Dream Theater co-founder and Sons of Apollo drummer, Mike Portnoy, had a recent conversation with Anthrax star Charlie Benante and talked about how his mother’s loss encouraged him to form Dream Theater in 1985.
The band was founded by John Petrucci, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy under the name Majesty in Berklee College of Music, and they changed it to ‘Dream Theater’ after testing a couple of unsuccessful names. The band’s original lineup remained together for 25 years until Mike decided to part ways with them to replace Avenged Sevenfold drummer Jimmy Sullivan in 2010.
Dream Theater is considered one of the pioneers of the progressive metal genre alongside Queensryche and Fates Warning. The two-times Grammy Award-nominated band has released fifteen studio albums so far, and they have sold more than 12 million copies worldwide.
During a recent discussion with Modern Drummer Instagram Live’s Charlie Benante, Mike was asked to share the story of how he met with his former bandmates, John Petrucci and John Myung.
Mike admitted that his mom didn’t really want him to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston before she died in a plane crash in 1984. After she passed away tragically, Mike was free to make his own choices, and he ended up going to Berklee, and that’s how he was able to meet his buddies and form Dream Theater.
Portnoy shared the story saying:
“My mom died a year earlier in a plane crash, she was in a plane crash in ’84 when I was a senior in high school, and she didn’t want me to go to Berklee, she wanted me to go to a traditional college and maybe just major in music.
She was really not a fan of me going to Berklee, but when she tragically passed away, I was free to make my own decision, and I really wanted to go to Berklee, so I ended up going. And sure enough, that’s how I met those guys, and that’s how we formed Dream Theater.
And I often think about – if my mom had lived, which would have been incredible, my life would be so completely different. But not only my life – John Petrucci’s and John Myung’s lives would probably be different.
We would have never met. We would have never met our wives because the three of us married three girls from the band Meanstreak. So wouldn’t have met our wives because we met Meanstreak because I was going to a different school, and we wouldn’t have had our kids…
None of this would have ever happened had my mom lived. So, often I think about that, it was almost like she traded her life for me to have this life and this path.”
You can watch the interview below.