Drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, THE WINERY DOGS, SONS OF APOLLO) was interviewed by Heavy New York at the Hall Of Heavy Metal History on Wednesday, January 23 at Marriott Delta Garden Grove in Anaheim, California. The annual Metal Hall Of Fame gala was hosted by television, radio personality and heavy metal champion Eddie Trunk, and featured appearances by heavy metal greats of today and years past.
Asked if hearing somebody take inspiration from him ever inspires him as a musician, Portnoy said: "Oh, absolutely. I'm still a fan. I'm still the 13-year-old kid listening to KISS records in my bedroom. So, every time I meet a fan, even just walking in here, I get it — I relate. I know what it's like to love an artist and a band and a musician, and when I see that I inspired or influenced a younger musician, to me, it's the ultimate compliment."
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 30 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
In the last nine years, Portnoy has recorded and toured with AVENGED SEVENFOLD, TWISTED SISTER, ADRENALINE MOB, METAL ALLEGIANCE, THE WINERY DOGS and THE NEAL MORSE BAND. In 2017 and 2018, he recorded and toured with a new band called SONS OF APOLLO, which includes vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, bassist Billy Sheehan, keyboardist Derek Sherinian and guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal.
Portnoy told the Dallas Observer that he doesn't categorize himself as a progressive rock guy.
"I never would want to be completely stereotyped into that category," he said. "I've always been way more than that. I've always been a metalhead through and through, from day one. Even before I was playing progressive music… If you look at everything I've done since DREAM THEATER, it's a huge, giant mix bag of everything."