The much-anticipated new band featuring drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ADRENALINE MOB) and guitarist/vocalist John Sykes (WHITESNAKE, BLUE MURDER, THIN LIZZY) is no more.
Portnoy and Sykes announced their collaboration during a July 2011 taping of season eight of VH1 Classic‘s “That Metal Show”. The program’s co-host Eddie Trunk tweeted about the project at the time, “I heard demos. Sounds like killer BLUE MURDER meets ‘1987’ WHITESNAKE. Amazing!” He also said that the new group would perform some BLUE MURDER material when it hits the road.
The project last year demoed more than a dozen songs at a Los Angeles studio, with Portnoy describing one track as “copping the [LED] ZEPPELIN/[BLACK] SABBATH vibe” and another as “[PINK] FLOYD meets [DEEP] PURPLE!!! Some serious old-school classic rock.”
In a new posting on his official web site, Trunk writes, “There has been much speculation on the status of the band and this project since we first revealed it, and as a friend and fan of both musicians I was very much at the center of it helping where I could and serving as a sounding board with all involved. Sadly, I can confirm that as of now this project is no longer moving forward.
“When I first talked about Portnoy and Sykes working together, I joked with them that I had never met two guys with such different work ethics. Mike wants to do everything yesterday and John really takes his time and is much more conservative. That truly is the only reason why what could have been a killer band has dissolved.
“Obviously, bands are like any relationship — some click, some do not. This was simply a case of two different people not only getting to know each other musically but also personally, and the schedule and timing for making this work just fell apart. Mike and the band’s bass player were ready to go, and John simply was not on the same timetable. There is truly no bigger story or any drama to report. It just didn’t work and everyone is moving on. Mike has several amazing projects in the works, including the killer ADRENALINE MOB album coming in March, and John may very well do a solo album or something else. He has some great material written and was singing and playing in top form when this dissolved. They both remain friends and I wish them both nothing but the best going forward and who knows what the future holds?”
Commented Portnoy on Twitter, “Sad but true… I tried my best to make it work… Me and the bass player [Billy Sheehan] couldn’t wait around any longer… [Billy and I] moving on and now working with another guitarist/singer.”
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 20 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
Portnoy played on AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s latest album, “Nightmare”, following the death of that band’s drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, and toured with them for the entire second half of 2010.
Sykes announced his departure from THIN LIZZY in July 2009, explaining that “I feel it’s time to get back to playing my own music.”