Drummer Mike Portnoy (SONS OF APOLLO, ex-DREAM THEATER) was recently interviewed by Chile's Video Volante. The full chat can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his recent detours away from progressive metal:
Mike: "Even though I made my name in progressive music with DREAM THEATER for twenty-five years, I could have gone down any road. When I went to Berklee, I met John Petrucci and John Myung and we formed DREAM THEATER because we wanted to do very progressive music — a lot of odd time signatures, long songs — but that was only one of my interests. I met them and we went down that road, but when I went to Berklee, I also was a big thrash metal fan. At that point, METALLICA was just coming out, and SLAYER and ANTHRAX and MEGADETH, so I could have went down that road. I was also a big classic rock fan — THE BEATLES, THE WHO, LED ZEPPELIN — so I could have went down that road, but I ended up going down the progressive rock road with DREAM THEATER. It's a difficult road, because it's for a very select audience — very long songs, very complex parts at times — but because it's such a select audience, they're also incredibly devoted, so that's why DREAM THEATER, over a long period of time, finally built up a big audience. When I left DREAM THEATER, that's when I wanted to do all these other styles. I do thrash metal with METAL ALLEGIANCE; I do classic rock with THE WINERY DOGS; I go out and play with TWISTED SISTER or AVENGED SEVENFOLD; so now I get to do all of these different things I like."
On his impressions of the "djent" scene:
Mike: "My son's band [NEXT TO NONE] is doing that sort of thing. They're kind of dabbling in the djent scene. It's a little bit like PERIPHERY, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, MESHUGGAH. I think that stuff is amazing. I think it's the next logical step for progressive music. It's taking everything that's heavy and making it heavier, and everything that's complex and making it even more complex. It's all about eight-string guitars and crazy double-bass drumming, so I have an appreciation for it. To me, it's part of the evolution of progressive music. I think it's more like prog for this generation."
On SHATTERED FORTRESS, in which he performs DREAM THEATER's "Twelve-Step Suite":
Mike: "It's kind of like closure. I don't plan on revisiting DREAM THEATER material; I haven't revisited DREAM THEATER material since I left the band; so this is kind of like a one-time thing for me and the fans to finally get to experience this."
SHATTERED FORTRESS just completed a South American tour and will venture to Australia for six shows in November.
Portnoy's new progressive metal band SONS OF APOLLO released its debut album, "Psychotic Symphony", via InsideOut Music on October 20. The group sees him rejoin forces with former DREAM THEATER keyboardist Derek Sherinian and his THE WINERY DOGS bandmate Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, TALAS, DAVID LEE ROTH), as well as guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (ex-GUNS N' ROSES) and singer Jeff Scott Soto (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, TALISMAN, JOURNEY).