Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band founded by John Petrucci, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy in 1985.  However, after a few changes in the line-up, the current band’s members are John Myung, John Petrucci, James LaBrie, Jordan Rudess and Mike Mangini.

At first, the band was named Majesty, and they formed it while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The guys eventually left their studies and focused on the band, now named Dream Theater.

The crew was steady until 2010 when the drummer Mike Portnoy left the band, and Mike Mangini stepped as Dream Theater drummer. There were several changes in the band’s line-up. Nevertheless, they kept their uniqueness and built an important legacy of progressive metal sound.

The biggest change in the band’s history happened when the drummer and one of the founders, Mike Portnoy, left. We packed a brief history of Dream Theater’s drummers in the next lines, which every fan of the band will find interesting.

Let us begin.

What happened to the Dream Theater drummer?

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Mike Portnoy was one of the founding members of Dream Theater. He is a 54 years old musician and songwriter from Boston, USA. Portnoy played with Dream Theater since the founding of the band in 1985.

He participated in all of the ten studio albums from 1989 until 2009, after which he left the band. Portnoy is self-taught as a drummer, and he showed interest in music very early. In his high school days, he played with some local bands, including Rising Power and Inner Sanctum, with who he released two albums.

After high school, he rolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he met with Petrucci and Myung. Portnoy is a drummer with excellent technical skills, and he won 30 awards from the Modern Drummer magazine.

He had a few side projects that he was running even when he played with Dream Theater. Portnoy was part of a few other bands such as Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic, Neal Morse and others.

It was clear from the beginning that Portnoy is a multitalented musician, interested in expanding his experience as much as possible, which eventually led to him leaving Dream Theater.

Why did Portnoy leave Dream Theater?

Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater in September 2010. He says that the main reason for it was that he didn’t want to end his career as just the drummer in one band. Portnoy wanted to spread his wings and show the world that he had a lot more to offer.

He is a huge music lover, who like to experiment with genres, and he couldn’t settle down with one band. Portnoy left Dream Theater after 25 years, and Mike Mangini took his place as the band’s drummer.

Who is Mike Portnoy playing with now?

After leaving Dream Theater, Portnoy was very busy. First, he joined Avenged Sevenfold for a short time, after their original drummer Rev died during the recording of the album “Nightmare”.

However, after the album was recorded, he didn’t stay as a band member. He even wanted to come back to Dream Theater, but he was refused since the band had already replaced him with the new drummer Mangini. 

Since then, Portnoy has pursued his personal career. He is currently the drummer for several bands, including Sons of Apollo, The Winery Dogs, Transatlantic, Flying Colors, The Neal Morse Band, Metal Allegiance and Liquid Tension Experiment.

Who is Dream Theater’s drummer now?

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Since Portnoy left the band in 2010, Mike Mangini took his place at the drums. Mangini was a faculty member at Berklee College of Music before joining Dream Theater.

Also, he was an exceptional drummer who set five World’s Fastest Drummer records between 2002 and 2005. Mike Mangini has been a part of each Dream Theater release since 2010.

How old is Mangini?

Mike Mangini is a 58-years-old drummer, born on April 18, 1963. He grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts. Mangini has played the drums since he learned how to walk basically.

He first started when he was two and a half years old, and he was practising for a few hours a day by the age of nine. He was inspired by famous musicians Ringo Starr, Buddy Rich, Bobby Colomby, Danny Seraphine, John Bonham, Neil Peart, and Terry Bozzio as a child.

Mangini was already a part of a few bands before high school, and he performed across the country. However, after high school, he choosed a computer science major at Bentley University, putting the music aside.

His first serious step into the music happened later when he played the drums for Boston’s Rick Berlin Band in 1987. After that, he was a part of the famous thrash metal band Annihilator, playing with the band from 1991 till 1994.

Mangini had an interesting and busy career before joining Dream Theater. He was a part of many bands such as Extreme, Steve Vai’s live band and the short-lived Tribe of Judah.

Besides music, he also pursued his academic career, becoming a teacher at the percussionist department of Berklee College of Music in 2005. He quit his teaching job when he joined Dream Theater in 2010.

Is Dream Theater working on a new album?

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Dream Theater is still active, and with Mangini at the drums, they are rocking harder than ever. The band released the fifteenth studio album “A View from the Top of the World” on October 22, 2021.

It is the first album they recorded in their own studio, “Dream Theater Headquarters” in New York. Dream Theater is one of the most successful progressive metal bands with fifteen studio albums behind them, multiple awards and over 12 million records and DVDs sold worldwide.

Although the band went through some changes over the years, particularly in terms of drummers, they didn’t break the continuity of the idea that stands behind Dream Theater. Their sound is instantly recognizable, as they brought something exceptional to the scene.

Both drummers will be remembered as an important part of Dream Theater’s life and soul, as their music will live through their legacy.