Re: Mike Portnoy
I can play a little of mike's stuff but most of it is extremely complex, there are shadow beats which you some times cant even hear unless you have your music up loud or watch a dvd of their concert. Mike Portnoy is a great inspiration to me and im yet to find a band that i like as much as Dream Theater. And no im not saying he's the best, im just saying that i find him really quite amazing. The best drummer i have ever heard is Eloy Casagrande his video is just plain awesome, this kid is fourteen years old and thats whats soo amazing (Check out his Video, just search it in the drummer world search bar.)
As for another band that is similar to DT, about the nearest you will get is Rush, but you could also try Opeth, both are progressive but Opeth is more heavy than Rush.