Do we really need to write an introduction to one of the most popular, talented, and prolific rock drummers of the modern era? The drummer we’re talking about, Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy, is the current generation’s poster child for progressive rock drumming. His monster chops, blazing fills, and double-bass riffs will make your head spin if you’re not already listening to his work.
Portnoy is a clinician, instructor, author, and videographer. He even has his own signature series lines of cymbals and drums. When he’s not working with Dream Theater, he’s recording and performing with supergroups Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic, O.S.I. (Office of Strategic Influence), and touring in support of band mate John Petrucci on Joe Satriani’s G3 tour – and that doesn’t even include his tribute bands to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Rush!
He was voted Best Progressive Rock drummer for twelve years straight – a record, by the way, in the Modern Drummer Readers Poll, and in 2004 was the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. As you can imagine, we were thrilled with the opportunity to “seize the day” (Mike’s personal mantra), or at least a half hour, to talk with this progressive rock icon. So, without further ado, the one… the only… Mike Portnoy.
It’s not about solos, or technique, or chops. It’s about what I think in the context of the music I’m a part of, and that is what’s important to me.