Avenged Sevenfold's Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance on Mike Portnoy

After Mike Portnoy quit Dream Theater last year, the drummer was eyeing a new career with Avenged Sevenfold. But in a new interview, the band's guitarists, Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance, say that was never part of their plan.

Speaking to Guitar World magazine, Gates said that he considered Portnoy "family," but indicated that one of the problems of a long-term professional relationship with the Dream Theater man (who filled in as a recording and touring player following the death of A7X's original drummer, Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan) was money.

"He's 'Mike Portnoy,'" said Gates. "He's established. He makes a lot of money. More than we can really dish out, especially at this point. And my whole thing after Jimmy died was if we were ever going to do this, I wanted to give a young kid a chance.

"That would have been a dream come true, to breathe some new life from a death," he continued. "And so this feels right. And unfortunately, Mike made some decisions that I don't know if he's super happy with at this point, and that weren't very conducive to his well being."

Guitarists urged Portnoy not to quit DT

Regarding Portnoy's decision to leave Dream Theater, fellow guitarist Zacky Vengeance stressed that the move "was something we had no say in, because he's a grown man and he makes his own decisions. But we had urged against it, fully knowing we weren't ready to commit to him. But it's his life."

Last December, Avenged Sevenfold decided to stop working with Portnoy and picked Arin Ilejay, former Confide drummer, to continue the Nightmare tour.

Portnoy, who had reached out to Dream Theater to rejoin and was rejected (the group had already hired Mike Mangini), has been busier than ever in 2011, working with his Beatles tribute band, Yellow Matter Custard, Neal Morse, and forming not one but two bands, Adrenaline Mob and a yet-to-be-named group with former Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.