He believes he’d outgrown the band he co-founded, named and then sensationally quit in 2010.
But he retains fond memories of his time with the prog metal outfit – and he’s grateful they tolerated his obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Portnoy tells Modern Drummer: “With Dream Theater I very much ran the show because my OCD allowed me to handle the additional roles.
“Luckily those guys always trusted my direction. OCD can be a detriment, though; I know it sometimes makes my wife crazy, and I’m sure it must have driver the guys in Dream Theater crazy at times too. But they rolled with it.
“When I first met John Petrucci and John Myung when we were 18 years old, I think they immediately recognised that part of my personality, and they were comfortable with that dynamic. John Petrucci and I balanced each other out through the years. He never cared much for all the little details and organisational stuff, and I never cared about the business or financial aspects, which he was very good at.”
Portnoy feels one of the main reasons he decided to leave the band was: “I changed. I mean this totally diplomatically, but when I heard the new material it simply wasn’t my cup of tea.
“It’s great – but I couldn’t relate to it any more. People change, where it be as a listener or as an artist.”
But the split, and the public spats, have led to a situation where the Prog Award-winning drummer has to watch his words. “I feel bad that I can’t talk openly about Dream Theater any more without being torn to shreds,” he admits.
“I wish I could without there being a backlash – but it’s become the reality that I’ve accepts. I feel it’s a no-win situation.”
Portnoy is currently working with classic rock power trio The Winery Dogs, and launched a preview of upcoming Flying Colors live DVD last week.