Mike Portnoy Reveals His Influences: “Lars Ulrich, Charlie Watts, Neil Peart, Keith Moon And More”

Mike Portnoy Praises Lars Ulrich: "He Had A Big Influence On Me"

During a new appearance on 22 Now, former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy has opened up about his influences and sent praising words for Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, Lars Ulrich, Neil Peart, John Bonham, and Keith Moon.

The American drummer Mike Portnoy rose to international success with his tenure in progressive metal band Dream Theater that he formed in 1985. After a 25-year career with his own band, Portnoy had announced his departure in 2010. Throughout his career with them, Portnoy released 10 studio albums and one EP, titled A Change of Seasons.

On the other hand, Lars Ulrich has been rocking the stage as the drummer of his Grammy Award-winning heavy metal band Metallica, which was formed in San Francisco in 1981. He is one of two leaders of the band alongside James Hetfield. Releasing his debut in 1983 with the band’s Kill ‘Em All, Lars Ulrich performed in every Metallica albums.

Recently, the world-known drummer Mike Portnoy has appeared to talk about his influences. At first, the musician touched on Keith Moon‘s huge influence on him. He also said he loves Ringo Starr, the late drummers, Charlie Watts and John Bonham.

“What made me want to be the type of drummer that I became – I saw The Who’s ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ they put out the movie right after Keith had died,” Portnoy says.

“And I had already been listening to The Who for 10 years, I grew up listening to ‘Tommy’ and ‘Who’s Next,’ and all that stuff.

“But back then, as you know, we didn’t have VHSs and DVDs, so I hadn’t seen Keith with my own eyes until ‘The Kids Are Alright’ came out.

“I went to the movie theater to see it, and from the very opening number when they come out and do ‘My Generation’ and Keith blows up his drum kit, and Pete smashes his guitar.

“I mean, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Keith. I was like, ‘Not only do I want to be a drummer, but I want to be a drummer like that,’ where you can’t take your eyes off of him.

“Like he’s playing lead drums, and so that was that moment for me where I was like ‘I want to do that, I want to be a drummer like that,’ that you just want to watch.

“I love Ringo, I love Charlie Watts, I love John Bonham, but Keith had that personality, I mean, he was captivating, and he did everything like a lead instrument. Sadly, that’s why we lost him so young and so early. I was motivated by that.

Portnoy Sends Respects For Lars Ulrich

Later then, the drummer sent respectful words for the Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. Touching on Lars Ulrich‘s undeniable influence on him, Portnoy said that he is the bandleader of his co-founded band Metallica.

“And then, later on, someone like Lars Ulrich had a big influence on me,” Portnoy continues. “Not for drumming but because he was the drummer in the band that was also the leader of the band.

“You could tell that he had a lot to do with their creative direction, and the songwriting, and obviously the fan club and the merchandise, so he inspired me as well.

“Seeing a drummer play the lead role, and that was kind of what my role in Dream Theater was for all those years – 25 years with Dream Theater.”

Before he concluded his words, he admitted that he’s the mix of Keith Moon, Lars Ulrich, and the late drummer Neil Peart.

“So I kind of was modeling myself between Keith Moon, Neil Peart, and Lars Ulrich, and somewhere in between is what came out like me.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Mike Portnoy had discussed the idea of joining Rush as a successor of Neil Peart. Saying that Peart is one of his musical heroes, Portnoy had added that he is open to the idea.

“Hypothetically, of course, it would be a dream come true,” Portnoy says. “Neil was my hero, and always will be, and Geddy and Alex are as well. I don’t think in a million years they’ll play without him, I really don’t.

“In a hypothetical dream scenario, I mean, come on, of course. I don’t think in a zillion years it will happen, but it’s a nice dream to hypothetically wonder about.”

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