Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy will join the ranks of bassist David Ellefson (Megadeth, F5), guitarist Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) and vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen, Iced Earth) in the all-star band Hail! on select US dates in early 2010 -- marking the band’s first shows on American soil.

Ellefson comments on the news, exclaiming, "Mike Portnoy is a demi-god! He is hands-down one of the very best drummers in the entire world and to be able to play together is really an honor.  We have had our fingers crossed for this to happen because, truth be told, we had originally talked with him about the possibility of playing with us early last year. At that time Dream Theater was working on 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings', so it just couldn't happen at the time, but his enthusiasm and understanding about what we as HAIL! were doing was immediate. There was no need for any explanation, he got it — because he is it,” goes on Ellefson.  “Mike's been a great friend for a long time and I am thrilled to announce his participation."

"An interviewer recently asked me how long we planned on doing this and I joked 'until we run out of drummers!'" laughed Ellefson. "Seriously, though, look at the guys we've had — Jimmy DeGrasso, Roy Mayorga, Paul Bostaph and now Mike Portnoy! It is our aspiration to try and reward every fan that comes to see us with a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime experience. We're doing our best to have the best players play the best songs from the best bands to the best fans! …and it's working!"

Andreas Kisser also commented, saying, “We’re really excited! Although it’s only a few shows, and obviously we’d love to play a full tour of the entire US, New York and Boston are two great cities to start with and the fans there are tremendous. Between Mike Portnoy playing drums with us and all the friends we know in this area (hint, hint) I’d ask Santa for a tent and start camping out now for my tickets! These shows are going to be sick!”

Stay tuned for the official dates.