Did Portnoy at all make any suggestions as far as the creative aspect of it or did he do pretty much exactly what you guys told him to?
He was pretty much very cool with about it. He said “yeah, I’m your vessel. We’ll keep going until it’s something that you like.” That’s very much what the process was with the drum tracks. A lot of times we’d give a very vague description of something. “Okay, at this part we want you to do a little cymbal work.” That was where he would go “okay, I’ll give you a few different things and you choose which one you like best.” That was very much the process of going through the drums which I think was very cool.
Looking back on it now, at the time we were still in the very early stages of grieving and stuff. I think making this record was very therapeutic for that — going through the drum tracks and everything, looking back on it and working with Mike Portnoy (who we all grew up listening to) it was a pretty cool thing. It was bittersweet.
Were there other guys that you considered?
Yeah, there are a lot of people who came out to Jimmy’s funeral and everything — Vinnie Paul and Brooks Wackerman and stuff like that. They had offered, and we just kind of felt that Mike Portnoy stylistically had a close fit to Jimmy’s style. It kind of worked out that way that he was going to be the better fit for this record. It was really cool because there were a lot of other people like Vinnie Paul that came out with “we’ll help you out in any way that we can.” That was really cool as well.