Full name - Michael Stephen Portnoy
Eye color - Green
Although Mike taught himself how to play the drums, he did take music theory classes in high school. During that time he began playing in local bands Intruder, Rising Power and Inner Sanctum, the latter of which released their own album. Mike left the band after being awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee Music College in Boston.
An avid collector of many things, Mike has a vast array of Dream Theater memorabilia including bootlegs, posters, clippings and everything else under the sun with the band's name on it. He is also responsible for capturing everything the band does on video tape and DAT. His huge video collection includes favorite films as 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Jacob's Ladder and The Wall along with episodes of The Simpsons and memorable boxing matches.
Mike says his biggest influences are Rush drummer Neil Peart and the late Frank Zappa. Other favorites include drummers Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, Simon Philips, John Bonham and Keith Moon and bands such as The Beatles, Queen, Yes, Metallica, Jellyfish, Iron Maiden, U2 and Jane's Addiction. He is also a fan of rap music.
Mike and his wife Marlene live in Rockland, NY with their daughter Melody Ruthandrea, son Max John, dog Bongo and cat Cypress. Their other cat, E.T., passed away on January 12th 2001.
This curse for me means that when I "get into" something, I can't just casually enjoy it.... I become obsessed with every aspect of it.... If I discover a band that I like, I must go out and get their entire catalog. If I see a film I like, I must go out and see every film that the director has made...and even worse, collect the director's entire body of work for my video, laser & DVD library...
This behavior has not only driven my wife Marlene crazy, but has forced us into building a huge library/ "Dream Theater museum" seperately from the rest of my house so nobody gets hurt! : )
As anybody who has interviewed me would tell you, I would rather spend my time discussing & promoting other bands or films than talking about myself or Dream Theater....(How DT or my record company continue to let me be the band's main spokesman is still beyond me!!!) : )
What this part of my web-site provides is a real look into my biggest interests: Film, Boxing and of course, Music....(and a few other things for good measure)
Some of you may read through these lists and say "you know, I could care less about this crap!"....but that's OK with me; because of my OCD, I had fun compiling these lists....even if only for myself!
For those of you who actually might find these lists interesting, I think it is a good way to see what has made me the person I am today.... I constantly get asked about my influences, and I always answer: a) they branch WAY beyond just drummers and b) I could never site just "a few" names, because it is the diversity of the artists I admire that make the big picture complete...
By looking through these lists, you can gather a pretty complete answer to that eternal question "who are your biggest influences"... And maybe it will give some free promotion and support to some of my influences, whose careers you can now go check into and turn yourself into a babling Obsessive Compulsive idiot like me!!!
The Max Splashes are available individually in sizes 7", 9" and 11". They are also available as a Sonically Matched Set in a Signature Max carton. The sounds are fast, glassy and cutting.
The Max Stax is a stacked combination of a specially designed hand hammered China Kang on top of a special raw-edged splash or crash. Sizes are 8"/8", 10"/10" and 12" on top of a 14" crash. The sounds are fast, raw and trashy. These combinations are Sonically Matched in our Vault and are available individually in a Signature Max carton.
You can hear Mike's new Max models on his new instructional video - Liquid Drum Theater, or better yet, add some to your kit!
I came up with the basic concept for my Melody Master signature snare drums (I named them after my daughter Melody) about four years ago. I thought about how many drummers use several different snares in the studio. Or how they have two snare drums on their own kit to get two different types of sounds. So I suggested to Tama the idea of a snare strainer that locked into several different positions as opposed to just two. In response they built me a custom drum with a foot pedal that activated the throw-off on the drum. It functioned much like a tympani or it could lock into three positions: off, loose, and tight. Later we took the three-position concept and applied it to the much simpler manual throw-off that's used in the new signature snares. With this unique Three-Way strainer, I can get different settings with the same snare drum from song to song - and I can even change settings from section to section within the same song. Of my two signature models, one is a 5 X 12" piccolo-type snare with a steel shell. It has the attack to stand out on a track, but enough low-end to round out the bottom. The other is a 5 1/2" X 14" maple drum very much like the foot operated one I've been using for years. This new version will be my full-time main snare now, and I'll retire the foot-operated one. The two different models complement one another and they complement my kit. That's important because I think the snare is the most important factor in a drum kit. Ultimately, it's the main timekeeper in terms of creating a backbeat.
- THE ALBINO MONSTER
- THE SIAMESE MONSTER
This is a MikePortnoy.com EXCLUSIVE! Mike has submitted a photo of this 'prototype' for his new setup right from the studio while he's in the midst of recording the new Dream Theater album.
- THE PURPLE MONSTER
The object of many a drummer's desire, this has been Mike's DT kit for the past few years. We now offer you several closeup shots of the kit, a helpful chart of the drums and cymbals, and the Virtual Monster which allows you to actually play this kit online!
- THE TRANSLANTIC KIT
This is the kit Mike uses with one of his side-project bands, Transatlantic. While not nearly as big as the 'monsters', Mike has proven this to be a very effective rig for the TA recordings and live performances.
- THE AWAKE/ A CHANGE OF SEASONS KIT
This set is often affectionatly referred to by fans as the 'Awake' kit. It was used on DT's Awake and ACOS albums / tours, and has since been retired to Mike's basement.