Mike Portnoy

DrummerDad

Junior Member
I read all the titles and found nothing on him so here goes.

I love his technique. I used to listen to all the "normal" stuff till I heard him. And it seems all I want to listen to is Dream Theater now. I have played for awhile, and most drummers have certain niches, or habits. Once you figure out what they are doing you can play it. I usually can play a song the 2nd or 3rd time I hear it, But his stuff takes weeks, months on some of it, just to figure out the numbers behind what he is doing.What drives me crazy is most people( non-players) look at me like Im crazy when I start to try to explain what he is doing. They are like, man he screwed that up, and Im like, No he just dropped a beat, He'll pick it up in a minute.His drumming has texture, all the normal stuff is boring now. Can anyone tell me of a comparable band, with all the technicality of DT?What do you guys think of Mike? Sorry if this is a repost.

http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Mike_Portnoy.html
 
Last edited by a moderator:

finnhiggins

GONE MUCH TOO EARLY!!!
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

Personally I think he's a basher playing complex music. His actual physical technique is pretty shocking, and to my ears he uses that whole 2xhands/2xfeet/4xhands/2xfeet stuff far too often. I also think the size of his kit is ludicrous for the musical results he gets, he could play the same kind of stuff on a kit a third of the size and still have plenty of room to move.

For that kind of stuff I'd vastly prefer to listen to Thomas Haake with Meshuggah (start with "Destroy Erase Improve") or something like Fredrik Thordendal's "Sol Niger Within" featuring Morgen Agren on drums.

But that's just me. I just reckon Portnoy kind of fits the profile his history would suggest - somebody who went to Berklee but never went to class.

EDIT: Ouch, that was a bit harsh. I'll be nicer. I do think Portnoy gets some impressive results, and his control over time is very good. He's quite a natural when it comes to playing stuff in odd groupings. His tone is also surprisingly good considering the fact that his hand technique looks like Dave Grohl's. But then, there's plenty of drummers who look hideous when they play but sound great - like Gary Husband. So yeah. I don't like his technique, the music isn't to my taste and I don't think he's quite as good as all the hype would suggest. But he's certainly a very solid player with some flashy chops.
 

Dyaxe

Pioneer Member
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

@ finn

ill have to disagree, portnoy uses his whole kit most of the time. he wouldn't be able to do as much on a smaller kit. ill have to agree though, he does seem to use that 2x hand 2x feet ect.. quite often, but heck...to me its better then hearing a straight forward rock beat.


as for comparing thomas haake to portnoy...portnoy is way more technical then him. Ofcourse i have to admit haake definetly has some talent, portnoy seems to "do" more with his kit. ofcourse this is my oppinion though.

anywho..portnoy is definetly one of my favorite drummers. his sound, his technique, his presence and everything else is just awsome.
 

DrummerDad

Junior Member
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

I dont experiment much with music. The tastes of most are weird to me. Are there any other drummers, who can actually play like him? Im talking about the stuff where his feet are playing 3-4 time, and he cymbal crashes on 4-4 time, or where he plays in a 4-4 time while the band plays in a 3-4 or 6-8. His timing is superb if you ask me. And hes a triple threat. Clean, Fast, and Technical. I know Rush has played weird time sigs before, but its like these guys could care less about a time sig. If the words require a 5-8 in the first measure and a 3-4 or 7-8 in the next, so be it.I think its borderline genious. Any one else play like that, if so who?
 
S

Scottylawton

Guest
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

Yeh Danny does it heaps, good example the bridge i guess you'd call it on Lateralus at the 4:40 mark the whole band play something way different to each other, really good stuff.
 
S

Scottylawton

Guest
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

Oh and Thomas Lang and Virgil Donati do it well too.
 

finnhiggins

GONE MUCH TOO EARLY!!!
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

Dyaxe said:
@
as for comparing thomas haake to portnoy...portnoy is way more technical then him. Ofcourse i have to admit haake definetly has some talent, portnoy seems to "do" more with his kit. ofcourse this is my oppinion though.
I'd disagree. Check out the solo on "Soul Burn", particularly from about 2:55 in. Ouch.
 

Joe Morris

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

I saw Dream Theatre 2 years ago. I walked out after 6 songs. All I have to say about Mike Portnoy is he had really cool shoes.
 

darkcherryfade

Pioneer Member
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

I consider Kenneth Schalk from Candiria to be a master at the kind of drumming style you seem to be describing. They're very much like fusion-metal as opposed to prog-metal, so the approach is a little different, but it's very complex (the older stuff anyway). I think you can appreciate it.

I think Portnoy is a decent player, although I prefer a looser kind of style. His feel is a little too rigid for me, but it works with Dream Theater's music. Does he seem a little rushed sometimes to anyone else?
 
L

Lambo

Guest
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

finnhiggins said:
For that kind of stuff I'd vastly prefer to listen to Thomas Haake with Meshuggah (start with "Destroy Erase Improve") or something like Fredrik Thordendal's "Sol Niger Within" featuring Morgen Agren on drums.
That album is INCREDIBLE!!!!!
 

Pedro

Pioneer Member
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

Mike Portnoy is for me the perfect drummer for Dream Theater. I love their music. For me it's orgasmic music.

BUT: I don't like Mike in an other context. (for e.g. Yellow Matter Custard - plays way to hard and not creative for the kind of music)

Ok, Thomas Haake with Meshuggah is really good, but you certainly can't compare the styles. Haake wouldn't fit in Dream Theater like Portnoy does. But of course he is a really crazy drummer (got the cd "destroy erase..." 2 days ago). Some people want to play such kind of music (like Meshugghag) with me, mut I don't know if I'm able to.
 

MaxRoach

Member
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

I respect portnoy so much. He's basically the reason that I got into drums so heavily. I remember about 4 years ago when my friend would show me DT cd's and I'd be so amazed because I'd never heard anything so ..... odd. I would get him to give me CD's and I would just learn all of portnoy's licks on my basement floor because I didn't have a double kick pedal yet. His playing pretty much inspired me to get into odd times and it helps me bring it into jazz playing which makes it all the more interesting. But like any drummer, it gets to the point where you understand what they are doing and you find them 'boring' or 'tasteless'. But if there's one thing I've realized, is that you can learn something from EVERY drummer. And personally, I love the music (maybe because I literally like every style of music =\ )
 

finnhiggins

GONE MUCH TOO EARLY!!!
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

darkcherryfade said:
I consider Kenneth Schalk from Candiria to be a master at the kind of drumming style you seem to be describing. They're very much like fusion-metal as opposed to prog-metal, so the approach is a little different, but it's very complex (the older stuff anyway). I think you can appreciate it.
I've got 300% Density around somewhere and it sounds to my ear like some of his timing is a bit off. Is the newer stuff better in that respect? It sounds a bit uncertain, nothing like as solid as Portnoy for example.
 

darkcherryfade

Pioneer Member
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

finnhiggins said:
I've got 300% Density around somewhere and it sounds to my ear like some of his timing is a bit off. Is the newer stuff better in that respect? It sounds a bit uncertain, nothing like as solid as Portnoy for example.
I always found his timing to be pretty precise. I see what you mean about that "a bit uncertain" thing. At first I thought that too- alot of times on their old stuff, I'd think I hear him miss something, but when I listen to the segment again I notice some of his weird displacements and transitions. He's very jazzy on those albums and he has an interesting way of working around a beat that does sometimes sound a little weird, but there definitely is a very unique, very dynamic, often very embellished groove to it that'll make your head nod in a strangely pleasant way if you can get into it. Not to say his timing is perfect, cause mine sure as hell isn't so I can't judge someone elses. The newer album called "What Doesn't Kill You" has more straightforward rhythms, even in the odd time segments, and I did notice the timing was a hell of a lot tighter. And I always thought he was as solid as Portnoy.
 

LiquidSoul546

Pioneer Member
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

Joe Morris said:
I saw Dream Theatre 2 years ago. I walked out after 6 songs. All I have to say about Mike Portnoy is he had really cool shoes.
You walked out? haha, why? (i might have too)
My thoughts on Portnoy are...Solid drummer. Very intelligent on his profession, but, I personally beleive, he just puts 4/4 stuff in different time signatures haha. Plus he is a bit cocky. Watch his Budokan dvd, he never sits down, and i heard he flicks people off during his concerts.
peace
 

finnhiggins

GONE MUCH TOO EARLY!!!
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

darkcherryfade said:
I always found his timing to be pretty precise. I see what you mean about that "a bit uncertain" thing. At first I thought that too- alot of times on their old stuff, I'd think I hear him miss something, but when I listen to the segment again I notice some of his weird displacements and transitions. He's very jazzy on those albums and he has an interesting way of working around a beat that does sometimes sound a little weird, but there definitely is a very unique, very dynamic, often very embellished groove to it that'll make your head nod in a strangely pleasant way if you can get into it. Not to say his timing is perfect, cause mine sure as hell isn't so I can't judge someone elses. The newer album called "What Doesn't Kill You" has more straightforward rhythms, even in the odd time segments, and I did notice the timing was a hell of a lot tighter. And I always thought he was as solid as Portnoy.
Spurred by your post I actually went digging and found that CD. I found both what I remembered and what you're saying is pretty much right - there's some stuff where I swear the time isn't quite metronomically correct, particularly in the unison sections with big gaps - there's a cymbal crash on the 10th track at about 1:42-44 that definitely sounds out of time with the rest of the band coming back in, things like that. But equally, he's very solid whenever he's in a groove, and I like his washy cymbal sounds and ghost notes a lot more than Portnoy's approach personally.

I did remember why I never listen to this album though. The engineering is horrible! I've recorded better sounding stuff than this, and I suck as an engineer! Also, they really need to get a new singer. This guy sounds like he's doing a very deliberate impression of a fourteen-year-old shouting at his parents about how unfair the world is, complete with nasal wobbling and sounding like he's about to start crying. The rest of the band are pretty good when he shuts up though. Best bit of the album I can find is the start of track #10 (before the vocals start) and the hidden instrumental track at the end.
 
E

Elemental Nausea

Guest
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

Dyaxe said:
@ finn

as for comparing thomas haake to portnoy...portnoy is way more technical then him. Ofcourse i have to admit haake definetly has some talent, portnoy seems to "do" more with his kit. ofcourse this is my oppinion though.
man lots of ridiculous stuff written here( dyaxe was just an example): portnoy`s technique is really NOT that good, his stick conrol looks really odd to me, like someone else already said in this thread, and it is not right that you can`t recognize habits in his playing like for example this well-known combinations between the hands and the feet.
Man if you really want to listen to crazy stuff, try listening to meshuggah , spastic inc. or necrophagist(the craziest I know) dream theater is really simple compared to them.
saying that portnoy is way more technical than haake is so ridiculous, portnoy could never play the stuff haake does, and haake would be to bored playing portnoy`s stuff. Such crazy time-signature rotating like in meshuggah I have really never heard before
 
S

Shekhy

Guest
Re: Mike Pourtnoy

I really don't like the attitude of Portnoy, too much show off and that can be felt in his playing. Anyway there are lots of interesting things to learn by listening to him. But I really prefer in that style of music (DT or Liquid Drum Theater) drummers such as Sean Reinert (Gordian Knot, Aghora, Cynic) or the work of Marcel Dissantos in Atheist.
As for Necrophagist, on the 1st album it's a drum machine and on the second album it's "just" excellent Death Metal drumming (and I think that Muhammed Suicmez playing the guitare is what makes the difference in this band, not the drumming), anyway you can find such stuff in Iniquity, Psychophagist, Lost Soul and the list is almost endless.
 
Top