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Mike Portnoy

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A rhythmic linchpin of the modern progressive metal and hard rock scenes, Mike Portnoy is best known as the drummer and co-founder of Dream Theater, with whom he spent a quarter-century. A dynamic and versatile musician, Portnoy has remained remarkably prolific over the decades. He is the drummer for Sons of Apollo, the Winery Dogs, Transatlantic, Flying Colors, the Neal Morse Band, Metal Allegiance, and Liquid Tension Experiment, and has recorded and toured with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Twisted Sister, Adrenaline Mob, PSMS, Bigelf, Stone Sour, Fates Warning, Overkill, G3, and his four tribute bands with Paul Gilbert: Yellow Matter Custard, Hammer of the Gods, Amazing Journey, and Cygnus & The Sea Monsters. Born in 1967, the Long Island native started playing drums in his teens and cites Keith Moon, Ringo Starr, and John Bonham as early influences. As his skill set expanded, he looked to more adventurous artists like Frank Zappa and Neil Peart for inspiration. He co-founded Majesty in 1985 alongside fellow Berklee Music College students John Petrucci and John Myung. After releasing a demo collection, the group adopted the Dream Theater moniker and released their debut album, When Dream and Day Unite, in 1989. Combining elements of hook-based hard rock, riff-fueled metal, syncopated prog, and refined lyrics, the Grammy-nominated band spent the next two decades at the fore of the American progressive metal movement, cultivating a devoted fan base and issuing influential and critically acclaimed albums like Images and Words (1992), Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002), and Black Clouds and Silver Linings (2009). During this time, Portnoy took on a slew of side projects, including the all-instrumental/Dream Theater-adjacent Liquid Tension Experiment and the prog rock supergroup Transatlantic, and recording/touring stints with Neil Morse, Stone Sour, Fates Warning, Overkill, and G3. Portnoy left Dream Theater in 2010 and joined Avenged Sevenfold on their fifth album, Nightmare. He co-founded the melodic metal supergroup Adrenaline Mob the following year alongside guitarists Mike Orlando (Sonic Stomp) and Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo), vocalist Russell Allen (Symphony X), and bassist Paul Di Leo, and released Omertà. Two more studio efforts, Men of Honor and We the People, followed in 2014 and 2017, respectively. In addition to Adrenaline Mob, Portnoy is a founding member of prog rockers Flying Colors (comprising Dave LaRue, Casey McPherson, Neal Morse, and Steve Morse), who issued their third LP, Third Degree, in 2019, and power trio the Winery Dogs (with Billy Sheehan and Richie Kotzen), who released the Dog Years EP in 2017. He also drums for prog-metal enthusiasts Sons of Apollo (with Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, Jeff Scott Soto, and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal), who unleashed their sophomore effort, MMXX, in 2020, and thrashers Metal Allegiance (with Mark Menghi, David Ellefson, and Alex Skolnick), whose third long-player, Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty, arrived in 2018. In 2021 Liquid Tension Experiment released their third full-length effort, the aptly named 3, and Transatlantic unveiled their ambitious fifth album, The Absolute Universe.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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