Mike Portnoy talked about his drum heroes and the beginnings of his musical journey, saying on Rock City Radio Show Berlin:
“From day one [I wanted to be more than just a musician in the background]. As soon as I picked up a pair of drumsticks, it was because I saw Keith Moon in the movie ‘The Kids Are Alright.’
“I was already listening to The Who, I was already a fan of ‘Tommy’ and ‘Who’s Next’ and ‘Live at Leeds,’ but I hadn’t seen Keith with my own two eyes until that movie came out. And that was around the same age when I actually got my first drum kit.
“So I think right out of the gates, I wanted to be that kind of drummer, that kind of performer where you’re like a lead instrument. I wanted to be somebody that was engaging the audience and entertaining, and I never wanted to just be the guy in the background.
“I was always kind of a frontman stuck behind the drum set. I loved Keith Moon and I even love people like Lars Ulrich from Metallica. I mean, he’s not the greatest drummer, and he’ll be the first to admit it, but I totally respect his showmanship and his energy and his leadership qualities.
“I think I always wanted to be that kind of drummer.”
Portnoy also talked about his family life and how his busy touring schedule has affected his relationship with his wife, saying:
“I’m very fortunate. I’m with my wife now for almost 28 years. And my children are 18 and 20 and I’m fortunate to have not gone through a divorce and have a very, very successful marriage and a happy family. And that’s because right from the very beginning, I always included them in everything I did.
“There’s a lot of musicians that don’t include their families, and that’s when it becomes very difficult and that’s when marriages suffer. But I brought my kids on tour with me from the day they were born and I never drew that line in the sand to separate my career and my family; I always included them.
“And because of that, I’ve had a successful marriage and raised my children… And my wife – God bless her – has always been so supportive and understanding. And I think in our case, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
“I think if I was home all the time, we’d make each other crazy. Maybe we’d be divorced if I was always home. The fact that I’m always on the road has helped our marriage – that space and that time away from each other is good. It’s been healthy for us.”