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Is he really finished with Dream Theater? Will he be joining Avenged Sevenfold full time? Will he fill his usual mind-blowing annual quota of musical projects? What lies ahead for Mike Portnoy has been a red hot topic even since he first sat behind the Avenged drumstool. We sat down with Mike at one of Avenged's recent sold-out UK shows to find out just what the future holds…
How have things with Avenged been going?
"They're great guys and a great band. There's a real great chemistry that we've got. They're a band that was in need of a spiritual lift and somebody to help them get past the hurdles they've been through. I'm a drummer that was in need of a musical and personal lift from what I was looking for in my life and career. I think we both found each other at the right time and we're helping each other through tough times. They're going through an incredibly tough transition with losing The Rev and carrying on and now I'm going through a tough transition in my life and career post-Dream Theater. I think there's a reason we've come together to help each other and move onto new chapters in each of our lives."
And how about the future for you and the band?
"Right now it's going to depend on Avenged Sevenfold's future plans. It hasn't been completely determined where they go from here. If they continue touring through next year I'll be with them and I'll carry on for the duration of the tour. Where our relationship goes beyond the tour is yet to be seen. I don't think either of us wants to rush into that commitment right now. Luckily, neither of us has to. We have the luxury of time where we can just do the tour and enjoy the moment then worry about the next step when we get there. We're just taking baby steps together."
How about if they take some time off next year?
"As far as if they don't continue touring next year, I'll find myself with some available time which is something I haven't had in a long time. I'm sure I'll have no shortage of ideas for project and collaborations to work on."
There's been a fantastic reaction to you from Avenged's fans
"The reaction to me by their fans has been absolutely 1,000% positive and supportive. It's amazing. At first I was concerned because their fans are passionate and they were going to be protective of The Rev's position in the band, but they've been so unbelievably passionate and supportive of me. It's been a great help to me and to the four other guys. Maybe the fact that I'm an established drummer and I was one of The Rev's favourites has helped everybody accept the situation better than some new kid being thrown into the band."