MIKE PORTNOY: “Pink Floyd is Really Only When Waters and Gilmour Work Together”

Mike Portnoy

In October this, Pink Floyd will release its first new studio album in 20 years, called The Endless River. The unexpected news of the album was announced by David Gilmour‘s wife and occasional lyricist Polly Samson, with a tweet that read: “By the way Pink Floyd album out in October is called ‘The Endless River’, based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright‘s swan song and very beautiful.

Some of the new material was laid down during the sessions for Pink Floyd’s last studio record, 1994′s The Division Bell, which accounts for Richard Wright‘s contribution. Wright died in 2008 following a fight with cancer. Roger Waters is not involved in The Endless River, which is strictly a Gilmour and Nick Mason project. Mason, who is the sole member of Pink Floyd to perform in all of its various lineups, co-owns the band’s name, trademark, and license with Gilmour.

In a post on his Facebook page, drummer, and a huge Pink Floyd fan, Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs, Transatlantic, Dream Theater) weighed in on the idea of a new Pink Floyd record, writing: “What’s this about a new Pink Floyd album? Last I checked, Waters is no longer in the band and Wright and [SydBarrett are dead. If these are leftovers from The Division Bell sessions, then just put ‘em on a The Division Bell special-edition release! It’s disrespectful to Roger and everything he built for all those years! Just do a solo album, Dave.

He added: “In my opinion, the Pink Floyd heyday was Atom Heart Mother through The Wall, and those were mainly driven by Roger (conceptually, musically, everything). A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and The Division Bell are essentially David Gilmour solo albums ‘as’ Pink Floyd (granted, just as ‘The Final Cut’ was a Roger Waters solo album ‘as’ PINK FLOYD).

If you really want, I’ll meet you, Gilmour fans, halfway and at least concede with saying, okay, ‘real’ Pink Floyd is really only when Waters and Gilmour work together.

Pink Floyd studio and stage backup vocalist Durga McBroom-Hudson posted an update on her Facebook page, explaining, “The recording did start during The Division Bell sessions (and yes, it was the side project originally titled The Big Spliff that Nick Mason spoke about). Which is why there are Richard Wright tracks on it. But David and Nick have gone in and done a lot more since then. It was originally to be a completely instrumental recording, but I came in last December and sang on a few tracks. David then expanded on my backing vocals and has done a lead on at least one of them.” She added that The Endless River consists of “completely unreleased songs.

In a 2011 interview with Greece’s Rock Hard magazine, Portnoy compared his departure from Dream Theater to the split between Waters and Gilmour. Commenting on some Dream Theater fans’ opinion that the “magic is gone” from the band’s sound and songwriting chemistry now that he is no longer part of the group, Portnoy said: “I always thought that the strongest elements and personalities in Dream Theater were me and [guitarist] John Petrucci. And in the early days Kevin Moore [former Dream Theater keyboardist] was a big, big part of that chemistry, and then in the later days Jordan Rudess was a big part of that chemistry. But at the end of the day, it was always me and John [Petrucci]. And John Myung, of course, but he’s a quieter person, so he’s not as strong of an element because he’s quiet by nature. But yeah, John Petrucci and myself were, and I think will always be, the sound and the style and the heart and the soul of Dream Theater. And I think if you take either one of us out, I think it’s like when Roger Waters and David Gilmour split. David Gilmour carried on Pink Floyd without Roger Waters, but as far as I was concerned, it was never the same. Roger Waters was a big part of the [sound on] all the classic Pink Floyd albums, and once he left, I think Pink Floyd sounded like a David Gilmour solo band. I honestly think if John Petrucci came to me [in 2010] and said he needed a break, I wouldn’t have continued Dream Theater without him; I would have absolutely respected his desire for a break and I would have put the band on hold and waited for him. So it saddens me that he wouldn’t do that for me, because I think Dream Theater, at the end of the day, was always about the chemistry between me and him.

Do you agree with Mike’s opinion

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.


  1. Brad in NC

    July 8, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Shows how out of touch Portnoy was with DT at the end if his stretch. Mangini is THE drummer. Portnoy needs to stop whining and get on with doing other things. I never saw the entire band have fun until Mangini came along.

  2. Duncan

    July 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Portnoy is still my drumming hero but he chose to work on side project after side project when DT were on a break between albums and tours, if he NEEDED a break he should have taken some time off when the rest of the band did

  3. Gruffalo

    July 9, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    DT has only improved since portnoy left, the spark seems to be back, contrary to his beleif

  4. Denis Perron

    July 31, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I completely agree with Portnoy on all points. Every point’s, he’s right on. That does not put down anybody, Mangini is extremely talented musician, as Gilmour is. But when talking about music creation and chemistry, he is right on.
    I am so tired of Petrucchi shredding all over the place, this is prog music. Not a speed contest. At least Gilmour does not play that game…

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: