Guitarist John Petrucci of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER spoke to the Artisan News Service (see video below) about fan speculation that the band’s new drummer, Mike Mangini, is merely a temporary replacement for founding member Mike Portnoy, who left the group last fall.

“[Mangini is] a [permanent] bandmember,” Petrucci said. “That’s what we were looking for. I think it depends on the band and what they [are] looking for. We’re not looking for a session guy to come in temporarily. We don’t wanna be known as the temporary DREAM THEATER; we want a member. You know, like when we got Jordan [Rudess, keyboards] in the band. We wanted a new member.”

When asked if DREAM THEATER is planning on finishing out its career with the current lineup, Petrucci said, “I would hope so. That’s the way I like to live life and think about things; I don’t think of things as being temporary. I like to think of this as moving forward in a positive way and direction with all intentions of staying this way forever. Unless some unforeseen event should happen, which happens. [Laughs] You could have asked me the same question before Mike [Portnoy] left and I would have had the same answer. ‘Of course this is the way… This is who we are. This is the way we’ll always be.’ You never know what’s gonna happen. But, yeah, [we have] full intentions of moving forward this way.”

DREAM THEATER is currently recording its much-anticipated new album for a fall release via Roadrunner Records.