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Inception Media

Interview with Mike Portnoy


Adrenaline Mob

Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: August 2011

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Brian Rademacher: Hey Mike, howís it going?

Mike Portnoy: Good, we just started rehearsals and had a great summer in Pennsylvania.

Brian Rademacher: How did ADRENALINE MOB actually get started?

Mike Portnoy: It began with Mike Orlando and Russell Allen; theyíve been working on material for at least a year now before I came into the picture. After my time with DREAM THEATER and AVENGED SEVENFOLD came to an end I was quote/unquote available. Russell reached out to me and asked would I be interested in checking out this music he and this guy Mike, who I didnít know at the time, were working on. Literally 30 seconds after hearing the first song I was onboard and I knew I was totally into it.

Brian Rademacher: What was it like at the first rehearsal?

Mike Portnoy: The first rehearsal was actually after the album was finished. When I came on board Mike and Russell had these demos, then I went into the studio and did my drums then we bought Paul DiLeo and Rich Ward into the band later so everyone tracked the album bit by bit and the first time all five of us got together and laid a track was after the album was done. We decided to do this one-off unveiling of the band in New York City back in June. So the band and the album and the chemistry were already in place before we played a single note together.

Brian Rademacher: Yeah, we were at that show and posted a review by our writer Herb Newman.

Brian Rademacher: Iím hearing a lot of fans canít find the physical CD?

Mike Portnoy: You can get it off my website and we will have it at the shows. Basically this is something we are putting out ourselves just to get it out immediately because we are touring with GODSMACK and doing some of our own shows. We didnít want to wait for the full album which will come out next year. This is just a temporary setting to get this music out. It was not to be at the mercy of the way labels work with a three to four month set-up. We didnít want to wait; we wanted the people

Brian Rademacher: Do you feel the way to go now is downloads?

Mike Portnoy: I do, I think in a perfect world you would have both but I like collecting myself. I remember the last album with DREAM THEATER and went in a sat with the heads at roadrunner and I pitched them desperately "Lets release the album now" letís put it out and make available for download we can still sell a physical CD with a special edition and a bonus disc. Three months down the road you can still do your set up but letís get it out for the fans now and I desperately pitched it, they werenít ready to make the plunge. I guess we are using that mentally now with the ADRENALINE MOB release. I think to have an album finished and have to wait three or four months to hear it. In todayís world people get their information here and now in real time. It has its negative side but it also has itís positive sides. I feel music is meant to be heard immediately. As a fan I download music all the time because if I am sitting in a hotel in Madison, WI early in the morning and Iím reading about a band I want to be able to check it out right there and then. I donít want to wait until my next day off or to go to a music store if I can even find one. I still collect CDís because Iím a collector.

Brian Rademacher: That actually helps us because a label will say the physical CD will not be out for three or four months but we can send you the download. We have writers on our staff that prefer the physical CD because they say the sound is different but for me I want the physical CD too because Iím a collector but for a review I think downloads are perfectly fine. Just send me the CD when it comes out, labels are happy with that.

Mike Portnoy: The reality of it is I listen to 99.9 percent of my music on my iPod anyway, whether Iím traveling in my car but I will buy the physical CD because Iím a collector but that is just so I have it in my collection. I canít remember the last time I went to my wall where I have my collection and pulled out a CD and popped it in. I get the CD put it into my iPod and listen to it that way.

Brian Rademacher: What do you think about Vinyl trying to make a comeback now?

Mike Portnoy: I think itís great if youíre a collector. I have a big vinyl collection and I love being able to look at the artwork on a twelve by twelve layout rather than a thumbnail the way artwork has been reduced to on iPod and iTunes. I like the full packaging of vinyl and its nostalgic dropping the needle down and hearing the scratches as the music plays. As a collector Iím into it.

Brian Rademacher: Since the cover picture of the EP is in silhouette was that because there really wasnít a cover ready or was that the actual cover?

Mike Portnoy: Yeah thatís the cover, itís just an EP. Itís really not import, itís about the music.

Brian Rademacher: What was the feeling like the first time you were on a cover of a magazine?

Mike Portnoy: Itís been so long I guess my first cover must have been twenty years ago. I think it was called Drum Magazine. Iíve been on the cover four times now. Itís exciting, the first time I was on the cover of Modern Drummer it was a really life goal of my career. Itís awesome and a great feeling of accomplishment and gratitude.

Brian Rademacher: Comparing the Industry today vs. back in the day.

Mike Portnoy: Oh my God, itís a world different. When I signed my first record deal back in 1988 it was completely different. Everything was the success of a band, it was based on MTV play and that is what makes or breaks a band. Our first album we didnít do a video and we were completely buried and fell right into oblivion immediately. A couple years later we did our second record with Atco and that was a seven album deal that lasted fifteen years of our career and that album we did a video and it was plastered all over MTV and the radio and we were on tour all over the world and that made the biggest difference. Back then you sold records; a band like DREAM THEATER back in 1992 sold a half million records. Nowadays the Madonnaís and Lady GaGaís arenít even selling like DREAM THEATER used to. I recently saw this quote so I am paraphrasing someone elseís quote, it was a funny thing and very true "Back in the old days there were hundreds of bands selling millions of records nowadays there are millions of bands selling hundred of records." Itís the truth, the industry has so much music and so many bands itís hard for any of them to get any sales like they used to. Itís a different world right now.

Brian Rademacher: Compare touring or playing today as vs. back in the day.

Mike Portnoy: Touring now, as back then, is crucial to a band breaking especially if youíre a band that doesnít get radio airplay as DREAM THEATER was for all the years we did it. We couldnít rely on radio airplay. We did have a minor hit twenty years ago other than that itís all about touring. Itís still like that in this day and age, especially financially. Bands now arenít selling CDís and product, itís all about getting on the road, concert tickets and merchandise and thatís how bands make a living.

Brian Rademacher: What are some of the things you would ask for on your tour rider?

Mike Portnoy: (laughing) We were never like VAN HALEN was with a bowl of M&Mís with all the brown ones taken out. We didnít ask for much, maybe a bowl filled with piranha, a fishing rod and some blindfolds!

Brian Rademacher: Whatís going on with the project you were doing with John Sykes?

Mike Portnoy: John and I have this band going we have an album worth of stuff ready to go and we start recording in the fall. People should look for that next year.

Brian Rademacher: Being in a band and on the road so much do you feel you missed anything from your home life?

Mike Portnoy: No, because myself and the guys in DREAM THEATER always put an emphasis on the importance of family. So we always made sure our families were able to join us on tour whenever possible and we always paced the tours to fit the family life and I feel thatís the way to have the best of both worlds.

Brian Rademacher: Has ADRENALINE MOB set any kind of goal?

Mike Portnoy: Well ADRENALINE MOB is a very different beast from what me and Russell had/have with DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X. If anyone is expecting to hear music anything like DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X I think theyíre going to be in for a shock as this is a complete different animal. This is not progressive at all this is not about long epic songs. This is about awesome cool riffs, grooves and stuff you can really bounce to very much like a modern day PANTERA. Our goal is to take this out around the world and I think weíre very much a live act and the energy on stage with the five of us is insane. You have five people on stage that are complete performers and the energy on stage is infectious. We want to tour as much as we can.

Brian Rademacher: When is the full length CD expected to be release?

Mike Portnoy: I would expect it out the beginning of next year. If we can get it out sooner it will be done.

Brian Rademacher: Mike, again congratulations on the new EP.

Mike Portnoy: Thank you man later.


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