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Liquid Tension Experiment: Is Mike Portnoy about to reunite with his former Dream Theater bandmates?

Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie may have recently put the idea of Mike Portnoy returning to Dream Theater any time soon to bed, there might be hope for DT fans wanting to see Portnoy reunite with at least one of his former bandmates. 

Dream Theater keyboard player, Jordan Rudess has indicated that the pair’s instrumental prog supergroup - which in its previous incarnation also featured DT founder and guitarist John Petrucci, and King Crimson bassist Tony Levin - could be about to reform.

While Rudess didn’t give specifics about which members would potentially be involved in the latest version of the band (which has existed as both a four-piece and a trio), when asked during a recent fan-requested video on Cameo, Rudess said “The first question was about LTE - are they going to get back together? Are we going to get back together?" 

"Well, the answer is: we are looking at our schedules, we are organising a time. You know, with the pandemic it’s been a little difficult to coordinate personal gatherings. But, it looks very good my friend.”

The quote from Rudess adds greater certainty to the idea, after both he and John Petrucci have both answered positively to questions surrounding the status of the band in 2019. Rudess telling Ghost Cult magazine "Everybody is into it. We all kind of agree that it would be cool. It's more a question of timing…This is something that we want to do, and we will do at some point, but scheduling-wise, that's the complication."

Meanwhile, speaking on The Everyman Podcast in March of last year, Petrucci said, "I know that's something that people are curious about and would definitely enjoy. I'm open to it. It's not something that we really have been talking about too much because we're so busy and we have a tour coming up, but we're all friends, we're all in touch and open for that, so I'm sure that's something that everybody would love to do at some point."

Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater in 2009, with Mike Mangini being hired as his replacement after the band famously auditioned seven world-class progressive drummers to fill the spot.

Liquid Tension Experiment released two studio albums with its four-piece line-up, Liquid Tension Experiment and Liquid Tension Experiment 2, in 1998 and 1999 respectively. In 2001, Mike Portnoy also released the instructional DVD, Liquid Drum Theater, incorporating music from both albums as well as his work with Dream Theater to that date. 

John Petrucci, however, was absent from sessions for 2007’s Spontaneous Combustion due to the birth of his daughter. The album was released under the band name, Liquid Trio Experiment.