Metal Insider recently spoke with Mike Portnoy and the two touched upon his experience with Avenged Sevenfold bring “refreshing,” his experience playing with the band, being with them temporarily and how he didn’t want to cut off his fan base while playing with them.
Did you want to do something that, for lack of a better term, was simpler in terms of drumming?
– Yeah, after my experience with Avenged Sevenfold, I think I was really looking for something in that vein. I did the Uproar Tour with them and we were out with Disturbed, Stone Sour and Hellyeah. And I really enjoyed that environment and that type of music that was rooted in riffs and big bouncy grooves and song oriented writing. It was a good time and fun, and I didn’t have to think so much. Not that there is anything wrong with thinking, I made a great career out of that, and I still enjoy complex music. But every once in a while you need a break and you need something new and refreshing. That experience with Avenged Sevenfold was refreshing for me, and after that experience I really wanted something in that vein. So when I heard the Adrenaline Mob songs, it was exactly the right music at the right time for what I was looking for.
Is there anything else you got out of playing with Avenged Sevenfold?
– I just enjoyed the experience. Like I just said, it was fun. I didn’t have to make any decision to control anything creatively. I was basically there just to play drums and help those guys get back on their feet. But the experience was a good time and I think we served as bridges for each other. I think I served as a bridge to help them get back on their feet, to get them where they needed to go with a new, younger unknown drummer and they served as a bridge for me to get to where I needed to go to get to this next chapter in my career. So I think we helped each other to get to where we needed to go and grew from the experience.
So you always had it viewed it as a temporary thing?
– Yeah, I think all along my purpose was to help them get back on the road and pay tribute to The Rev, and that’s all it was ever going to be. I think once I left Dream Theater, the whole thing became very side tracked. I think the press and the media blew everything up and made the whole thing about me. It was never supposed to be about me and I never intended for it to be about me. I was always there to help them and pay tribute to Jimmy and then move on. I was never joining the band, that was never the intention. Once all the controversy and drama surrounding Dream Theater came up, it was obvious that we all just needed to move on and get back on focus to what the original intention was all along.
And you’ve always been very hand-on with communicating with fans, even in the pre-Facebook and Twitter days. Has that been important to you from the beginning?
– Yeah, it’s been crucial to me, even in the very, very early days in the mid-eighties when Dream Theater was still Majesty. [….] I’ve always been very hands on with that. And now in the age of social media with Facebook and Twitter, I think it’s an incredibly valuable tool keeping in touch with the fans, hearing what they have to say and keeping them informed. I’ve always been about that and that’s not going to change now even though I’m not in Dream Theater. I will still apply that mentality and that personality to everything I do.
But it’s not like it hasn’t hurt me. It’s been a great thing because I’m very in touch with the fans and I can keep them involved day to day. But it has hurt me in a way because I am so open with the fans a lot of times, things I say get blown up and taken to other places, other websites, that try and sensationalize everything and blow things up and try and make mountains out of mole hills. And all I’m doing is just trying to stay in touch with the fans. I know with Avenged Sevenfold, they didn’t like the social media. Once I was touring with them I wasn’t going to just cut off my fan base because I was playing in a band that wasn’t very open. I needed to still have that open relationship with the fans. So even when I was with Avenged, I needed to have that outlet and that relationship with the fans, I wasn’t going to just cut them off. I know once everything went down with DT and I was still trying to be open with the fans and still trying to explain things, the media just took it and blew it up to such ridiculous proportions. It went places where it really didn’t need to go, but all I was doing was what I’ve always done. Trying to be very open and straight forward and no bullshit, no strings attached with the fans. I’ve always valued that relationship and that’s something that’s never going to change.
Thanks Jonathan for sending this in.