Mike Portnoy

From Academic Kids

Mike Portnoy (born April 20, 1967) is an American drummer. He is primarily known for his work with the progressive metal band Dream Theater.


Pre Dream Theater History

Mike Portnoy was born and raised in Long Beach, New York, where his interest in music started at an early age. Although Portnoy 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. He left the band after being awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he met John Petrucci and John Myung and formed what would become Dream Theater.

Influences, Awards, and other Accomplishments

Portnoy says his biggest influences are Rush drummer Neil Peart and Frank Zappa. Other favorites include drummers Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, Simon Philips, John Bonham, Keith Moon, Ringo Starr and Bill Bruford and bands such as The Beatles, Queen, Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Jellyfish, Iron Maiden, U2 and Jane's Addiction. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he was also a fan of rap music, but his interest has since waned.

Portnoy has won 19 awards from Modern Drummer magazine, including "Best recorded performance" (5 times) and "Best Progressive Rock Drummer" (10 times in a row), and has been added to their Rock Drummer Hall of Fame.

He has also been the catalyst for founding several other progressive rock groups: TransAtlantic, Liquid Tension Experiment, and O.S.I..


Portnoy has used several kits throughout the years, all of which were built by Tama except for the Awake/A Change Of Seasons era kit, which was a Mapex. To date, he has used the following drum sets:

  • When Dream and Day Unite/Images & Words Kit - This Tama kit was bought originally by MP himself through working three jobs. It was used until the end of the Images and Words tour when MP got signed by Sabian and Mapex. Also this was the kit he used when he was with the band Intruder. Noticably being upgraded since that era. It should be noted that Images and Words was recorded with an electronically triggered snare drum at producer David Prater's insistence.
  • Awake kit - This kit was used on the world tour supporting the album Awake. It had two kick drums, one snare, six toms, two small timbales, and four octobans.
  • The Purple Monster - This was a Tama Starclassic kit which marked Portnoy's signing with Tama in the late '90s after repeated problems with Mapex. Used for the recording of Scenes For A Memory and the North and South American tours, it is so named because of its striking purple/white/purple fade finish. There also exists a Green Monster (for use in Europe) and a Red Monster (for Japan). It is similar to the "Awake" kit but features many more cymbals and two more octobans with a slightly different layout. This kit featured a snare drum with a foot-operated snare strainer mechanism which allowed for different snare drum sounds without having to use his hands to adjust it.
  • Liquid Tension Experiment kit - A comparatively modest kit used in his supergroup project Liquid Tension Experiment. This kit was unique in that it used a pair of small timbales where the two smallest toms would normally be. It was otherwise a normal "seven piece" rock kit with three toms (five if you count the timbales), and a single kick drum with a double pedal. It marks the first time Portnoy uses a floor tom on either side of the kit, with a 14" floor tom on the left and an 18" floor tom on the right. It is also the first time Portnoy used his Max cymbal line in the studio. Portnoy notes in his Liquid Drum Theater instructional video that the reason behind the smaller kit is that when Liquid Tension Experiment went into the studio to record the first album, The Purple Monster kit was still being shipped back from some shows they had played immediately prior in Brazil.
  • TransAtlantic kit - The kit used to record and tour behind the first TransAtlantic album was the same as the Liquid Tension Experiment kit, but with five regular toms. When recording and touring behind the second TransAtlantic album, Portnoy added his new Melody Master snare drums for the first time and some different cymbals including a set of custom made 15" hi-hats. The smaller Melody Master displaced the 14" floor tom, which was moved back to the right of the kit for the TransAtlantic recordings.
  • The Siamese Monster - Mike Portnoy's current kit is an amalgamation of two individial kits. The left side of the kit is laid out similarly to the Liquid Tension Experiment kit, with a floor tom on each side and three rack toms. The right side is laid out as a normal five piece kit but with the two rack toms reversed and the ride cymbal in front of the hi hats, which allows him to share some of the cymbals and toms between the two kits. It has two stools, and while is not capable of being played in its entirety by one person, Portnoy often invites other drummers to sit in on the unplayed half during shows. It is a predominantly black kit with Majesty symbols around each individual drum. There are three identical versions of this kit for use when touring different continents, the North American kit being the "featured" kit with purple markings as was the case with the Colored Monsters. It was built by Tama for the recording of the Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence album and tour.
  • The OSI kit - Portnoy used the small (right) side of his Siamese Monster kit for the recording of the Office of Strategic Influence album.
  • Yellow Matter Custard kit - A specially designed set for use in Mike's Beatles tribute band, Yellow Matter Custard. It is modelled on Ringo Starr's kit, and is quite simple compared with his Dream Theater kits.
  • Hammer Of The Gods kit - A John Bonham-replica kit that was used in Mike's Led Zeppelin tribute band. It has a transparent amber finish, and is always played while wearing the obligatory bowler hat.

Tama has marketed two different sized Mike Portnoy signature snare drums, known as "Melody Masters" (named after Melody, his daughter), since the late 1990s. The smaller of the two has a 12x5" steel shell and the larger has a 14x5.5" maple shell. Both snare models have a unique three way snare strainer mechanism.[1] (http://www.mikeportnoy.com/about/tama/?menu=about)

Sabian has marketed three different sized signature cymbal stacks, known as "Max Stax" (named after his son, Max). They consist of a hand hammered china kang-style cymbal on top of a splash (or crash) cymbal. Their sizes are 8/8", 10/10" and 12/14". Sabian also marketed 7, 9, and 11" "Max Splash" cymbals which have the same namesake.[2] (http://www.mikeportnoy.com/about/sabian/?menu=about)

Portnoy has endorsed Promark sticks since the early 1990s. His signature stick is the TX420N[3] (http://www.promark-stix.com/products/view.cfm?product_id=a2ec44af-233c-4175-9584-d27af4304f60). It is made of hickory with a white nylon tip and has purple print to match the Purple Monster's motif. The "420" in the model number, which is also printed on the sticks, is a reference to his birthday (and not a marijuana reference, as has been suggested). He holds his left stick upside down, presumably to get a louder sound out of the snare drum.


Mike and his wife Marlene live in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania with their daughter Melody Ruthandrea, son Max John, dog Bongo and cats E.T. and Cypress.

An avid collector of many things, Portnoy 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 (see YtseJam Records). His huge video collection includes favorite films such as 2001 - A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Jacob's Ladder and The Wall along with episodes of The Simpsons and memorable boxing matches.


"My father was a rock n' roll disc jockey, so I was always surrounded by music constantly. I had this huge record collection when I was real young and loved the Beatles and then later on Kiss. It was inevitable that I'd become a musician."

External link

Template:Dream Theaterde:Mike Portnoy fr:Mike Portnoy id:Mike Portnoy it:Mike Portnoy sv:Mike Portnoy


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)


  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Personal tools