Re: Mike Portnoy
Personally I believe that Mike Portnoy is one of the more tallented drummers that I've come across in a long time. He is a pretty technical drummer and seems to be a jack of all trades type of drummer.
Which is what I enjoy about him.
I don't believe MP and DT rip off other bands, but that if there is other things that they learn from other bands they use it. The way I see it, without seeming like some hippy tripping on acid, is that part of the allure of music is due to it almost being infinite. One drummer or musician is not capable of coming up with every single tiny minute concept. That's what makes music so great, every serious musician has something that they can bring to the stage. Its not a competition on who is the better drummer, but every drummer that has different tricks, tips, and knacks that other drummers can learn from.
I mean I guarantee that's what most of you all do as drummers. You learn through listening to other drummers play.
Mike Portnoy might not be a pro at odd time sigs, he might not be the fastest drummer, the best double bass drummer, but he has a very strong foundation in all of that. So who cares if he's not the best.
In music, and drumming, the best music and drums is not necessarily always the most technical concept that can be played with ease. Sometimes simplicity is necessary and best. Just like in the military sometimes keeping the plans very simple is the best way to get things done. What I enjoy about MP drumming is that after studying him for probably about 5 years now, I've found that his drumming is in reality is typically not that hard to play. But he does seem to have a special intuition in the music he writes. Some of his drumming is very simple, but very few people would of thought of playing a song like that.
Great example, the song "the Mirror" off of Awake album. Petrucci the guitarist plays a simple lick practically though out the whole song as MP is playing simple drum beats. But what he does to change the entire feel of the song is change the time signatures or alter the drum beat instead of focusing on down beats to up beats. He is capable of coming up with things that in reality are very simple, that most drummers would have missed. MP has very strong base knowledge of music theory that really works for this band.