Shauna O'Donnell of Alternative Addiction recently conducted an interview with drummer Mike Portnoy (ADRENALINE MOB, DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENDFOLD). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Alternative Addiction: ADRENALINE MOB is unlike projects that you have done in the past. Do you see that as being a challenge for you both musically and with getting the fans to the shows and buying records?
Portnoy: A bigger challenge is getting the fans to accept something that is so different from anything I have done in the past. Musically, it is not really difficult for me. For me, it is very easy to jump into different musical environments. I'm a big fan of many different styles of music, so I'm as at home playing this kind of music as I am with technical and progressive music. Really the challenge for me was the anticipation and expectations of my existing fan base who are kind of expecting something to be very progressive, whereas in this case it is a very different style from what I used to do in DREAM THEATER. That has been the challenge so far, getting people to put there pre-conceptions aside and listen to this for what it is. It is basically riff-driven, groove-oriented and melodic, song-oriented music. You don't need to use a calculator to enjoy it. You basically just bang your head and get into the bounce of the groove.
Alternative Addiction: You did a cover of DURAN DURAN's "Come Undone" featuring vocals by Lzzy Hale from HALESTORM. What was it about that particular song that made you choose it to cover?
Portnoy: Mike [Orlando, guitar] and Russ [Allen, vocals] had already kind of demoed up a new rockin version of it when I came on board, so they had already picked the tune. In fact, I had never even heard the original, even though I guess it was a radio hit, but I was never really aware of it. When I first heard it, I thought it was another song that those guys were working on. When they told me it was a cover, I thought it really fit in with the rest of the stuff. Once we started recording it to the album, the idea came up of getting a female voice on there as well. I had known Lzzy from when AVENGED SEVENFOLD and HALESTORM toured together at Uproar. I knew that she would kill it and would be an amazing voice to have on there. She came on board and did it. She took it to a whole new level. I get goosebumps when I hear her singing along with Russ.
Alternative Addiction: You guys just added a new member to the band, John Moyer from DISTURBED. He will be filling the bass player spot. You are actually the one that gave him the call about joining the band right?
Portnoy: Yes, I've known John for a couple years now. We toured together when I was playing with AVENGED SEVENFOLD and he was with DISTURBED. We did Uproar festival together. I spent a lot of time hanging out with him and I knew what a cool guy he was. I knew musically he would also fit in because he comes with that background of what he has done with DISTURBED. I knew musically and personally he would fit in, but most important for us right now is scheduling. That is an important thing for us. The issue that we had with our previous bass player was scheduling, commitments, obstacles and conflicts with other bands that he was playing with and committed to. We needed somebody that had an empty schedule and no other band commitments. With DISTURBED on an indefinite hiatus, it worked out perfectly that John would be available and not have any scheduling conflicts in the coming year or so and just be able to devote himself to ADRENALINE MOB. With all three of those elements, the personal, musical and scheduling, he worked out to be the perfect guy for us. He fits like a glove.
Alternative Addiction: Are you guys running all of your own social media sites?
Portnoy: I do mine, to me that is very important. My Facebook page has over 600,000 people and my Twitter has over 125,000. I oversee those day to day and I value an open relationship with my fans, I always have. In all my years with DREAM THEATER, the most valuable and important thing for the band and me was the relationship with the fans. Now that I'm on my own, I still value the relationship with the fans. I still continue to stay in touch with them daily and let them know everything that is going on.
Read the entire interview from Alternative Addiction.
Photo by Kellie Hoeke