The drumming virtuoso has left behind the baggage of running America's preeminent prog-rock institution for the simple pleasures of driving from the back seat. Anticlimactic as it may seem, it's all part of an obsessive artist's master plan.
It's a typical weekday for Mike Portnoy, at the moment resting up in a hotel room in North Hollywood. Not the resting part. We're talking about the luggage-toting, takeoutñeating, working-musician's lifestyle, which the 44-year-old drummer has honed to brutal efficiency.
The occasion is Masters Of Metal, an evening at L.A.'s Key Club in which Portnoy will bash along to classic head-banger cover songs while sharing the stage with other giants of metal and engage in a drum battle or two with Anthraxís Charlie Benante and Slayer's Dave Lombardo. It's the drummer's second Masters Of Metal appearance. With rehearsal in a few hours he will also take time to strike several hundred poses for the DRUM! cover photo shoot.
Really, though, the whole week in Los Angeles is a footnote in a globe-circling jaunt of special appearances, substitutions, and other drum-related activity that's earning Portnoy enough frequent-flyer miles to accompany Richard Branson to the moon and back. He'll play with no less than four bands in the ten-day span including a few one-off dates in Latin America for the Rock In Rio tour with underground prog-metal legends Fates Warning. "My head is ready to explode," he says. "You can't imagine the amount of music I'm holding in my head and trying to learn and remember. It's f__king insane."
Part 1 interview http://www.drummagazine.com/features/post/mike-portnoy-is-free-at-last1/P1/