Mike Portnoy has shut down his official forum, explaining that he could no longer take all the "bickering and negativity."
Back in June 1999, the former DREAM THEATER drummer created a place for his fans to interact with each other using Infopop's Ultimate Bulletin Board software. Since then, he has hosted the forum at MikePortnoy.com, frequently responding to questions from fans and engaging in mostly light-hearted banter with his longtime supporters.
After announcing his latest project, SONS OF APOLLO, in early August, Portnoy has seen some his fans embrace the band while others have complained about the that fact that the first two songs from the group were too straightforward and somewhat musically bland.
At first, Portnoy claimed that he was amused by the negative feedback on his official forum, insisting that the response to SONS OF APOLLO on all the other web sites he had seen — "even including Blabbermouth" — has been "unanimously positive so far."
He wrote in a September 16 post: "When I hash-tagged #ProgMetal on the first day in the studio (before anything was written), that was the general idea *in mind*...but once we started writing together, the music ended up going in MANY places...and I think that is what will set this band apart from most in the 'prog' genre.
"Picture the chops of PSMS" — referring to the supergroup featuring Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Tony MacAlpine and Derek Sherinian — "or DREAM THEATER mixed with the hooks and melodic sensibilities of THE WINERY DOGS.
"If you're down for the ride with an open mind and not expecting a specific style or sound, you're going to love this band... I think it's the band that most of you that are DREAM THEATER fans have probably been waiting for from me."
After seeing more critical opinions about SONS OF APOLLO pop up in the last couple of days, Portnoy finally disabled new comments on the forum over the weekend. He explained in a post: "I think it's time for a Permanent Vacation...
"Sorry gang.... just way too much bickering and negativity.
"It's time to move on...it was fun while it lasted, but I can only take so much and I'm not interested in playing host to it anymore.
"We have plenty of interactive social media outlets and I will always be around watching and participating."
He added in a separate message: "I have been contemplating this for a while now and feel it's time to finally move on.
"The forum will remain read-only and all threads will remain archived.
"I will continue to post tour dates and release dates as they come in as well as keeping the tourography up to date."
Portnoy then thanked all the people who were "a part of the forum for almost twenty years."
SONS OF APOLLO's debut album, "Psychotic Symphony", will be released on October 20 via InsideOut Music.
In a 2015 interview with Drumtalk, Portnoy said that he "embraced" social media from the beginning because he was "a loudmouth" with "an extroverted personality." But he admitted that there was a negative side to "fame," specifically "the fact that you become a bit of a punching bag for the critics, and for the people on the Internet and the social media that want to have their say." He said: "I like to have an open, honest relationship with my fans. But you can only get beat up so many times. And I realize for every one angry, mean post from a fan, there's another nine supportive, loving ones. But still, yeah, it hurts. I'm human. My skin is only so thin, or so thick."