I think anyone and everyone who knew Mike Portnoy was considering jumping the Dream Theater ship probably told the drummer not to do it. But he did it anyway, as well all know.
According to Avenged Sevenfold guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates, Portnoy “definitely wanted to” remain in Avenged Sevenfold.
“And it would have been really nice. He’s a great guy and a great drummer, and we consider him family,” said Gates. “But it’s just… He’s ‘Mike Portnoy.’ 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 [‘The Rev’ Sullivan] 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. 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.”
Added Vengeance: “When Mike first came on for Nightmare, he was sincerely genuine in the fact that he was there to help us fulfill Jimmy’s legacy, and for that we’ll always be so thankful and appreciative. And, truthfully, he was really the only man for the job. But I think he was also searching for new things to do, music-wise. I know for a fact he was starting to lose the romance of Dream Theater a little bit. That had been going on from before he knew us.
“And then Nightmare came out and it was a Number One album, and the tours were huge, and I think it was exciting for him,” Vengeance continued. “I think his intentions were pretty clear that he wanted to be a member of Avenged Sevenfold. But we weren’t ready to have a new member. And truthfully, he’s not the right fit anyway. When he went and quit Dream Theater, that 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.”