Drummer Mike Portnoy (THE WINERY DOGS, DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ADRENALINE MOB) spoke to Loudwire about his recently announced metal project in which he is collaborating with a couple of other well-known musicians — rumored to be Alex Skolnick (TESTAMENT) and David Ellefson (MEGADETH).
He said (see video below): "I still have to be cryptic, because we haven't come out with a formal announcement. But I've kind of been hinting at what's going on and the people I'm working with."
He continued: "There's this misconception that it's my metal project, which it's not. This is something that I am working in equal collaboration with another bass player and another guitar player. It's our project. And if you've done your Twitter detective work, you know who's in it with me. But we're still not ready to come out with an official announcement, but it is gonna be happening really, really soon."
Portnoy added: "It's a great, great metal album that the three of us have written and recorded together, and we're gonna have lots of various other friends and special guests joining us on it. And more info to come, but, for me, it's a great, great metal outlet, because… Since I left DREAM THEATER, I've had prog bands and classic rock bands and alternative things, but I haven't had a true, true thrash metal-oriented outlet — other than the METAL ALLEGIANCE shows that I've done, but that's live. So, yeah, it's exciting for me."
Mike also talked about involvement with METAL ALLEGIANCE — the all-star metal band consisting of a rotating cast of musicians, including members of PANTERA, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, SEPULTURA, MASTODON and more — which debuted on MOTÖRHEAD's Motörboat cruise last year, and performed at this year's NAMM show and on the ShipRocked cruise.
"To me, METAL ALLEGIANCE is… it's the ultimate hang," he said. "And, for me, it's awesome, because I'm really the only guy on the roster that's not normally in a thrash or metal band; I come from a kind of different world. So, on the outside, it may look weird that I do this, but I've always been the biggest metal fan through and through. I grew up listening to the same stuff as all these guys — we all grew up listening to [BLACK] SABBATH and [JUDAS] PRIEST and [IRON] MAIDEN and KISS and AC/DC and MOTÖRHEAD — so I have the same musical background as these guys. And once all the guys in METAL ALLEGIANCE were coming up — in MEGADETH and SLAYER and PANTERA and ANTHRAX — I was coming up around the same time as well, just in a different genre. But these guys were always my friends; I was always hanging out with the ANTHRAX guys and the PANTERA guys… whatever. I felt a close kinship to all the guys in this thrash world, and they became my friends. So, with METAL ALLEGIANCE, for me, it's a natural thing to be involved with these guys. All these guys are great guys, great friends. We love jamming together, and the whole METAL ALLEGIANCE thing is just… You know, we're fans. When we're up on stage playing this stuff, we're as much fans as the people on the other side, in the audience. We're on the side of the stage headbanging and cheering everybody on and having a good time. So that's what it's about: it's just metal by metal guys who are still metal fans."
Portnoy previously told MikePortnoyWarriors.com about his new metal project: "It's pretty obvious that it's stemming from my METAL ALLEGIANCE experience, and it's all original music. For me, I'm getting to do the full-blown, double-bass shredding drumming that I've only been able to hint at with DREAM THEATER or with AVENGED or with ADRENALINE MOB. So now it's a full-blown album. And the whole album is not thrash. I mean, this album is really kind of the history of metal; there's moments that are early metal, like very [BLACK] SABBATH-esque, and then there's moments that are full-on mid-'80s thrash — EXODUS, SLAYER, early METALLICA, 'Kill 'Em All' METALLICA — so there's a good chunk that's very, very much like that. And then there's moments that get more into '90s type of ALICE IN CHAINS sort of stuff. So it's almost a good history-of-metal sort of album. But I definitely have gotten my metal chops in. It's been fun. It's been really, really cool. I can't wait for people to hear this album."