On Saturday, June 23, Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, SONS OF APOLLO, THE WINERY DOGS) made an appearance on Eddie Trunk's SiriusXM tribute show to Vinnie Paul Abbott, who died one day earlier at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 54.
Speaking about the former PANTERA drummer's technical ability, Mike said: "He was always awesome. You had the first wave of the thrash drummers — you had Dave Lombardo [SLAYER], Charlie Benante [ANTHRAX], Lars Ulrich [METALLICA]. But then came Vinnie. And Vinnie was the next level, the next generation. And I consider Mikkey Dee with the stuff he did with KING DIAMOND as well. 'Vulgar Display [Of Power]' and 'Far Beyond Driven', when those albums came out, the drumming was… that was the benchmark.
"Back in the early days, [Vinnie and I] used to talk drumming and stuff like that, and I remember talking to him about how he got those kick-drum sounds," Mike continued. "And he used to take these… His kick-drum pedals were wooden mallets and he would take silver dollars and tape 'em to his drum heads to get that really clicky kick-drum sound.
"If you listen to the drumming on 'Becoming', that was the benchmark of double-bass drumming at that stage," he said. "It started with 'Fast As A Shark' [ACCEPT] and MOTÖRHEAD's 'Overkill', but then 'Becoming' was the next level that you had to strive for."
Portnoy went on to say that "Vinnie was a big part of the production" of the early PANTERA albums. "Him and Dime [PANTERA guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott] co-produced with Terry [Date]. So he was very into that stuff — they were done at his studios. And he was very into that — it was another thing that he was really good at that you forget about. You just think about the drumming and the partying, but he was also really behind the PANTERA production."
Mike previously credited PANTERA for "carrying metal through the rest of the '90s into the new millennium" following the rise of the Seattle grunge scene.
Vinnie Paul was most recently in the band HELLYEAH alongside MUDVAYNE vocalist Chad Gray and NOTHINGFACE guitarist Tom Maxwell.
Vinnie Paul's body has been turned over to the medical examiner to determine a cause of death, and after that, he will be flown back to his home state of Texas to be buried between his mother and brother.