Author Topic: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?  (Read 2649 times)

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Offline Kotowboy

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2020, 04:22:49 AM »
Reminds me of the time Portnoy tweeted something like

" Man Matt Sorum plays the same fill like 19 times in November Rain ! "

And Sorum replied something to the effect of :

" There's more to drumming than fancy fills and loads of cymbals "

and Portnoy backtracked

" I agree 1000% : ) : ) "

:lol

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2020, 07:42:23 AM »
And as I have said before too, I don't see anyone in DT really pushing any envelopes for the most part either. But that's one release every 2-3 years, so again not something we pay much attention to.

The drumming in S2n and Pale Blue Dot is not pushing the envelope?

And for the topic of a drummer not sounding that much different over two decades, here's a 2002 Mangini:

Stones by Sal Difusco

And a 2018 Mangini:

Challenge Accepted by Into The Great Divide

If you're used to hearing MM, you would know it is him. But I would be hard pressed to say it's the same bag of tricks. And they are both work for hire gigs.

But here's the thing: I will put on pre-2010 Dream Theater or Neal Morse songs JUST TO HEAR THE DRUMMING.  If I never hear either of those two songs above again, my life will still be fulfilling and complete. 

I've written this before; it's not about "Mangini" or "Portnoy", it's the COMPARISON.  It's just what you (general) like.   I LOVE the way Mike Portnoy makes 44/7 time signatures sound like 4/4, and I'm not a fan of the "drumming as track and field event" vibe that I get from a lot of Mangini's work.  If that's your bag, have at it, enjoy it and I hope it makes your day better (those are all very sincere statements, since that is what music does for me, and I truly do hope that we can all find whatever it is we're looking for in our musical choices).  Portnoy is on my drumming Mt. Rushmore (with Peart, Bonham and Collins).  Mangini is not. 

"Drumming" isn't a sport, and it isn't a contest.  I don't see the point in continuing that perpetual comparison.   

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2020, 07:47:57 AM »
This post was spurred a bit by a constant comment I see on DTF regarding Mike Portnoy and his "typical" drumming or fills.

Obviously, opinion is welcome, but I don't understand comments like this. It reeks of underhanded Portnoy bashing, no matter how artfully constructed those kind of comments are. Have we gotten so spoiled by the abilities of guys like Portnoy and others (I've seen it thrown at a bunch of different musicians on here) that we take it for granted?

I know the community here is full of great musicians. Some of whom have had incredible success. But newsflash, most of this commentary regarding Portnoy and his "typical" drumming comes from folks that will never achieve a fraction of the success MP has had, nor even sniff his ability level. It reeks of jealousy and pettiness.

Yes, as fans, we are consumers, and we have a "right" to express our opinions. I'm not saying that. But every single time something comes up with Portnoy playing, you see the constant comments of "typical." Well, what do you expect? The guy has been a professional touring progressive musician for 35 years. His style is cemented, what he does is cemented. Let's take another drummer -- Brann Dailor of Mastodon. Dude receives tons of praise. But honestly, while I love Brann, his drumming is fully established, and you hear similar fills and such throughout everything he plays on. Let's go another. My favorite drummer, personally -- Morgan Rose of Sevendust. I'm an uber Alien Freak fan of his drumming. But on everything he appears on, Morgan sounds like Morgan.

So simply put, I don't know what people expect from Mike Portnoy. He's one of the most talented and respected drummers in the history of heavy rock and progressive music. Criticism is a part of the gig, for sure. But this whole strain of "typical" comments regarding his playing is ridiculous.

/soapbox

Word.    Thank you.


So success should make you immune from criticism, or it should sanitize all discussion of their playing? You can't criticize a musician unless you can play at their level? Nah fam. I'm nowhere near Jordan Rudess's piano skills, but I can criticize his playing.

I happen to agree with you on this one point, but I think you both can be right.   I think there IS an element of jealousy and pettiness to the criticisms, and while it may not be directly related to being a "great player", it is, I think, tied to this idea that we should be able to tell what our "favorite" artists are thinking at all times.  Mike has put himself out there, and shared his feelings so often (and they sometimes contradict, like they do for ALL humans at some point) that some of us feel entitled to assume what he's thinking, what his goals are, what his motivations are... I disagree with that.  I think he's entitled to his feelings whatever they are at whatever moment, just like the rest of us.   And if they change over time?  So be it.   Ironically, he seems to be on the wrong side of the fence on both issues; his drumming SHOULD change and (apparently) hasn't, and his emotions HAVE changed and (apparently) shouldn't.   

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2020, 07:53:05 AM »
I actually think Nicko has gotten better with age.

He carried that band on his shoulders on this last tour.  Not that the rest of the band wasn't great (they were) but McBrain was rock fucking solid for two straight hours.   I thought that was an incredible performance for a guy who is pushing 70 (he's 68). Contrast that with Peter Criss who I thought was abysmally washed up in 2004 (when he was ten years younger, at 58). 

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2020, 07:55:03 AM »

I don't go to the baker's and bitch about them not having meat, "Oh you're making bread again? lame".

Right?

You don't go in there and say, "As much as I learned to love your bread, How come you're not improving your bread?" :lol

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Nice (to both of you).  Well said.

'Course, now I'm hungry.  ;)

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #40 on: August 11, 2020, 07:55:24 AM »
I actually think Nicko has gotten better with age.

He carried that band on his shoulders on this last tour.  Not that the rest of the band wasn't great (they were) but McBrain was rock fucking solid for two straight hours.   I thought that was an incredible performance for a guy who is pushing 70 (he's 68). Contrast that with Peter Criss who I thought was abysmally washed up in 2004 (when he was ten years younger, at 58).

Criss was washed up in 1984.  :neverusethis:
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #41 on: August 11, 2020, 08:27:35 AM »
I actually think Nicko has gotten better with age.

He carried that band on his shoulders on this last tour.  Not that the rest of the band wasn't great (they were) but McBrain was rock fucking solid for two straight hours.   I thought that was an incredible performance for a guy who is pushing 70 (he's 68). Contrast that with Peter Criss who I thought was abysmally washed up in 2004 (when he was ten years younger, at 58).

Criss was washed up in 1984.  :neverusethis:

You'll get no argument from me.   He's by far my least favorite member, even including the subsequent non-original members.

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #42 on: August 11, 2020, 12:07:37 PM »
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2020, 01:10:28 PM »
Yeah.

I don't get this Portnoy-super-crit. I understand feeling underwhelmed that musicians get samey after decades but, you know, bad luck.

But, just to contradict myself, the only drummer I can think of that frustrates me sometimes is Nicko McBrain. That mid-pace tom fill that ends on a snare hit has been fucking killing me for about 3 albums now!


3 albums?  He's been doing that shit since 1981, dude  :rollin     

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2020, 03:12:23 PM »
I was thinking about signature fills.

Live - Lars Ulrich used to do a tom fill that would ALWAYS end on two 8th notes on the snare.

But in the studio - I can't think of a fill that he uses over and over. Except maybe on the new album where he 8th note snare fills for a couple of bars. But that's about all i can think of right now.

He mostly plays for the song and each song might have a signature fill but maybe someone else can think of one fill that Lars does A LOT that isn't just in one song as a signature

for example THAT snare fill in Sad But True or the Rata Tata Boom in ONE.

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2020, 03:19:23 PM »
I was thinking about signature fills.

Live - Lars Ulrich used to do a tom fill that would ALWAYS end on two 8th notes on the snare.

But in the studio - I can't think of a fill that he uses over and over. Except maybe on the new album where he 8th note snare fills for a couple of bars. But that's about all i can think of right now.

He mostly plays for the song and each song might have a signature fill but maybe someone else can think of one fill that Lars does A LOT that isn't just in one song as a signature

for example THAT snare fill in Sad But True or the Rata Tata Boom in ONE.

Yea, Lars has a signature sound/style but definitely not a signature fill or anything. It's weird.
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2020, 03:21:07 PM »
For all the shit people give him - he doesn't really rely on a bag of tricks.

In the making of Death Magnetic and Hardwired videos - you can see him struggling to come up with parts which serve the song and aren't just

Rock Drum Fill # 34

For example - the snare triplets at the start of the song Hardwired and that Brann Dailor - esque tom roll he does in Moth Into Flame.

He still does try to mix it up in the studio to this day.


Not to turn this into the Lars Ulrich thread - but one of my fave criticisms of Lars is that " lol he just punches in drums in the studio ".

As if all albums aren't recorded like that. Do some people think you go in - play the whole album once as a band then go home ?

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2020, 10:14:20 AM »
Yeah.

I don't get this Portnoy-super-crit. I understand feeling underwhelmed that musicians get samey after decades but, you know, bad luck.

But, just to contradict myself, the only drummer I can think of that frustrates me sometimes is Nicko McBrain. That mid-pace tom fill that ends on a snare hit has been fucking killing me for about 3 albums now!


3 albums?  He's been doing that shit since 1981, dude  :rollin   

 :lol
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #48 on: August 15, 2020, 12:17:58 AM »
In the last 16-17 years of getting to know Dream Theater and Mike Portnoy's music, I've kind of grown accustomed to his play style, and could probably pick it out in a line-up if I needed to, but that doesn't mean his fills and grooves are boring for me. He is the kind of drummer who definitely tries his hardest to play to serve the music, and sometimes that means going back into his memory and using certain tools and tricks to lay down a groove or fill that sounds right to him.

He's got strong personality in the studio, but I don't think he'd argue to keep his takes if the other members of whatever band he's recording with weren't happy with what he did. In the end, he is a music fan as much as he is a musician, so I'm sure he wants to serve the song more than anyone else.

In the last decade or so, whenever a new album comes out with Mike on it, I listen to his drum parts carefully to pick out the parts I feel are NEW or DIFFERENT for him, grooves that I've never heard him do (for example, parts on Neal's Momentum album, or the Kaleidoscope album by Transatlantic), or crazy fills he's not done before (The Whirlwind is chock full of them), and it makes it like a fun little egg-hunt to find the stuff that makes that album unique, as far as Mike's playing goes.

I will agree, though, that because of the frequency at which Mike releases new music each year, if you're a fan of all of them, you might burn yourself out on listening to his drumming. Thankfully, I'm not a big fan of his strictly-metal stuff, and I've not really listened to SOA and TWD very much over the last few years, so most of my new-Mike-music intake is mostly from his work with Neal Morse, and if I'm not bored with Neal's over-use of certain musical ideas, I'm definitely not going to get bored with Mike's!

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #49 on: August 15, 2020, 08:06:55 AM »
Basically I just agree with whoever said " Bashing any Portnoy criticism is the same as criticising Portnoy himself ".

I don't agree that just because he's an ex member of Dream Theater he's untouchable. Same for Derek.

If we think he only plays the same 5 fills and hasn't done anything revolutionary music wise in the last 10 years - we should be able to say.

As I said before - I've listened to Winery Dogs, Flying Colours, Sons Of Apollo, Adrenaline Mob - and not one of those projects has excited me at all.

Last I heard he was in yet another new band - playing covers this time. Even though all his other projects live sets are padded out with covers.

None of this is outright bashing. I'm sure we'd all love MP to focus on one band - take the time (lulz) to craft an ALBUM and put out something truly GREAT.

Petrucci and Rudess reportedly took a year to write The Astonishing... What's the longest Portnoy has spent on an album since leaving DT ?

Offline Max Kuehnau

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #50 on: August 15, 2020, 08:11:12 AM »
Basically I just agree with whoever said " Bashing any Portnoy criticism is the same as criticising Portnoy himself ".

I don't agree that just because he's an ex member of Dream Theater he's untouchable. Same for Derek.

If we think he only plays the same 5 fills and hasn't done anything revolutionary music wise in the last 10 years - we should be able to say.

As I said before - I've listened to Winery Dogs, Flying Colours, Sons Of Apollo, Adrenaline Mob - and not one of those projects has excited me at all.

Last I heard he was in yet another new band - playing covers this time. Even though all his other projects live sets are padded out with covers.

None of this is outright bashing. I'm sure we'd all love MP to focus on one band - take the time (lulz) to craft an ALBUM and put out something truly GREAT.

Petrucci and Rudess reportedly took a year to write The Astonishing... What's the longest Portnoy has spent on an album since leaving DT ?
Three Days. Harharhar. Back to you mentioning TA: IIRC (and Scotty may correct me if I'm wrong) Jordan and JP started writing the music right after the Along For Ride Tour ended (so in November of 2014 and songwriting and recording ended in September of 2015). John began writing the story and the concept of the album right after DT12 has been released, so in September of 2013. You could say the total time it took from story writing to release was almost 2,5 years.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 08:19:56 AM by Max Kuehnau »
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Offline Kotowboy

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #51 on: August 15, 2020, 08:14:48 AM »
SEND HIM AWAY !


* I'd also like to add that i've been close to putting his antics behind me several times - but then he goes and says something in the press - or that whole business with SOA and Derek

and i'm like nah.

Offline Kotowboy

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #52 on: August 15, 2020, 09:29:26 AM »
Back to you mentioning TA: IIRC (and Scotty may correct me if I'm wrong) Jordan and JP started writing the music right after the Along For Ride Tour ended (so in November of 2014 and songwriting and recording ended in September of 2015). John began writing the story and the concept of the album right after DT12 has been released, so in September of 2013. You could say the total time it took from story writing to release was almost 2,5 years.


I feel really bad for JP - spending all that time on the album - when fans were begging for another concept album. Giving them this huge epic concept album - taking all that time to write it...

...and then some fans act like it was their St Anger or something. If I was JP that would be the last time i'd ever consider another concept album.

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #53 on: August 15, 2020, 09:30:20 AM »
Back to you mentioning TA: IIRC (and Scotty may correct me if I'm wrong) Jordan and JP started writing the music right after the Along For Ride Tour ended (so in November of 2014 and songwriting and recording ended in September of 2015). John began writing the story and the concept of the album right after DT12 has been released, so in September of 2013. You could say the total time it took from story writing to release was almost 2,5 years.


I feel really bad for JP - spending all that time on the album - when fans were begging for another concept album. Giving them this huge epic concept album - taking all that time to write it...

...and then some fans act like it was their St Anger or something.

No one did that. A lot of us just found it kind of boring. Thatís all.
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #54 on: August 15, 2020, 09:32:30 AM »
We must be reading different comments.

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #55 on: August 15, 2020, 09:51:40 AM »
We must be reading different comments.

Maybe. I also donít pay much attention to dumb internet comments.
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #56 on: August 15, 2020, 10:07:58 AM »
I feel really bad for JP - spending all that time on the album - when fans were begging for another concept album. Giving them this huge epic concept album - taking all that time to write it...

...and then some fans act like it was their St Anger or something. If I was JP that would be the last time i'd ever consider another concept album.
Don't forget that he knew that TA was likely going to be a controversial addition to DT's catalog - he's said so himself in interviews. So if he knew that and still opted to go through with his pet project, then he is also willing to accept the consequences of taking that (mis)step.

That said, I wouldn't put it past him to consider doing another concept album down the road. After all, SFaM is one of DT's most popular albums. But I do think that he'll tread a little more carefully with regards to the musical direction each album takes from now on, as well as making sure that the lyrics and story to a potential concept album won't be so cheesy (you'll notice outside of TA, he hasn't written any lyrics that could be truly deemed cheesy since TCoT, which was panned by much of the fanbase lyrically).
As a basic rule, if you hate it, you must solely blame Portnoy. If it's good, then you must downplay MP's contribution to the band as not being important anyway, or claim he's just lying. It's the DTF way.

Offline Max Kuehnau

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #57 on: August 15, 2020, 10:38:03 AM »
Back to you mentioning TA: IIRC (and Scotty may correct me if I'm wrong) Jordan and JP started writing the music right after the Along For Ride Tour ended (so in November of 2014 and songwriting and recording ended in September of 2015). John began writing the story and the concept of the album right after DT12 has been released, so in September of 2013. You could say the total time it took from story writing to release was almost 2,5 years.


I feel really bad for JP - spending all that time on the album - when fans were begging for another concept album. Giving them this huge epic concept album - taking all that time to write it...

...and then some fans act like it was their St Anger or something. If I was JP that would be the last time i'd ever consider another concept album.
I don't think TA is DT's St. Anger. (FII might be that. Or not. IMHO it is.) But I also really hope that there will be another concept album by DT. We all know they are able to do it well.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 10:53:32 AM by Max Kuehnau »
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Offline Max Kuehnau

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #58 on: August 15, 2020, 10:50:10 AM »
I feel really bad for JP - spending all that time on the album - when fans were begging for another concept album. Giving them this huge epic concept album - taking all that time to write it...

...and then some fans act like it was their St Anger or something. If I was JP that would be the last time i'd ever consider another concept album.
Don't forget that he knew that TA was likely going to be a controversial addition to DT's catalog - he's said so himself in interviews. So if he knew that and still opted to go through with his pet project, then he is also willing to accept the consequences of taking that (mis)step.

That said, I wouldn't put it past him to consider doing another concept album down the road. After all, SFaM is one of DT's most popular albums. But I do think that he'll tread a little more carefully with regards to the musical direction each album takes from now on, as well as making sure that the lyrics and story to a potential concept album won't be so cheesy (you'll notice outside of TA, he hasn't written any lyrics that could be truly deemed cheesy since TCoT, which was panned by much of the fanbase lyrically).
although I always thought (and I still think to this day) that James delivered these lyrics really rather well. (in that he "draws you in" to them as it were)
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #59 on: August 15, 2020, 01:10:18 PM »
Funny that you consider Falling Into Infinity to be their St. Anger when FII is largely considered their best album sonically.

I'd say that When Dream And Day Unite is closer to being their weakest album but it was their debut so it's forgiveable.

DT12 also has a horrific snare sound meanwhile...

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #60 on: August 15, 2020, 01:44:38 PM »
I think a lot of bands don't really have a St. Anger. That album is panned so universally, and has so much that makes it legitimately strange, like the snare sound (and really the overall production), that it doesn't compare with anything in the discographies of a lot of bands.

However, it is true that there is a lot of wildly exaggerated criticism of TA in the prog metal world more broadly (less so on this forum, where people tend to state their opinions in more measured and respectful terms).
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #61 on: August 16, 2020, 11:46:04 AM »
Itís hilarious that MP would receive this criticism when far more famous drummers like Watts, Paice, McBrain, Ulrich, Travis etc have been doing the exact same things every record for up to 50 years or more.

I don't know about those other guys but Ulrich's drumming is always shit on.

Portnoy is a Prog guy so it's weird to compare criticisms of him to a drummer like Watts.
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #62 on: August 16, 2020, 01:00:02 PM »
Basically I just agree with whoever said " Bashing any Portnoy criticism is the same as criticising Portnoy himself ".

I don't agree that just because he's an ex member of Dream Theater he's untouchable. Same for Derek.

If we think he only plays the same 5 fills and hasn't done anything revolutionary music wise in the last 10 years - we should be able to say.

As I said before - I've listened to Winery Dogs, Flying Colours, Sons Of Apollo, Adrenaline Mob - and not one of those projects has excited me at all.

Last I heard he was in yet another new band - playing covers this time. Even though all his other projects live sets are padded out with covers.

None of this is outright bashing. I'm sure we'd all love MP to focus on one band - take the time (lulz) to craft an ALBUM and put out something truly GREAT.

Petrucci and Rudess reportedly took a year to write The Astonishing... What's the longest Portnoy has spent on an album since leaving DT ?

I think there are a fair number of assumptions in there that don't hold water, though.  Respectfully.   If we list the albums that are truly classic and yet were done in a matter of days, we'd be here all day.  "Time" does not equal "great record".  I don't know that TA is DT's "St. Anger" (not sure what that means) but I do know that TA is literally the LAST record in the catalogue that I go to when I want to hear Dream Theater.  If you want to compare it to Metallica, it's their Lulu.  Interesting side bar, but not much more. 

Offline Kotowboy

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #63 on: August 16, 2020, 02:37:39 PM »
Lulu is a Lou Reed album though not Metallica. They just happen to be the backing band.


Offline Madman Shepherd

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #64 on: August 16, 2020, 02:53:01 PM »


Petrucci and Rudess reportedly took a year to write The Astonishing... What's the longest Portnoy has spent on an album since leaving DT ?

I dont keep up with most of his stuff but SoA's MMXX was basically written off and on over the course of a year (or more). I would rather people write in person, and I think they did some stuff during soundcheck and whatever, but they continuously would write remotely and say what you will but I think MMXX was a huge improvement.

So yeah, I think taking your time really helps. I *liked* the first SoA and didn't have high hopes for the second but I think it just proves that not bashing out a handful of songs in a weeks time actually helps the final product.

Offline Shadow Ninja 2.0

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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #65 on: August 16, 2020, 04:00:19 PM »
I feel like the main thing Portnoy is missing now is a great songwriter. He's always been good at being an 'arranger,' seeing how bits of songs and motifs go together, like he did on Transatlantic's The Whirlwind and in Dream Theater, so when he was working with John and Jordan, or with Neal and Roine and Pete, great stuff happens. I don't think any of his other bands have someone like that.

And sure, he's not pushing boundaries or coming up with ridiculous drum parts like he did back in the days of Metropolis, and it would be cool to hear him do that again, but he's still a really talented drummer with an incredibly engaging style and if he were using his 'bag of tricks' in bands and on songs that were really good, I don't think there would be as many complaints. I mean, there'd always be some, because this is the internet, but I think the real issue people have with his output these days is that the music his drumming is supporting isn't that good.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2020, 04:07:52 PM by Shadow Ninja 2.0 »
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Re: Portnoy's Typical "drumming" etc. - enough please?
« Reply #66 on: August 16, 2020, 04:53:53 PM »
Yes. As a drummer is is definitely a great arranger.   I remember Neil Peart saying in an interview that he learned all he could on drums on the Presto tour.  He learned later was it was not true and admited so.
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