"Mike had played on Avenged's album ['Nightmare'] and that was fine," explains Petrucci. "We all do side projects when time permits. But touring with the band, that was a different story. That was taking significant time away from Dream Theater at a point when we were all planning to start recording. Initially, we put off recording to go on tour with Iron Maiden
Portnoy then asked DT to take an extended hiatus, with no timeline to regroup. "In the end, it was something we couldn't do," says John. "Mike wanted to hold all the cards. He wanted to get back together when it suited him. We couldn't abide by that. So he decided to quit. It was quite a blow. As much as we wanted to continue as a band, we didn't want Mike to leave."