LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT is the instrumental progressive rock/metal project featuring Rudess and fellow DREAM THEATER member John Petrucci (guitar), alongside ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy and progressive rock icon Tony Levin (bass) of KING CRIMSON and PETER GABRIEL fame. The band has not performed live since 2008, when it embarked on a brief tour commemorating the tenth anniversary of its self-titled debut.
Rudess addressed the prospect of a LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT reunion while filming a video message on Cameo, which lets users hire celebrities to record brief, personalized video messages about virtually any topic.
Asked if he thinks LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT will ever get back together, Jordan said (see video below): “Well, the answer is we are looking at our schedules, we are organizing a time. With the [coronavirus] pandemic, it’s been a little difficult to coordinate personal kind of gatherings, but it looks very good, my friend.”
In February 2019, Portnoy and Rudess reunited on stage during the Cruise To The Edge to perform “Instrumedley” from DREAM THEATER / LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT. They were joined by NEAL MORSE BAND guitarist Eric Gillette and HAKEN bassist Conner Green.
Back in April 2015, Portnoy and Rudess both joined the British progressive metal band HAKEN on stage in New York City. Three months earlier, they were photographed having what appeared to be friendly banter at the 2015 NAMM show in Anaheim, California.
More than two years ago, Portnoy posted a photo of him hanging out with Petrucci in a move that clearly represented a thawing of tensions between the two musicians who had been friends for more than three decades.
In February 2019, Rudess discussed his Cruise To The Edge encounter with Portnoy during an appearance on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation”, which is hosted by Eddie Trunk. The keyboardist said: “I think it’s really nice. People whose music you love, you wanna see them getting along. So, even from my perspective, I see John and Mike together, and I’m, like, yeah, that makes sense. They were so close. They made so much music together.”
He continued: “I told Mike the other night. I said, ‘The way I look at our relationship is that we’ve toured around the world together numerous times, we’ve written all this music together, we’ve been on tour buses everywhere. How many people in this lifetime that we’re in can you be that close to and have that many experiences with?”
Although Portnoy and his former bandmates in DREAM THEATER engaged in a public war of words following his exit from the group, Rudess said that he harbors no resentment toward his longtime friend.
“When Portnoy left the band, there was tension — natural tension — because it was a big deal,” Jordan told “Trunk Nation”. “But what’s really important to me is finding that… especially somebody who I care about, who I had so much life experience with. And he’s a really great guy. There are so many wonderful things about him. So I wanna enjoy that.
“People will say, ‘Oh my God! DREAM THEATER is gonna have Portnoy back in the band.’ That’s not what it’s about,” Rudess added. “This is about people and people who spent a lot of time together being able to be close together and be friends.”
Rudess acknowledged that some of his other DREAM THEATER bandmates have “their own feelings” about maintaining a connection with their former drummer. “But Mike and I enjoyed hanging out and chatting about old times and all the stuff,” he said. “So it was really cool.”
In November 2017, Mike told Loud that he left DREAM THEATER because he wanted to expand his musical horizons. “[I didn’t] want to go to my grave and just be the drummer from DREAM THEATER,” he said. “I knew there was way more to what I had to offer.”