playing the stuff that people wanna hear; they’re solely doing the stuff from their first five [QUEENSRYCHE] albums. And what is Geoff gonna do now? I guess he’s gonna have to start working on a solo career and start to build up his own name…. I think he can play whatever he wants, but they can’t do ‘Mindcrime’ [parts] I or II without him. But, like I said, it’s been done so many times, who the hell cares at this point?”
The Twelve-Step Suite (also known as the Twelve-step Saga or Alcoholics Anonymous Suite), is a set of five songs by DREAM THEATER, with one track has featured on each of the band’s studio albums from “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” through “Black Clouds & Silver Linings”. The lyrics to each song, written by Portnoy, deal with his experience of alcoholism.
A few weeks after QUEENSRYCHE fired Geoff Tate in June 2012 and replaced him with Todd La Torre, Portnoy publicly commented on the split, telling Eddie Trunk on the “Friday Night Rocks” radio show on New York’s Q104.3 FM: “I was there in Brazil when the fireworks went down [between Tate and the other QUEENSRŸCHE guys]. I was filling in, playing drums for [QUEENSRŸCHE‘s support act] FATES WARNING at that gig [in April 2012] in Sao Paulo, so I’ve had to kind of keep my mouth shut on [what happened] that [night]. But we witnessed a lot of what went down firsthand, and it was just shocking. But, to be honest, the writing has kind of been on the wall for years.
“Geoff and I have had our words in the press and all that kind of stuff through the years, and I’ve seen some of this stuff definitely in the works through the years, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me.”
“I don’t wanna say too much, because I think anything I say will probably used against me [chuckles], but I will say that I’m excited to see where Scott [Rockenfield, drums], Michael [Wilton, guitar] and Eddie [Jackson, bass] go,” Portnoy continued. “‘Cause I really do like those guys and I’ve always gotten along with those three guys; I think they’re awesome dudes. I think, to a certain extent, they haven’t been able to be themselves and have the creative outlet that, I think, all three have wanted to have for all these years. So I will just say I’m excited to see what they come out with musically and I truly support them. I really like those guys.”
“I’ve seen the writing on the all for years, since [QUEENSRŸCHE and DREAM THEATER] toured together, and some of the war of words that went down, it’s no surprise to me,” he added. “I know for a lot of people it’s all shocking, but for [me], I’ve kind of seen some of the behind-the-scenes stuff through the years, so it’s not so shocking to me.”
Portnoy and Tate engaged in a minor public feud in 2006 over Tate‘s alleged “bashing” of DREAM THEATER following the two bands’ co-headlining tour in the summer of 2003. The two progressive hard rock giants had originally intended to join forces for a package tour in 2000 — a plan that failed to materialize after QUEENSRŸCHE decided to take the middle slot on IRON MAIDEN‘s “Brave New World” tour instead. This move infuriated Portnoy, who told Metal Sludge several months later, “I have a bone to pick with [QUEENSRŸCHE]… We had a summer tour in the works being booked with them which I think would have been cool for the fans and they backed out in the 11th hour which f*cked us over….I think maybe they realized that having to play after us would make their fans realize how much they suck now!”