Mike Portnoy

Michael Stephen Portnoy[1] (born April 20, 1967) is an American musician who is primarily known as the former drummer, backing vocalist, and a co-founder of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. In September 2010, Portnoy announced his departure from Dream Theater after 25 years, with Mike Mangini taking his place as drummer of the band. Since his departure Portnoy has remained active, with a variety of bands and projects, including Adrenaline Mob, Transatlantic, Yellow Matter Custard, Flying Colors, The Winery Dogs, Liquid Tension Experiment, Metal Allegiance, Sons of Apollo, the Neal Morse Band and BPMD.

Mike Portnoy
Portnoy in 2017
Portnoy in 2017
Background information
Birth nameMichael Stephen Portnoy
Born (1967-04-20) April 20, 1967 (age 55)
Long Beach, New York, U.S.
GenresProgressive metal, heavy metal, progressive rock, hard rock, blues rock
InstrumentsDrums, percussion
Years active1984–present
Member of
Formerly of

Early lifeEdit

Portnoy was born April 20, 1967, and raised on Long Island in Long Beach, New York.[2] His father, Howard Portnoy (1940–2009), worked as a DJ at a local radio station. Mike and his father later moved to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, to work at KRML radio station after watching the 1971 film Play Misty for Me.[3] His mother died on November 16, 1984, when the private plane she was riding in, with her boyfriend, crashed off the Atlantic City coastline.[4]

Portnoy's father's job helped him gain an appreciation for music at an early age particularly, as Portnoy has pointed out, because he had access to his father's collection of LPs. He developed a preference for bands including Rush, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Iron Maiden, and the Beatles, among many others. Portnoy claims to be self-taught as a drummer, though he did take music theory classes in high school. During that period he began playing in local bands, two of which (Rising Power and Inner Sanctum) recorded and released independent albums.


Dream Theater: 1985–2010Edit

Portnoy in 2007

He left Inner Sanctum (his last high school band) after being awarded a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In university, he met John Petrucci and John Myung. They formed a band, initially taking the name "Majesty" before changing their name to Dream Theater. They left Berklee soon after.[5]

Known for his technical skill as a drummer in Dream Theater, Portnoy has won 30 awards from the Modern Drummer magazine.[6] He co-produced six Dream Theater albums with guitarist John Petrucci, starting from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory through Black Clouds and Silver Linings and was one of the main songwriters during his tenure. He is the second youngest person (after Neil Peart) to be inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, at 37 years of age.

In the spring of 2010, Portnoy filled in for Avenged Sevenfold's former drummer, Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, who died during the production of the band's fifth album Nightmare. On May 5, 2010, Portnoy released a statement on his status with Avenged Sevenfold on their official website, concluding his working relationship with the band.[7]

On September 8, 2010, Portnoy announced he would be leaving Dream Theater. The band hired Mike Mangini to take his place after inviting and holding auditions with seven "world-class" drummers.[8]

Avenged Sevenfold chose not to continue working with Portnoy after the Nightmare tour was completed, in part due to the significant controversy surrounding his departure from Dream Theater.[9][10] Following this, Portnoy announced that he asked to return to Dream Theater, but was turned down by their lawyer[11] as the band had already brought Mangini fully onboard and he had left his tenured teaching position at Berklee College of Music to join the band.[12]

Former and current projects: 1997–presentEdit

Portnoy is known for his many side projects and tribute bands. He is a founding member of Liquid Tension Experiment, an instrumental progressive rock band featuring fellow Dream Theater members John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess along with bassist Tony Levin. He is also a founding member of Transatlantic, a progressive rock "super-group" featuring former Spock's Beard keyboardist/vocalist Neal Morse, Flower Kings guitarist Roine Stolt and Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas. Outside of Transatlantic, Portnoy has worked with Neal Morse extensively, appearing on most of his solo albums. He is a member of The Neal Morse Band, featuring guitarist/vocalist Eric Gillette, bassist Randy George, and 2nd keyboardist/vocalist Bill Hubauer. Portnoy has also recorded and/or toured/performed live with OSI, Hail!, Stone Sour, Fates Warning, Overkill and G3. Over the years, Portnoy has created tribute bands to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and the Who.[13]

After his departure from Dream Theater, Portnoy formed several new bands, starting with Adrenaline Mob, a traditional heavy metal/hard rock band with singer Russell Allen (of Symphony X) and guitarist Mike Orlando.[14] On June 4, 2013, however, Portnoy announced his departure from Adrenaline Mob, citing scheduling conflicts.[15]

Portnoy is a founding member of Flying Colors, a progressive rock band also featuring Steve Morse, Neal Morse, Dave LaRue, and Casey McPherson.

He also founded The Winery Dogs, a power trio also featuring bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big) and guitarist Richie Kotzen (formerly of Mr. Big and Poison); Sons of Apollo, a progressive metal supergroup also featuring Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, Jeff Scott Soto and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal; Metal Allegiance, a thrash metal/groove metal band also featuring Mark Menghi, David Ellefson (Megadeth) and Alex Skolnick (Testament); and BPMD, a supergroup/cover band also featuring Menghi, Phil Demmel (Vio-lence) and Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (Overkill). He is also a member of PSMS, with Tony Macalpine, Billy Sheehan and Derek Sherinian.

Artistry and influencesEdit

Portnoy performing in 2014

In the April 2001 edition of Modern Drummer and Portnoy's website, he names Neil Peart, Carl Palmer, Bill Bruford, Terry Bozzio, Billy Cobham, Alan White, Stewart Copeland, Phil Collins, Chester Thompson, Simon Phillips, Nick D'Virgilio, Andy Sturmer, Dave Lombardo, Jon Fishman, Vinnie Colaiuta, Peter Criss, Ringo Starr, Tommy Lee, John Bonham, Lars Ulrich and Keith Moon as influences.[16]

Portnoy played bass when Dream Theater performed as the fictitious band Nightmare Cinema. Before live performances of "Trial of Tears", he would sometimes switch instruments with John Petrucci and play a fragment of "Eruption" by Van Halen. In Nightmare Cinema, he went by the stage name "Max Del Fuvio".[citation needed]

Portnoy played bass guitar and xylophone during a song on Liquid Tension Experiment 2. He has also contributed lead and harmony vocals to numerous projects.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

Portnoy and his wife Marlene (née Apuzzo) live in Upper Saucon Township in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania with their children, Melody Ruthandrea and Max John. Marlene used to be a guitarist in the all-female band Meanstreak, and two of the other members, guitarist Rena Sands and bassist Lisa Martens, are married to Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung, respectively.

Max Portnoy, like his father Mike, is a drummer. His band Next to None opened for Adrenaline Mob in Atlanta on April 6, 2013.[17] As of December 26, 2017, Max is playing drums in his new band Tallah.[18] With a post he published on his official Instagram account in October 14th, he revealed that he is the new drummer of the band Code Orange[20], too.

Portnoy is a recovering alcoholic and has openly talked about it. The five-song set Twelve-step Suite deals with his experience of alcoholism. He quit drinking in April 2000 after the final show on Dream Theater's Scenes from a Memory tour.[19]


Dream Theater
Liquid Tension Experiment
Liquid Trio Experiment
Avenged Sevenfold
Neal Morse
The Neal Morse Band
Flying Colors
John Petrucci
Adrenaline Mob
Metal Allegiance
  • Metal Allegiance (2015)
  • Fallen Heroes (2016)
  • Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty (2018)
Sons of Apollo
The Winery Dogs
John Arch
Between the Buried and Me


  1. ^ Da Silva, George Batista (October 3, 2017). Nomes Batismais. Clube de Autores.
  2. ^ Portnoy, Mike (2009). "The Mike Portnoy Official Website/biography". Mikeportnoy.com. Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". YouTube. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved November 24, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Portnoy, Mike (June 30, 2015). "PLEASE TAKE 2 MINUTES TO READ THIS POST….IT JUST MAY CHANGE YOUR LIFE!". Mike Portnoy's official Facebook page. Facebook. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Reesman, Bryan. "An Interview with Twisted Sister: The Fire Still Burns". www.theaquarian.com. Arts Weekly, Inc. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  6. ^ "MIKE PORTNOY Wins 30th Modern Drummer Readers Poll Award - "I Am Beyond Grateful, Appreciative And Humbled"". Bravewords.com. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  7. ^ "MIKE PORTNOY WILL BE DRUMMING WITH A7X". Avenged Sevenfold. July 31, 2010. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  8. ^ "It's Official: MIKE MANGINI Is New DREAM THEATER Drummer". BlabberMouth.net. April 29, 2011.
  9. ^ Mike Portnoy (December 16, 2010). "Mike Portnoy Confirms, 'My Time With Avenged Sevenfold Has Come To An End.'". Deathbat News.
  10. ^ Mike Portnoy - Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?, retrieved August 26, 2021
  11. ^ "Mike Portnoy Told He Can't Come Back To Dream Theater". Anthonybest.com. December 20, 2010. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  12. ^ "Interview: Dream Theater's John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess on the band's future". musicradar.com. May 11, 2011.
  13. ^ "Amazing Journey - Paul Gilbert/Mike Portnoy/Billy Sheehan/Gary Cherone - Young Man Blues". youtube.com. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  14. ^ "MIKE PORTNOY, RUSSELL ALLEN, RICH WARD, MIKE ORLANDO Join Forces In ADRENALINE MOB". Archived from the original on June 19, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  15. ^ "DRUMMER MIKE PORTNOY LEAVES ADRENALINE MOB". eddietrunk.com. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  16. ^ "Mike Portnoy.com The Official Website". Mikeportnoy.com. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  17. ^ "MIKE PORTNOY's Son's Band NEXT TO NONE Supports ADRENALINE MOB In Atlanta; Video Available". Bravewords.com. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  18. ^ Portnoy, Max (December 26, 2017). "My new band @TallahBand will be playing @saintvitusbar in Brooklyn, New York, January 7th for our first show ever! COME HANG OUT!pic.twitter.com/XgNpZHMjaL". Twitter.com.
  19. ^ Graham Hartmann (June 29, 2017). "Mike Portnoy on Battling Alcoholism: Doctors Told Me I Wouldn't Live to See 40 Years Old". LoudWire.com. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  20. ^ Owen, Matt (June 25, 2021). "Between The Buried And Me announce new album Colors II, recruit Mike Portnoy for thunderous lead single, Fix the Error". guitarworld. Retrieved August 30, 2021.

External linksEdit