Top 100 Mike Portnoy Quotes of 2020

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“It’s nice when somebody says that you’re their ‘favorite’ drummer.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I don’t want people to think that I think I’m this great drummer because, to me, I’m just a kid playing drums, and I love music.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’d rather be entertained and go to a show and watch a drummer and have somebody that makes me actually smile. So I don’t judge drummers based on their technical ability; I judge them based on the overall package and what they bring to the music they’re part of.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Trite as it sounds, follow your heart. Persevere. And if you follow your heart and persevere, it will pay off.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I have no interest in playing ‘perfect.’ To me, it’s more about being an entertainer. Having a connection with the audience.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Change is inevitable with the evolution of technology. In the ’70s, we had records. In the ’80s, we had CDs, and now we are living in the digital age. You can say it’s sad or unfortunate, but the reality is you’ve got to roll with the times and the technology.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’m a music fan first and foremost. I can find the beauty in Jellyfish and U2 just as much as Opeth and Lamb of God, just as much as I can with Rush and Yes.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Flying Colors is more alternative pop with a prog edge. Think the Beatles meets U2 meets Muse and Foo Fighters. It is the opposite of Adrenaline Mob, which has more classic metal influences like Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Pantera, or Disturbed. They are completely different ends of spectrum.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’d just like to be remembered as a huge music lover.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Life is too short for resentments, and I always forgive.”

― Mike Portnoy

“To me, there’s way more to being a good drummer than precision and technique.”

― Mike Portnoy

“My lesson would be to not sell yourself to anybody else and stay true to yourself.”

― Mike Portnoy

“There’s the drums, the music, the melodies, the lyrics, the production, the artwork: there are so many elements to making an album, and the drumming is just a very small fraction of what I focus on.”

― Mike Portnoy

“If you’re not gonna be happy, then it’s not worth doing anything.”

― Mike Portnoy

“A lot of bands, they’ll try to jump on the bandwagon or the fad or the fashion, and they’ll skyrocket, have this quick overnight fame. But as soon as that fad or fashion changes, they’ll go out with it.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I am not a technical drummer at all. I’m more from the Keith Moon/Lars Ulrich school of, ‘Hey, look at me!’ I just get up there and bash.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I kind of always made it a tradition, whenever Dream Theater played Toronto, to play a Rush cover.”

― Mike Portnoy

“You don’t have to be a great drummer to be the most important guy in the band.”

― Mike Portnoy

“One of the reasons I needed to leave Dream Theater was because I didn’t want to end my career as just the drummer in one band.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I have so much gratitude that I get to do this for a living and that I actually have fans who come to the shows and buy the records and support me online.”

― Mike Portnoy

“When you’re putting together a concept album, it’s all about the flow and the story.”

― Mike Portnoy

“There’s been a lot of crossing paths with the Yes camp over the years for me. The first one was when Dream Theater and Yes toured together in 2004, which was a lot of fun.”

― Mike Portnoy

“My love for Yes is pretty well-documented.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I spent my life’s work doing what I did in Dream Theater for 25 years, so I’m proud of that.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Billy Sheehan has always been my number one favorite bass player of all time.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’m a workaholic.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I surround myself with incredible musicians who inspire me to always do my best.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I guess I did make my name out of my drumming, and I have the big drum sets, and I’m doing all these crazy, odd-time signatures, so, yeah, I guess drumming was very important to what made me popular.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’ve been asked to write a book several times; I’ve had several publishers come to me and offer me book deals. Especially right after I left Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold, there was a lot of drama going on in my life, so the book companies came at me thirsty for blood and gossip. And I turned down all the deals.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I don’t like when I see bands that are just a memory of what they used to be, and there’s a few out there that I’ve seen recently that are still touring… I’m not gonna name them, but some of the members can barely play their parts, and then they have a lot of other members that weren’t even originally in the band.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I was always very extroverted and loud.”

― Mike Portnoy

“When you’re making this kind of music, you don’t need a producer. If you’re making pop albums or trying to write hit singles, then yeah, but if you’re writing 20-minute prog epics, as long as you know how to make it sound good, and you have a good mixer, that’s all you need.”

― Mike Portnoy

“You can put me in front of any kit, and it is a fun thing to have to adapt. It inspires me to try different things. I like that.”

― Mike Portnoy

“When I first came out with the Winery Dogs, I had a Bonham set-up. That was such a departure from the huge kits that I had become known for. It was really enjoyable.”

― Mike Portnoy

“With the Neal Morse Band, we’re doing progressive music with a harder edge; it’s a little more in Dream Theater territory for me. Flying Colors is a little more poppy, it’s more Radiohead, Muse, and Coldplay territory, so I approach that drumming in a different way.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Some of my heroes are John Bonham, Keith Moon, Neil Peart, Ringo Starr, Terry Bozzio, Bill Bruford… The list goes on and on and on.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a ‘best’ drummer.”

― Mike Portnoy

“When I sit down to do an interview, I try to be polite and answer the questions that I’m asked.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I love when people know me from things other than Dream Theater.”

― Mike Portnoy

“After I left Dream Theater, and I was doing Avenged Sevenfold, Twisted Sister… all these other things, I made a lot of new fans in a lot of new areas.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I see the headlines on Blabbermouth, and the fans are saying, ‘Why is he always talking about Dream Theater?’ I’m not talking about Dream Theater! I get asked about it.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I can’t possibly overstate how much influence Rush had on me as a young teenager. I would say from about 1981 to 1987, they were my gods.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’ve known Russell Allen for over a decade now, and I’ve always thought he was a very underrated singer. He has one of the best voices in the business I’ve ever heard.”

― Mike Portnoy

“With Dream Theater, every creative aspect of the group went through me. I oversaw it all from top to bottom.”

― Mike Portnoy

“In Adrenaline Mob, I’m not the leader, but I’m on the board of directors, and that’s OK. I’m not stressing out over every detail. I’m sharing the load.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I love my family more than life itself, but I can only sit at home by my pool eating barbecue food so many days before I go cuckoo.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I need to be creative all the time.”

― Mike Portnoy

“To me, a great drummer isn’t always about somebody with chops who can shred. A great drummer is someone who is part of a great band.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’m not a politician; I’m a very open, honest guy, and that’s the way it is – that’s the way I am; take it or leave it.”

― Mike Portnoy

“The reality is, when I’m sitting in a hotel room at 3 in the morning, and I see something on the Internet that interests me in the form of a band I want to hear, I like the ability to just go online to iTunes and download it immediately.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I could be just as happy playing a Beatles song as I am when I’m thrashing out the double bass stuff with Adrenaline Mob.”

― Mike Portnoy

“When Dream Theater first started, we were touring in a van and playing clubs.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I usually have three to four bands a year going at any given point.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I tend to like the heavier things, especially live on stage. I need that energy and interaction and feeling the audience.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I think if there’s any one band that every member of Sons of Apollo has been influenced by, I think Van Halen is the common ground for all five of us.”

― Mike Portnoy

“When sequencing an album, you kind of have to look at it like you’re making a movie with different acts, and you have ebb and flow, peaks and valleys. You want it to feel like a journey or a good movie or book where you can actually feel very satisfied at the ride at the end of it.”

― Mike Portnoy

“We kind of established in Sons of Apollo right from the get go that it would be a very collaborative process musically, but after that, I was going to take the reins and control everything else beyond that the way I did with Dream Theater.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Normally, when I write the setlist for a Dream Theater show, I’ll change it up every night, and we can basically play whatever we want.”

― Mike Portnoy

“The most bizarre occurrence has to be when I dislocated my wrist during a show in Germany in 1997.”

― Mike Portnoy

“First and foremost, play what you love to play. Don’t try to jump on a bandwagon or a trend or a popular musical craze.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I always follow my heart.”

― Mike Portnoy

“With Dream Theater live, I may have been a bit of a focal point because I absolutely live for the energy on stage, and having interaction with the audience is absolutely crucial to me – regardless of how some others have described it!”

― Mike Portnoy

“I absolutely am not the ‘de facto front man’ in The Mob – that title surely goes to Russell Allen, who is one of the best front men in the business. I am just happy to be part of the band and not necessarily leading it.”

― Mike Portnoy

“In Adrenaline Mob there are five guys that are all absolutely insanely energetic performers each of their own right. It’s like a five-ring circus on stage!”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’ve always had lots of side projects in my life, but what’s exciting for me is knowing that Adrenaline Mob is bigger than that.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’m very proud of the album I made with Adrenaline Mob, and I think that there was really a great chemistry there; it was a great band.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I spent a good solid two years giving my all to Adrenaline Mob.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I love the Dream Theater guys dearly and have a long history, friendship, and bond that runs incredibly deep with them – it’s just that I think we are in serious need of a little break.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I have no desire to write lyrics with Adrenaline Mob.”

― Mike Portnoy

“After I wrote ‘The Best Of Times’ for my dad and after I completed the ’12 Steps Suite’ with Dream Theater, I very much felt like I had said everything I wanted to say lyrically.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I am – you know, I’m getting to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do, anything my imagination can think up. I’m getting to play with some of my favorite musicians in the world, ranging from Russell Allen to Billy Sheehan to Paul Gilbert to Steve Morse.”

― Mike Portnoy

“If you do anything long enough, people can’t ignore you anymore.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I remember waking up Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, to my wife telling me to put on the TV because I wasn’t going to be going into N.Y.C. as planned. Dream Theater was working in N.Y.C. at the time mixing our album ‘Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence,’ and I would’ve been driving in that afternoon for our session.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’m very outgoing, an extrovert, a control freak.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I don’t care about technique. I have kind of been pigeonholed as a technical drummer since I was in Dream Theater for all those years, but it’s actually very far from the truth.”

― Mike Portnoy

“In all of my years in this business, I’ve always been part of either a progressive band or a metal band.”

― Mike Portnoy

“It’s so refreshing to just play straight-ahead music with lots of twists.”

― Mike Portnoy

“It’s been an incredible experience, playing with Twisted Sister, Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold, jamming with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, and the list goes on and on and on.”

― Mike Portnoy

“It’s all about the music, and I work as hard as I do strictly because of the music. It’s not a money thing; it’s not a career thing. It’s simply to do with me being a music fan with a broad taste, wanting to do different styles and wanting to work with lots of different people.”

― Mike Portnoy

“As far as I know, you only live once. So, I want to make the most of it while I can and work with as many different people as I can.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I think it’s important for a young musician to stick with a band for a while and really work with a band and stay focused.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Any time I say anything about Dream Theater… Honestly, I’d rather not talk about it. Because no matter what I say, it will be twisted and… So I kind of have made myself promise that I won’t talk about Dream Theater anymore.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Dream Theater was my baby. I formed it from the beginning, out of college, and I lived a lifetime with them.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I don’t think I was ever meant to be tied down to one band for the rest of my life, playing one style of music.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Every band goes through breakups or splits.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I live a very open life. I value my relationship with the fans, and I utilize Twitter and Facebook and my web site, so my day-to-day activities are an open book for me to share with the fans, for better or for worse.”

― Mike Portnoy

“People always say to me, ‘Well, how can a marriage last when you’re away as much as you are?’ And I always say, ‘Well, absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ That time apart from each other has actually strengthened our relationship.”

― Mike Portnoy

“My time and my legacy with Dream Theater will always be a part of me. It’s something I’ll always be proud of.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I don’t consider myself a great drummer. I consider myself just a music fan that’s a very, very passionate artist, and the drums just happen to be my instrument.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I don’t even like doing drum solos live; to me, it’s like, ‘Ehhh.’ It doesn’t really interest me.”

― Mike Portnoy

“A Dream Theater without me was never in the plan; I never expected that.”

― Mike Portnoy

“Richie Kotzen is such an unbelievable talent as a vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I am looking forward to working with the great staff of Loud & Proud Records, some of whom I worked very closely with during their time at Roadrunner and my time with Dream Theater. I look forward to continuing that relationship with The Winery Dogs!”

― Mike Portnoy

“I’m a very sentimental guy; I’m a very nostalgic guy.”

― Mike Portnoy

“One of the biggest misconceptions was, after I left Dream Theater, I went off and did, like, five different bands and side projects. Everyone was like, ‘We thought you wanted a break.’ And it was like, well, I didn’t want a break from making music; I just needed a break from the Dream Theater camp.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I really do care what people think, and I revolved my whole career and all the twenty five years with Dream Theater… I ran that band and made decisions based on caring what the fans thought and wanted.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I find myself a much happier person when I turn off my computer and live my life.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I understand that Adrenaline Mob is not going to be every Dream Theater fan’s cup of tea. I totally get that; I understand that. It’s different world.”

― Mike Portnoy

“There are no prog elements to Adrenaline Mob; it’s very song-oriented, with shredding and grooves.”

― Mike Portnoy

“I love playing drums and helping out.”

― Mike Portnoy
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