Drummer - Progressive metal, heavy metal
Bands: Dream Theater, Transatlantic, Liquid Tension Experiment, Neal Morse, OSI, Avenged Sevenfold, Adrenaline Mob, Flying Colors, Bigelf, The Winery Dogs, Yellow Matter Custard, Twisted Sister, Metal Allegiance
Michael Stephen "Mike" Portnoy (born Neil Peart) to be inducted into the Modern Drummer's Hall of Fame (at 37 years of age).April 20, 1967 ) is an American drummer primarily known as the former drummer, backing vocalist, and a co-founder of the progressive metal band Dream Theater (1985–2010). Known for his drumming prowess and technical skill, Portnoy has won 26 awards from the Modern Drummer magazine. He co-produced six Dream Theater albums with guitarist John Petrucci, starting from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory through Black Clouds and Silver Linings. From A Change of Seasons onwards, Portnoy had been writing a significant amount of Dream Theater's lyrics. He is the second youngest person (after
Besides his work with Dream Theater, Portnoy is known for his many side projects and tribute bands. He is a founding member of Liquid Tension Experiment (1997–1999, 2008), an instrumental progressive rock band featuring fellow Dream Theater members John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess along with bassist Tony Levin. He is also a founding member of Transatlantic (1999–2002, 2009–present), a progressive rock "super-group" featuring former Spock's Beard keyboardist/vocalist Neal Morse, Flower Kings guitarist Roine Stolt and Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas. Portnoy has also recorded and/or toured/performed live with Neal Morse, OSI, Hail!, Stone Sour, Fates Warning, Overkill, G3 and played on Avenged Sevenfold's album Nightmare in place of their late drummer, The Rev. Over the years, Portnoy has also created tribute bands to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and The Who, which has allowed him to perform the music of his four favorite drummers.
In September 2010, Portnoy announced that he had left Dream Theater after 25 years. He was replaced by Mike Mangini. Since his departure, Portnoy started several new projects. The first, Adrenaline Mob (2011–2013), a straight rock/metal band with Russell Allen, singer of Symphony X, and guitarist Mike Orlando. However, on June 04, 2013, Portnoy announced his departure from Adrenaline Mob, citing scheduling conflicts. He has also started a progressive pop oriented band with Steve Morse, Neal Morse, Dave LaRue, and Casey McPherson called Flying Colors (2012–present) and a power trio together with Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big) and Richie Kotzen (former Mr. Big, Poison) called The Winery Dogs (2012–present).
Mike Portnoy Drumstick Collection
At one time, all of my Portnoy drumsticks were hand signed after I met him in Londonderry, NH and he signed the entire lot of my unsigned sticks (10 of them)... But since then, I have acquired some more and have to catch up with him again to get a few more signatures. So far, I have at least one drumstick from all of the Mike Portnoy variations that I have ever seen. If you know of one I don't have pictured (once I get all of the pictures uploaded :) ), Please Let Me Know!
. Known Mike Portnoy Drumstick Variations * ............................................................................................................. . (1993) generic purple Hot Sticks (0001, 0505, 2556-57) . (1995) signature model purple Hot Sticks, Dream Theater (0501-02, 1684) . (2000) Millennium II pro-mark 420, Majesty symbol (DT) Dream Theater, green ink (0007) . (2002) Millennium II pro-mark 420, Dream Theater, magenta ink (0206-07, 0322-23, 0986) . (2003) Millennium II pro-mark 420, Dream Theater, black ink (0203, 2648) . (2004) pro-mark Millennium II 420, DT Train of Thought Tour World 2004, black ink (0435-36) . (2005) pro-mark Millennium II 420, DT Octavarium World Tour 2005-2006, black ink (0497-98, 1666-67) . (2007) pro-mark Millennium II 420, DT Chaos in Motion Tour 2007-2008, black ink (0499-0500, 1098-99, 1115-16, 1660-61) . (2008) pro-mark Millennium II 420, Liquid Tension Experiment 2, magenta/black ink (0000-0000) . (2009) pro-mark Millennium II 420, DT Progressive Nation 2009 Tour, black ink (0503, 1917-18) . (2009) pro-mark Millennium II 420, Dream Theater, magenta ink (retail) (0398-99) . (2010) pro-mark Millennium II 420, DT Avenged Sevenfold, black ink (2086-87, 2628-29) . (2010) pro-mark Millennium II 420, Avenged Sevenfold, black ink (0118, 0402, 0611-12) . (2010) pro-mark Millennium II 420, Transatlantic, black ink (2904-2905) . (2011) pro-mark Millennium II 420, Adrenaline Mob, black ink (1518-1519, 1664, 2043) . (2011) pro-mark Millennium II 420, Dream Theater, black ink (retail) (0204-05, 0400-01) . (2012) pro-mark Millennium II 420, Flying Colors, blue ink (2084-85) . (2013) pro-mark Millennium II 420, Flying Colors, purple ink (0504) . (2014) pro-mark Millennium II 420, The Winery Dogs, black ink (0403-04, 0405, 2042) . (2014) PROMARK by D'Addario 420, The Winery Dogs, black ink (0609-10, 1769-70, 1771-72) . (2014) PROMARK by D'Addario 420, black ink (retail) (0000) . (2014) PROMARK by D'Addario 420, black ink (sig) (0601-02, 0603-04, 0605-06, 1776) . (2014) generic pro-mark Hot-Rods Drumsticks (0607-08) . (2014) PROMARK by D'Addario 420, Flying Colors, blue ink (0728-29, 2569-70) . (2014) PROMARK by D'Addario 420, Transatlantic, teal ink (2906-2907) . (2015) PROMARK by D'Addario 420, Metal Allegiance, black ink (1520-21, 1898-99, 2065-66, 2581-82) . (2015) PROMARK by D'Addario 420, Mike Portnoy script (rotational ambigram, facsim. sig), black ink (1614-15, 1773-74, 1775) . (2015) PROMARK by D'Addario 420, Metal Allegiance, 09/17/2015, black ink (1901-02, 1903-04) . (2016) PROMARK by D'Addario 420X, The Winery Dogs, black stick, white ink (2073) . (2016) PROMARK by D'Addario 420X, Metal Allegiance, black stick, white ink (2583-84) . (2016) PROMARK by D'Addario 420X, Mike Portnoy script (rotational ambigram, no sig), black w/ white ink (2174-75, 2199-2200) . (2016) PROMARK by D'Addario 420X, Mike Portnoy script (rotational ambigram, facsim. sig), black w/ white ink (2577-78) . (2016) PROMARK by D'Addario 420X, Twisted Sister, black stick, pink ink (0000-00, 2908-2909) . (2018) PROMARK by D'Addario 420X, Sons of Apollo, black stick, white ink (0000-00, 0000-00) . ............................................................................................................. . * most Liquid Tension Experiment, Neal Morse and early Twisted Sister gigs have been reported to have used . non-band signature model sticks
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 125.
Dream Theater history
Portnoy was born April 20, 1967 into a Jewish family and raised on Long Island in Long Beach, New York. According to a post made by Jordan Rudess on his forum, Portnoy is ethnically Jewish but does not practice. His father worked as a DJ at a local radio station, helping Portnoy gain an appreciation for music at an early age particularly, as Portnoy has pointed out, because he had access to his father's collection of LPs. He developed a preference for bands including Rush, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Iron Maiden, and The Beatles, among many others. Portnoy claims to be self-taught as a drummer, though he did take music theory classes in high school. During that period he began playing in local bands, two of which (Rising Power and Inner Sanctum) recorded and released independent albums.
He left Inner Sanctum (his last high school band) after being awarded a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston. There, he met John Petrucci and John Myung. They formed a band, initially taking the name "Majesty" before changing their name to Dream Theater. They left Berklee soon after.
Avenged Sevenfold, departure from Dream Theater and future
Announced February 17, 2010, Portnoy would fill in for Avenged Sevenfold's former drummer, Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, who died during production of the band's fifth album Nightmare.
On May 5, 2010, Portnoy released a statement on his status with Avenged Sevenfold on their official website: "Although I wish I could stay on board with A7X in a more permanent capacity, the reality is that I am committed to Dream Theater as my main priority and I will need to resume work with DT to start a new album at some point in 2011... However, I will be able to join my brothers in Avenged Sevenfold for at least the duration of their touring throughout (December 15) 2010... You can look at me like the band's 'rebound drummer' to buy them some time until they are comfortable and ready to make a commitment to somebody new for full-time relationship in their future!"
On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, Mike Portnoy announced he would be leaving Dream Theater. In his official statement, he said he had "come to the conclusion that the [Dream Theater] machine was starting to burn me out", and that he had urged the band to take a break from its relentless recording, publishing and touring cycle. However, when the band decided it would rather continue without him, he departed, and Dream Theater later chose Mike Mangini to take his place after auditioning seven "world-class" drummers. When Avenged Sevenfold later decided to also sever ties with Portnoy, he announced that he had asked to return to Dream Theater, but had been turned down by their lawyer since the band (as later revealed) had already brought Mangini on board.
Portnoy later announced that he had started two new musical projects: Adrenaline Mob, with Russell Allen, Mike Orlando, Rich Ward and Paul DiLeo; and Flying Colors, with Neal Morse, Steve Morse, Dave LaRue and Casey McPherson. Adrenaline Mob released its debut EP in August 2011. Both bands released their first full albums in 2012.
On June 10, 2011, Portnoy announced on his website that he would be playing a show in New York City on June 24, 2011 with Adrenaline Mob.
On August 5, 2011, one of Adrenaline Mob's new songs, "Hit the Wall," debuted on the Q104.3 radio station following a live interview with Portnoy about the band, as well as his hopes for the future and his feelings towards Dream Theater.
On September 14, 2011, it was announced that Portnoy would fill in on drums for Stone Sour's show at Rock In Rio for drummer Roy Mayorga, who had been expecting the birth of his first child on the same day as the show.
Portnoy and guitarist John Sykes had begun working on a new band in July 2011, together with bassist Billy Sheehan. However, in January 2012, the project quietly dissolved, and Portnoy announced that he and Sheehan had selected guitarist Richie Kotzen to replace Sykes. The album was recorded throughout August 2012. On March 24, 2013, it was announced that the name of the Portnoy/Sheehan/Kotzen band would be called The Winery Dogs. The album was released in July 2013.
Portnoy played drums on Progressive Rock band Bigelf's upcoming 2013 album. However, he has clarified that he was "just helping Damon (Fox, Bigelf frontman)", and is not a member of the band.
On June 4, 2013, Portnoy announced via Adrenaline Mob's Facebook page that he would be playing only 4 more shows with the band before departing. Portnoy cited scheduling conflicts that prevented him from being able "to fully commit to the band's future activities at the moment."
On January 2, 2014, Portnoy announced that he's not too keen on drum solos anymore. Portnoy said:
"There have been a lot of bands I've played in where the guys go, 'Oh man, you've got to do a drum solo!' And it's like, 'Ah, I don't know. I'd rather do a song in that five minutes.'
"I'm not interested in drum solos any more. This is my personal taste as a listener and as a player. I think I've grown out of it. Maybe that will change. Most musicians go through changes and phases, so that's just where I'm at in this particular moment."
On March 21, 2015 Mike Portnoy rejoined his old bandmates in Adrenaline Mob in New Jersey for a tribute to A.J. Pero, who died on March 20, 2015 from a massive heart attack. He also filled in for a number of Twisted Sister tour dates in the vacant drum throne of A.J. Pero.
Portnoy is also a founding member of the all-star metal band Metal Allegiance, the brainchild of Mark Menghi and consisting of principal members David Ellefson of Megadeth, Mike Portnoy, and Alex Skolnick from Testament and a rotating cast of supporting musicians including Randy Blythe, David Ellefson, Chuck Billy, Phil Anselmo, Doug Pinnick, Jamey Jasta, Alissa White-Gluz and many others.
In the April 2001 edition of Modern Drummer & Mike Portnoy's website, he names Neil Peart, Buddy Rich, Frank Zappa, Vinnie Paul, Carl Palmer, Bill Bruford, Terry Bozzio, Nicko McBrain, Billy Cobham, Alan White, Nick Mason, Stewart Copeland, Phil Collins, Chester Thompson, Simon Phillips, Nick D'Virgilio, Andy Sturmer, Dave Lombardo, Tommy Ramone, Marky Ramone, Jon Fishman, Vinnie Colaiuta, Ringo Starr, Peter Criss, John Bonham, Keith Moon and Lars Ulrich as influences.
Awards and recognition
Mike Portnoy won the following Modern Drummer magazine Reader's Poll awards:
- Best Up & Coming Talent (1994)
- Best Progressive Rock Drummer (1995–2006)
- Best Recorded Performance (1995 for Awake, 1996 for A Change of Seasons, 1998 for Falling Into Infinity, 2000 for Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory, 2002 for Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, 2007 for Score) and 2011 for Nightmare (Avenged Sevenfold).
- Best Clinician (2000, 2002)
- Best Educational Video/DVD (2000, 2002)
- Hall of Fame Inductee (2004)
- Best Rock Drummer (2015)
He has co-founded several progressive rock groups and projects, including Transatlantic and Liquid Tension Experiment.
He has released three instructional videos, "Progressive Drum Concepts", "Liquid Drum Theater", which has won awards from Modern Drummer Magazine, and his latest "In Constant Motion". He has released many "Official Bootlegs" on his website, including footage of the studio sessions for the Dream Theater albums Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Train of Thought, Octavarium and the Transatlantic release Bridge Across Forever. He has released bootlegs of his tribute bands Hammer of the Gods (a Led Zeppelin tribute), Yellow Matter Custard (The Beatles), Cygnus and the Sea Monsters (Rush), and Amazing Journey (The Who).
On September 18, 2006 within his website's forum Portnoy cagily stated that he had finally met one of his drummer heroes from youth from the band Rush; drummer Neil Peart (one of the few heroes from his youth Portnoy had never met, owing to Peart's legendary privacy), that "Neil and I have finally met and we spent some time together this week and had a great time...", and that a possible collaboration was underway/had been discussed with the teasing statement of "Patience everybody... all will soon be revealed!" It has now been revealed that this meeting was for an interview Portnoy did for his stint as guest editor of Rhythm Magazine. Portnoy had previously written the liner notes for the Japanese pressing of Rush's 2002 release Vapor Trails, but publicly denounced Peart in 2000 after Peart called the people involved in the Rush tribute "bar bands".
In the October 2009 issue of Rhythm Magazine, Portnoy was listed as #5 in their list of the Top 50 Drummers of All Time.
He was featured on Fuse TV's Talking Metal where he joined with Bobby Ellsworth and the show's hosts in covering Motörhead's "Overkill."
In June 14, 2010, Mike Portnoy won the Metal Hammer Golden God Award for Best Drummer.
As voted on by 6,500 drummers worldwide, Portnoy won the Drummies Award for Best Progressive Rock drummer in 2010, while Joey Jordison of Slipknot/Rob Zombie/Murderdolls won the award for Best Metal drummer.
At the Revolver Golden God Awards in April 20, 2011, he won the "Best Drummer Award" for his work with Avenged Sevenfold.
In June 7, 2011, Portnoy posted on his Facebook that he had won DRUM! Magazine's "Drummer of the Year Award" and the "Metal Drummer Award".
Portnoy won the "Virtuoso" award at the 2013 Progressive Music Awards.
Drum kits and percussive equipment
- When Dream and Day Unite/Images & Words Kit - This Tama Imperialstar kit (the previous model of the Imperialstar, unlike the 2007 Imperialstar, which is an entry level kit)and Zildjian cymbals which was bought originally by Portnoy himself through working three jobs. It was used until the end of the Images and Words tour when Portnoy was signed by Sabian and Mapex.
- Awake/A Change Of Seasons kit - This Mapex USA Maple kit was used on the world tour supporting the album Awake. It had two bass drums, one snare, six toms, two small timbales, a section of various percussion instruments, and four Octoban-sized drums in a 2x2 formation. This marked Portnoy's first use of Octobans on a record, which were custom-made by Mapex using maple as opposed to Tama's more traditional acrylic, giving them a slightly different, more "natural" tone.
- The Purple/Green/Red Monsters - These were Tama Starclassic kits which marked Portnoy's signing with Tama in the late '90s after his endorsement deal with Mapex fell through (they took the kit he was using off the market, meaning that he was endorsing a product the public could not buy.) Since then, Portnoy has stayed with Tama. Used for the recording of Falling Into Infinity" and "Scenes from a Memory and the North, South American, and Asian tours for said albums, they are so named because of their striking color/white/color fade finishes. Each version of the kit was kept in a different part of the world to avoid overseas shipping costs; the "Green Monster" was used for European tours and the "Red Monster" was used for Asian-market touring. It is similar to the "Awake" kit but features many more cymbals, the left-side octobans in a four-inline configuration (as opposed to his last kit which held them in a 2x2 pattern) and two more "low"-tuned octobans on the right side of the kit held overhead of the floor toms. This kit featured a snare drum with a foot-operated snare strainer mechanism which allowed for different snare drum sounds without having to use his hands to adjust it. On the Purple Monster Portnoy used DW 5000 Pedals, instead of the Iron Cobra Pedals. He uses this kit in his 1999 Instructional DVD "Liquid Drum Theater".
- Liquid Tension Experiment kit - A comparatively modest kit used in his supergroup project Liquid Tension Experiment. The bass drum and toms of this kit (not the snare, timbales, and cymbals) were the first Portnoy ever purchased used according to an interview where he gave a tour of his basement and this kit showed up. This kit was unique in that it used a pair of small timbales where the two smallest toms would normally be. It was otherwise a normal "seven piece" rock kit with three toms (five if you count the timbales), and a single bass drum with a double kick pedal. It marks the first time Portnoy uses a floor tom on either side of the kit for a recording (during footage from their Fan Club Show in 1998 featured on 5 Years in a LIVEtime, Portnoy's "Unplugged" kit contained a left-hand floor tom used heavily during that performance) with a 14" floor tom on the left and an 18" floor tom on the right. It is the first time Portnoy used his MaxStax cymbal line in the studio. Portnoy notes in his Liquid Drum Theater instructional video that the reason behind the smaller kit is that when Liquid Tension Experiment went into the studio to record the first album, The Purple Monster kit was still being shipped back from some shows they had played immediately prior in Brazil.
- Transatlantic kit - The kit used to record and tour behind the first Transatlantic album was the same as the Liquid Tension Experiment kit, but with five regular toms. When recording and touring behind the second Transatlantic album, Portnoy added his new Melody Master snare drums for the first time and some different cymbals including a set of custom made 15" hi-hats. The smaller Melody Master displaced the 14" floor tom, which was moved back to the right of the kit for the Transatlantic recordings. For the filming of Portnoy's 2007 "In Constant Motion" instructional DVD set, the Transatlantic kit was reproduced in Tama drums' new line of acrylic shells named Starclassic Mirage in the "Black Ice" finish. The original recording was done with more traditional Starclassic wood drums.
- The Siamese Monster - This kit was an amalgamation of two individual kits. The left side of the kit is laid out similarly to the Liquid Tension Experiment kit, with a floor tom on his left side, a modified tymp-tom on his right side, and three rack toms. The right side is laid out as a normal five piece kit but with the two rack toms reversed, a gong bass drum in place of a floor tom (with modified floor tom legs), and the ride cymbal in front of the hi hats, which allows him to share some of the cymbals and toms between the two kits. It has two stools, and while is not capable of being played in its entirety by one person, Portnoy often invites other drummers to sit in on the unplayed half during shows. It is a predominantly black kit with Majesty symbols around each individual drum. Much like the Colored Monsters, there were three identical versions of this kit for use when touring different continents, the North American kit being the "featured" kit with purple markings as was the case with the Colored Monsters. It was built by Tama for the recording of the Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence album and tour as well as the Train of Thought album and tour.
- The OSI kit - Portnoy used the small (right) side of his Red Siamese Monster kit for the recording of the first Office of Strategic Influence album. For the second he downsized even more to a four-piece consisting of his signature snare, one timbale as a tom as previously used on his Liquid Tension Experiment kit, one floor tom, and a single 18" kick drum with a double pedal.
- Yellow Matter Custard kit - A specially designed set for use in Portnoy's Beatles tribute band, Yellow Matter Custard. It is modelled on Ringo Starr's kit, and is quite simple compared with his Dream Theater kits. Its in the sizes: 12"x8", 14"x14" & 20"x14". The cymbals are an 14" AA HiHat, an AA Crash on the left and a HH Crash/Ride on the right.
- Hammer Of The Gods kit - A John Bonham-replica kit that was used in Portnoy's Led Zeppelin tribute band. Custom-made acrylic shells were used (transparent amber), and the kit is always played while wearing the obligatory bowler hat.
- The Albino Monster - The previous kit used by Portnoy is similar to the Siamese Monster. Aesthetically, it is white with silver sparkle Majesty logos instead of the black/colored logos of the Siamese Monster. In layout it is almost exactly the same, the only differences being the right side of the kit mimics his earlier Hammer of the Gods kit; two of the timbales were removed, the 10" tymp-tom was changed to a 14", and the gong bass drum was replaced with a floor tom. He kept some of the cymbals from the right side of the Siamese Monster, including the 13" HHX Groove Hats, and the 19" Hand Hammered Fierce Crash, so there's more distance between the two sides in the Albino Monster, than there were in the Siamese Monster. So far it has been used for the Gigantour (a tour that Dream Theater participated in alongside Megadeth, Symphony X and several other bands) and throughout the Octavarium 2005-06 World Tour. The modification to the right side stemmed from sessions for Dream Theater's Octavarium album, where what began as an experiment became the inspiration behind most of Octavarium. When recording of Octavarium began, Portnoy brought along the Hammer of the Gods kit, resulting in the kit being used for part of the album: he ended up using it on five of the album's eight tracks. The kit utilizes larger "Rock" sizes, with a 14" rack tom, a 16" floor tom, an 18" floor tom, and a meaty 6.5" x 14" snare drum, much reminding of the drum sizes used by John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Additionally, Portnoy only used a few crash cymbals, and used a splash and china sparingly. When touring began, Tama had the shells changed to traditional Starclassic Maple shells, because they didn't want Portnoy touring with a kit featuring shells that Tama didn't mass-produce for public acquisition. The touring kit includes two new limited-edition Mike Portnoy signature snare drums with the same matching finish used on the rest of the kit. On Tama's official website, Portnoy released details about changes to the kit for his upcoming tours, beginning with G3 in March. He says the left side will stay the same, but the right side will change. The sizes will change to more conventional sizes-22" kick etc. and will have three rack toms as opposed to the 'Bonham'-size, one rack tom kit of before. The shells would be Starclassic Mirage acrylic shells instead of the Starclassic Maple he has always used. He used this kit in his DVD In Constant Motion.
- The Mirage Monster - Revealed at Gods Of Metal 2007, this kit is made up of two kits once again, except built out of Tama's new Tama Starclassic Mirage acrylic drums in clear "Crystal Ice" finish. The left side is virtually identical to his previous kit, except made with clear acrylic shells. The new configuration of the right side of his kit has replaced the "Bonzo Kit" of "The Albino Monster." His new right side of the kit includes: a 22" kick and 3 rack toms (8", 10", and 12") "so it's going to be a little more of a conventional, small kit." (Click on "Interview" link button) The snares used are his Signature Melody Master snares. He uses 2 12x5" steel snares (one on the right side of the kit as a main snare and one on the left as a side snare) and uses one 14x5.5" maple shell snare. These snares are the same snares used in the last 2 kits (Albino Monster and Siamese Monster) and they are in the original black color. This kit has been scaled down to a relatively small double-bass kit for several shows taking place in smaller venues.
- Black & Silver Monster - Similar to the Mirage Monster, this kit is made up of two different kits, this time with the new Bubinga wood drums with a black and silver finish. This kit was used for the Black Clouds & Silver Linings tour. To record the album he used two different sets of Tama drums - his main set was Starclassic Bubinga Elite and the second, smaller one was Starclassic Performer.
Several of Portnoy's drum kits make use of Roland electronic drum pads. Portnoy uses these as what he calls the "secret cowbell", to count off the songs in a way that only his fellow band members and the technicians can hear it. An example of this can be seen on the Score DVD, where it can be seen in the background that Portnoy counts off the song "Under A Glass Moon" on the pad. Portnoy explains the use of these pads in the commentary track of the "Drum Cam Only" version of the Live At Budokan DVD, as well as the "Mike's Stage Tour" featurette on the Chaos in Motion 2007–2008 DVD.
Tama has marketed two different sized Mike Portnoy signature snare drums, known as "Melody Masters" (named after Melody, his daughter), since the late 1990s. The smaller of the two has a 12x5" steel shell and the larger has a 14x5.5" maple shell. Both snare models have a unique three way snare strainer mechanism. Portnoy and Tama have custom-made versions in various colors to match the color schemes of the kit he was using at the time (i.e. The "Purple/Red/Green Monsters", "Siamese Monster" "Albino Monster", etc.). For 2006, in recognition of his 'Albino Monster' kit, he released only 250 of these snares worldwide in a white, gloss finish. The older colour (black) is not limited edition.
Sabian has marketed three different sized signature cymbal stacks, known as "Max Stax" (named after his son, Max). They consist of a hand hammered china kang-style cymbal on top of a splash (or crash) cymbal that can be played much more like a drum than a cymbal, used much more in traditional drum fills than most quickly decaying cymbal tones. Their sizes are 8/8", 10/10" and 12/14". Sabian has marketed odd-sized 7, 9, and 11" "Max Splash" cymbals which have a fast decay and can be used in fills and drum patterns that have the same namesake.
Other instruments played
Portnoy played John Myung's bass when Dream Theater performed as the fictitious band Nightmare Cinema. Before live performances of "Trial of Tears", he would sometimes switch instruments with John Petrucci and play a fragment of "Eruption" by Van Halen. In Nightmare Cinema he got the "alternate stage name" Max Del Fuvio. He was seen playing Pink Floyd's Sheep, on a sunburst 4-string Music Man Sterling belonging to Myung on The Making of Systematic Chaos. He plays bass guitar during a jam by Liquid Trio Experiment 2. He has also contributed lead and harmony vocals to numerous projects.
Portnoy and his wife Marlene (née Apuzzo) live in Upper Saucon Township in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania with their children, Melody Ruthandrea and Max John. Marlene used to be a guitarist in the all-female band Meanstreak, and two of the other members, guitarist Rena Sands and bassist Lisa Martens, are married to Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung, respectively.
Max Portnoy, like his father Mike, is a drummer. His band Next to None opened for Adrenaline Mob in Atlanta on April 6, 2013.
Near the end of every year since 2001, Portnoy shares on his blog a personal choice on the top ten music recordings, films and TV shows released along the year.
Portnoy has endorsed Promark sticks since the late 1990s, using Hot Sticks previously. His signature Promark stick is the TX420N. It is .531 inches in diameter, 16 1/8 in length, and has a 747 taper and nylon tip. The color of the ink and the design of the logo has changed several times. When Mike was in Dream Theater, they had green, magenta/purple and black ink with the Dream Theater logo on it. When he toured with Avenged Sevenfold, the Pro-Mark logo was replaced with the Deathbat and used regular black ink. The "420" in the model number, which is printed on the sticks, is a reference to his birthday (and not a marijuana reference, as has been suggested). He is known for gripping his left stick on the reverse side to attain a different sound on the snare drum - at times he would incorporate the act of tossing his drumstick in the air to change to the other end.
The Pro-Mark Mike Portnoy Autograph Series Drumstick is a hickory stick that is slightly smaller in diameter than a hickory 5A with a 747 taper and a nylon tip. As the drummer for the band Dream Theater, Mike skillfully steers the course though an inventive blend of melodic rock and odd meters.
The 420 stick was designed by Mike Portnoy, progressive drummer extraordinaire. It features a long, narrow taper which provides a fast and responsive feel. The nylon tip provides a brighter, more articulate sound.
In 2016, the black Mike Portnoy 420X is among the first signature drumsticks (with Rich Redmond) to feature Promark’s Patent Pending Technology ActiveGrip - a heat activated grip technology engineered to get tackier as drummers hands sweat and their body temperature rises - so the harder you play the stronger they grip. The 420X offers more power and projection erring on the larger side of a 5A at 16 ½” long. The oval wood tip provides a warm tonality on cymbals and drums and appeals to the widest segment of drummers.
Drumstick Price Guide
Mike Portnoy routinely sells used, wrapped, autographed signature model drumsticks at the merch table at TWD, FC and NMB gigs for $25 each. These sticks immediately sell on eBay for $50 to $150 each as soon as the next day.
|2013-05-16||Mike Portnoy||Used||1994 Hot Sticks, purple, Images and Words tour (single)||eBay Auction||LOW||SOLD||20.00|
|2013-06-15||Mike Portnoy||Used||2000-08-24 autographed, Promark signature model, Dream Theater, Metropolis tour, Philadelphia, PA, green ink (single)||eBay Auction||Low||SOLD||19.51|
|2014-01-05||Mike Portnoy||Used||2003-07-10 Promark signature model, Dream Theater, Train of Thought tour, Holmden, NJ, black ink (single)||eBay Auction||Low||SOLD||25.69|
|2013-11-30||Mike Portnoy||New||autographed, 2006 Promark signature model, Dream Theater, red ink (pair)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||57.84|
|2014-03-06||Mike Portnoy||New||2009 Promark signature model, Progressive Nation 2009 logo (pair)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||112.50|
|2013-09-06||Mike Portnoy||New||2010 Promark signature model, Avenged Sevenfold, 1 signed,(pair)||private sale||Low||SOLD||100.00|
|2014-01-05||Mike Portnoy||New||2010 Promark signature model, Avenged Sevenfold (single)||eBay Auction||Market||SOLD||116.10|
|2013-11-15||Mike Portnoy||New||autographed, 2013 Promark signature model, black ink (pair)||eBay Auction||High/Market||SOLD||85.98|
|2013-12-23||Mike Portnoy||New||autographed, 2013 Promark signature model, (pair)||eBay Auction||High||Asking||199.00|
|2014-02-23||Mike Portnoy||New||autographed, 2013 Promark signature model, (single)||eBay Auction||Market||Asking||38.00|
|2014||Mike Portnoy||Used||autographed, Promark signature model, The Winery Dogs (single)||The Winery Dogs Merch table||Market||Asking/Sold||25.00|
|2014||Mike Portnoy||Used||autographed, Pro-Mark Hot Rod Sticks (single)||The Winery Dogs Merch table||Market||Asking/Sold||30.00|
|2014-05-8||Mike Portnoy||Used||autographed, Promark signature model, The Winery Dogs (single)||eBay Auction||Astronomical||Sold||325.58|
|2014-05-20||Mike Portnoy||Used||autographed, Promark signature model, The Winery Dogs (single)||eBay Auction||Very High||Sold||116.49|
|2014-10||Mike Portnoy||Used||autographed, Promark signature model, Flying Colors (single)||FC merch table||Market||Asking/Sold||25.00|
|2014-10-06||Mike Portnoy||Used||autographed, Promark signature model, Flying Colors (pair)||Private sale||High||Sold||250.00|
|2014-10-10||Mike Portnoy||Used||autographed, Promark signature model, Flying Colors (pair)||Private sale||Astronomical||Sold||500.00|