Re: Mike Portnoy
The first thing I want to say is that no one can deny that this guy is a great drummer. To handle the time signatures of Dream Theater on a nightly basis is something that must be applauded. I guess that's why he's in the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.
Aside from that, and with that stated (out of respect for MP), for me, his playing really does nothing for me. I admire him for his consistent execution but I see nothing "original" in his playing. I was also on the Steve Gadd thread as some praised and lauded his playing but for me, when you hear Steve Gadd you know it's Steve Gadd, regardless of what you think of him. He has that feel and that sound and that sense of time that only he has. For me, when I hear Dream Theater, I hear Dream Theater. I think any "talented seasoned professional" could play that gig so long as they have a background in progressive rock.
His double bass work is typical, the 16th note groove or those doubles and triplet licks that everyone does. If you want to hear some great double bass work (other than Donati or Lang, say) you'd hear more interesting work on any ICED EARTH album compared to what Portnoy does. His chops are good, no doubt but again, I don't hear anything original. He seems to play the same stuff that all drummers with big double bass kits play.
But then again, maybe it's just me. I know that this guy has a lot of fans and has a huge influence on so many great drummers. So for that alone, I give him props as I did earlier at the beginning of my "2 cents."