Drum! magazine recently conducted an interview with drummer Mike Portnoy (ADRENALINE MOB, FLYING COLORS, DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD). A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the differences between DREAM THEATER and his current projects FLYING COLORS, a quasi-prog/pop-rock super group, and the more hard rock-oriented ADRENALINE MOB:
Portnoy: “Nothing went through the DREAM THEATER system without going through me first. But I don’t think anything I am doing now is like that at all. I am definitely enjoying different roles and lesser weight in everything that’s going on. These guys are all used to having full control in their respective careers and bands. So when we come together in FLYING COLORS, it’s all about collaboration and compromise and working together. It’s a very, very different kind of chemistry than what I had at DREAM THEATER, and I could say the same about ADRENALINE MOB as well. They are both very different animals.”
“After [playing] with AVENGED [SEVENFOLD in 2010], I realized how much fun I was having, not having to sit there with a calculator to play drums. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I did that for all those years with DREAM THEATER and I loved that too, but, man, my brain just needed a break, and I really enjoyed that vibe with AVENGED. So when I was approached with the music for ADRENALINE MOB, it was the right music at the right time, like, ‘I want to do this, man.'”
“[‘Bounce’] was something that I definitely started to cop with AVENGED SEVENFOLD, and when I did that album and tour I learned about sometimes just laying down four on the floor and having that kick drum kind of going and not always taking a left turn with the drumming. Just laying it down and staying there. And that was something I carried into ADRENALINE MOB.”
On his departure from DREAM THEATER:
Portnoy: “I’ve seen absolutely ridiculous accusations online where people think I left DREAM THEATER to make money with AVENGED SEVENFOLD or to make more money doing more commercial music. That could not be further from the truth. I was very secure with the world I had in DREAM THEATER and I could have just rode that out and been secure probably the rest of my career. But I walked away from that because music and relationships and inspiration are way more important to me than money.”
On whether he would ever consider reuniting with the band he founded:
Portnoy: “Well, in the hypothetical scenario you are laying out, I would never step in as a drummer for hire or go on board in any sort of lesser capacity than I ever had in the band. And I never wanted to walk away from the band. That was never my intention or my goal. I just needed a break and hoped that they would share that same feeling and respect that feeling and that we would take a break together. I never, ever wanted the lineup to change or for me to leave the band — that’s just the way that the cards played out. So if the opportunity ever arose to come back I would absolutely welcome it, but I am not waiting for it and I am not counting on it. I have a million other things going on in my life that keep me very happy and very busy.”
Read the entire interview from Drum! magazine.