Joe Daly of The Nervous Breakdown recently conducted an interview with drummer Mike Portnoy (ADRENALINE MOB, DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Nervous Breakdown: ADRENALINE MOB started the year off with a big personnel change, bringing on DISTURBED bassist John Moyer. I know that you actually reached out to him. What about his style made him your choice?
Portnoy: Well, I knew John from when DISTURBED and AVENGED SEVENFOLD toured together on the Uproar tour a couple summers ago, so John and I had spent a lot of time together. I knew that he was a super cool, down-to-earth guy, so I knew he’d fit in personally and stylistically, and with all of his time in DISTURBED, I knew it was a musical background that would fit right in with what the MOB is doing. Most importantly was the fact that DISTURBED had just announced that they were going on an extended hiatus, and it was critical for us to find a bass player that didn’t have any other bands or commitments. We assumed we’d have to get a complete nobody or an up-and-comer because everybody else already had other bands and other things going. It just happened to turn out that it was the perfect time for John because he now has this downtime when he can commit to us and we don’t have to worry about any scheduling conflicts. So on every level, John was the perfect choice.
The Nervous Breakdown: As the drummer, it’s obviously important for you to find somebody that you can do business with in the rhythm section, so even before John hit the radar, was there a criteria that you personally had in mind for a new bass player?
Portnoy: Well, we were looking for somebody that was a team player and somebody who was into doing song-oriented music. Even though I have this reputation for being this over-the-top drummer and even though Mike Orlando is this incredibly flashy guitar player, we weren’t looking for a crazy over-the-top bass player. We were looking for somebody who was more of a foundation type of player. So John was exactly the type of player we were looking for — a bad-ass motherfucker who could hold down the fort. John absolutely fit our criteria.
The Nervous Breakdown: Guitarist Rich Ward left the band recently. Are there any plans to replace him?
Portnoy: No, we’re gonna keep the band a four-piece. When we auditioned John Moyer on bass, the other thing that we were auditioning was ourselves to see how we would sound as a four-piece. In rehearsals it sounded great, so we said, “Let’s just keep this a four-piece.” It’s easier, it’s one less scheduling obstacle to work around, and it sounded big and full, and some of our favorite bands were four-piece bands, like BLACK SABBATH, VAN HALEN and PANTERA, so we felt that it would be a good lineup to go forward with.
The Nervous Breakdown: Now that some of the dust has cleared, and in view of all you’ve done since DREAM THEATER, where do you see that band fitting in your overall legacy?
Portnoy: DREAM THEATER will always be the thing I’m most known for. It was twenty-five years of my life and it was something that I poured my heart and soul, blood sweat and tears into. I literally ate, breathed and shat DREAM THEATER twenty-four/seven for twenty-five years, so regardless of where they go in their career and regardless of where I go in my career, I will always and forever be linked to DREAM THEATER and that’s fine with me — I’m proud of every song I wrote in that band, every album I recorded in that band, and every show I played with that band. So I have no problem with the fact that I will forever be known as “Mike Portnoy from DREAM THEATER.” That’s something that will never change. That’s always how it’s gonna be and I’m proud of that. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Read the entire interview from The Nervous Breakdown.