In a new interview with “The Metal Edge Podcast”, former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy spoke about his involvement with him “Lost Not Forgotten Archives”. The collaboration between the band and record label InsideOutMusic has seen the virtuosic quintet’s long-standing Ytsejam Records catalog reissued, alongside some brand new additions to this special collectors series. (Ytsejam is the label imprint which DREAM THEATER had been using for years to release official bootlegs of live recordings [“Ytsejam” is “Majesty” spelled backwards; MAJESTY was DREAM THEATER‘s original band name].)
Portnoy said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “First of all, I was one trillion percent involved with the originals. In fact, that was my project; I was the one that had the archives and put together all these releases with photos from my archives and extensive liner notes. So I was the one that put together the original Ytsejam bootlegs back — I don’t know — 15, 20 years ago. So there were about 16 or 20 titles that I did back then. So when they started reissuing these as their new ‘Lost Not Forgotten’ series, I wasn’t involved at all; they were doing it all on their own. But they were reusing alot of my original Ytsejam titles. So, yeah, I was appearing on a lot of these, but I wasn’t involved with any of the artwork or anything like that. And it kind of bummed me out because I spent so much time on the originals, with the liner notes. The liner notes are real important for people to have context of what went behind all of these demos or live shows or whatever. So I wasn’t involved in these new reissues. But then John [Petrucci, DREAM THEATER] and myself started working together [again] in 2020. I played on his solo album, then him and me and Jordan Rudess [DREAM THEATER keyboardist] and Tony [Levin, bass]we did a third LTE [LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT] album. So once John and I started working together, inevitably I brought it up to him: ‘Hey, man, what’s up with that? Why aren’t the liner notes there anymore?’ And I noticed some wrong things on some of the credits on the ones they released without my involvement. So he was, like, ‘Hey, if you don’t mind overseeing some of the credits and things like that,’ just making sure everything is factually correct, because I’m very, very anal about that. So after about their first five or six releases, John started tying me in to make sure at least all the info was correct. Sadly, they’re still not using my artwork or liner notes, but that’s their prerogative. And then once I got involved on it that level, him and the band’s manager asked if I’d be willing to maybe contribute some more things from my archives. And I was, like, ‘You know, what the hell? Why not? There’s a bunch of things in my archives that it’s a waste for them to just be sitting here at my house. So I contributed a bunch of new titles. Like, they just released our show at Madison Square Garden opening for Iron Maiden; that is a new one. And then there’s a few others that are coming out soon that came from my archives. So I’m slightly involved at this point. Not as much as I was with the originals, but enough where I can give them a few new titles to add to the collection.”
Asked if he appears on a few of the “Lost Not Forgotten Archives” releases, Portnoy said: Obviously, I appear on all the original Ytsejam titles. And then there’s some new ones that I’m contributing from my time, from my archives. But they also have a bunch of post-MP stuff that they’re putting out as well.
“The only bummer for me with the liner-note thing is now I think they have it streaming on some of the streaming services, and there’s no context for any of this stuff.” Mike admitted. Somebody e-mailed me a few days ago, ‘Hey, what’s the deal with this song I just heard?’ And I was, like, ‘Where the hell did you hear that?’ And they were, like, Oh, it’s on Apple Music or Spotify.’ And they didn’t know who was on it; they didn’t know who’s the singer. There’s some things on there that are demos with different singers. And without the context of my liner notes, it’s almost impossible for people to know what the hell these things are. But anyway, that’s neither here nor there.”
Ytsejam Records previously played host to DREAM THEATER‘s official bootleg release collection comprising of live shows, demos and studio outtakes from throughout the band’s prolific career. As part of the “Lost Not Forgotten Archives”, the entirety of the collection has been reissued on CD, as well as for the very first time on vinyl and digital, with brand new artwork and packaging. The band has also been busy digging into its encyclopedic vault to find some very special, previously unreleased material. The first brand new release in the reinvigorated archival series was a recording of the band’s start-to-finish performance from its classic second studio album, “Images & Words”taken from its performance at Tokyo, Japan’s legendary Budokan venue in September of 2017.
Following this inaugural “Lost Not Forgotten Archives” release, the extensive back catalog of Ytsejam Records offerings started to be reissued. Plenty more previously unreleased material is getting its initial publication, presenting an absolute treasure trove of DREAM THEATER music for fans both old and new to explore.
back in 2012, DREAM THEATER vocalist James LaBrie denied that Ytsejam Records died with the departure of Portnoy in 2010. LaBrie said: “No, it didn’t die. I’ve been taking care of that, so I’ve got each night’s recordings, and I’ve documented it. There is so much stuff from all around the world from this last tour that I already have documented and put into a master list that these particular nights… What I did is I took them from certain areas of the world, and it sounds incredible. It’s just a matter of it making sense for us, when we’re gonna release the next Ytsejam [recording]. But it will happen. I can guarantee you – it will happen. At this point, it’s not a priority. But the stuff is there. Right now we have more than enough that we can release an amazingYtsejam release right now — definitely. So it’s just gonna be when we feel, as a band, ‘Okay, let’s finally put it together and let’s get it out there.’ I have a few ideas where it could be really…something cool, some added features that would be really cool. And the other guys are involved, too, so it’s very collective as to how we want the first Ytsejam [release] — post-Mike‘s involvement, with all those previous Ytsejam [releases]… We want it to have a really big impact.”