Portnoy, along with John Myung and John Petrucci, formed Majesty in 1985 while students at Berklee College Of Music in Massachusetts. After a Las Vegas band with the same name threatened legal action, the group eventually adopted the Dream Theater moniker.
The band announced Portnoy’s departure in the following e-mail sent to fans.
A Message from DREAM THEATER:
To all of our loyal fans and friends: It is with profound sadness--and regret--we announce that Mike Portnoy, our lifelong drummer and friend, has decided to leave Dream Theater. Mike's stature in the band has meant the world to all of us professionally, musically, and personally over the years. There is no dispute: Mike has been a major force within this band.
While it is true that Mike is choosing to pursue other ventures and challenges, we can assure you that Dream Theater will continue to move forward with the same intensity – and in the same musical tradition – that you have all helped make so successful, and which is truly gratifying to us. Fans and friends: File this episode under ‘Black Clouds and Silver Linings.’ As planned, we begin recording our new album in January 2011, and we'll follow that with a full-on world tour. ‘The Spirit Carries On.’
All of us in Dream Theater wholeheartedly wish Mike the best on his musical journey. We have had a long and meaningful career together. It is our true hope that he finds all he is looking for, and that he achieves the happiness he deserves. He will be missed.