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Richie Kotzen to Replace John Sykes in New Mike Portnoy Project?

Earlier today, reported that former Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes has pulled out of a planned collaboration with former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy (now with Adrenaline Mob) and bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big).

No reason was given for his departure, but it certainly seemed clear that a new guitarist would be sought ASAP.

An update came this afternoon, when reported that Richie Kotzen of Mr. Big and Poison would be replacing Sykes.

However, Kotzen had this to say on his Facebook page later today:

"Although we did throw some ideas around, neither of us decided to make any public announcements so today's Internet buzz was a surprise. I will say I am a fan of both Mike and Billy. I'm sure a collaboration would produce some interesting results."

Stay tuned for more concrete details about this project as things develop.

Portnoy, who was one of several celebs we spotted at NAMM last week, has another new project in the works -- a band called Flying Colors that features Steve Morse, Neal Morse of Spock’s Beard, Dixie Dregs bassist Dave LaRue and vocalist Casey McPherson. Their debut album is due March 27.

“This album has bits and pieces of what you’d expect from each of us,” Portnoy told “The sum of all its parts led to brand new, uncharted territory for everyone involved.”

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.