MIKE PORTNOY: 'I Was Always Kind Of A Frontman Stuck Behind The Drum Set'

January 11, 2018

Drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, SONS OF APOLLO, THE WINERY DOGS) was recently interviewed by "Rock City Radio Show Berlin". You can now listen to the chat using the Mixcloud widget below.

Asked when he realized that he wanted to be more than just a musician in the background and that he also had a talent for interacting with the audience, Portnoy said: "From day one. As soon as I picked up a pair of drumsticks, it was because I saw Keith Moon in the movie 'The Kids Are Alright'. And I was already listening to THE WHO, I was already a fan of 'Tommy' and 'Who's Next' and 'Live At Leeds', but I hadn't seen Keith with my own two eyes until that movie came out. And that was around the same age when I actually got my first drum kit. So I think right out of the gates, I wanted to be that kind of drummer, that kind of performer where you're like a lead instrument. I wanted to be somebody that was engaging the audience and entertaining, and I never wanted to just be the guy in the background. I was always kind of a frontman stuck behind the drum set. I loved Keith Moon and I even love people like Lars Ulrich from METALLICA. I mean, he's not the greatest drummer, and he'll be the first to admit it, but I totally respect his showmanship and his energy and his leadership qualities. I think I always wanted to be that kind of drummer."

Portnoy also talked about his family life and how his busy touring schedule has affected his relationship with his wife.

"I'm very fortunate," he said. "I'm with my wife now for almost 28 years. And my children are 18 and 20 and I'm fortunate to have not gone through a divorce and have a very, very successful marriage and a happy family. And that's because right from the very beginning, I always included them in everything I did. There's a lot of musicians that don't include their families, and that's when it becomes very difficult and that's when marriages suffer. But I brought my kids on tour with me from the day they were born and I never drew that line in the sand to separate my career and my family; I always included them. And because of that, I've had a successful marriage and raised my children… And my wife — God bless her — has always been so supportive and understanding. And I think in our case, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think if I was home all the time, we'd make each other crazy. Maybe we'd be divorced if I was always home. The fact that I'm always on the road has helped our marriage — that space and that time away from each other is good. It's been healthy for us."

In addition to Portnoy, SONS OF APOLLO features guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (ex-GUNS N' ROSES),bassist Billy Sheehan (THE WINERY DOGS, MR. BIG, DAVID LEE ROTH) and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (ex-JOURNEY, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE).

SONS OF APOLLO's debut album, "Psychotic Symphony", was released October 20 by InsideOut Music. It sold around 5,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release, earning the band the top position on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, which focuses on top-selling albums by new or developing acts, defined as those who have never appeared on the top 100 of the Billboard 200.

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