Mike Portnoy: Why I Got My Son a Drum Teacher Instead of Giving Him Lessons Myself

Mike Portnoy discussed the musical journey of his 18-year-old son Max Portnoy on a “Born to Drum” episode on Sabian Vault  in celebration of Father’s Day. Read below what he said and also watch the whole interview in a video below:

When he was two years old, I got him and Melody – my daughter – a small Tama drum set. I just put it in the house, and whoever gravitated towards it – gravitated towards it. We didn’t push either of them to become artists. I think if Max chose to be an electrician or a doctor or a lawyer, I’d support that as well. I think he naturally took to the drums. Even when he was super, super young, it was obvious that he had a natural ability. A lot of people think that I taught Max, but that’s actually not the case. Yes, he grew up touring with me and watching me onstage and I guess some of that has rubbed off on him. But, I gotta give a lot of credit to his teacher [Todd]. I think it was important for him to go to somebody else. A) I’m not a teacher. I’m a drummer, but I don’t necessarily think in teaching terms and B) I’m not home consistently. I think it’s important for a young developing drummer to have consistent lessons.”

He  continued: “I couldn’t be prouder. It’s one thing for me to achieve what I did, but it’s a whole other level of pride when you see your son doing it. Like last year, he won the Best Drummer of 2015 in Rhythm Magazine. That beat any of my thirty Modern Drummer awards in my book! It was such a feeling of pride!

Max said about the whole thing:

My dad’s been a huge inspiration. I grew up on the road watching him play with Dream Theater and all these other bands. Just watching him and seeing how a popular band works – it was pretty inspiring for me, it’s what got me to want to do it myself.