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"I can play the hardest songs while eating a tuna sandwich."

“I can play the hardest songs while eating a tuna sandwich.”

On a recent episode of Modern Drummer IG Live hosted by drummer Charlie Benante Anthrax, Mike Portnoy has revealed the most difficult composition to interpret in the discography of Dream theater.

The question : “Have you ever gotten lost during a concert? [à propos des setlists longues et compliquées de Dream Theater], Mike Portnoy replied: “No, believe it or not. I have this elephant memory where I don’t even think about those things. If I think about the song list, the parts, I’m going to panic and screw it up. But I just don’t think about it. “

“Also, in the Dream Theater days, I wrote the setlist and wrote a different setlist for each concert. At the same time, I was giving the other guys, the tech teams, a list of about 50 songs. “

“And then every night I would write a different setlist and send it to the band and the crew the day before the show. So it was a lot of work and we always had to be vigilant. “

“But like I said, luckily everything was integrated, and it was useful after Dream Theater, because I went from band to band and from tour to tour.”

“In the last ten years, I’ve played with three different bands over a weekend, a three-hour gig with The Neal Morse Band, then a gig with The Winery Dogs, then a gig with Evil sister, and everything had to be in its place. “

“Fortunately, I am lucky to have the memory of an elephant. And another part of the problem is that I play very spontaneously, so it was never like Neil Peart, where all his playing was precisely preset. “

“For me it always was: the structure is there, the rhythms are there, the grooves are there, but the fills were always spontaneous. Luckily, I didn’t have to remember all the nuances. “

About the hardest song

“The one who asks me a lot, yes, perhaps more than the difficulty, because I have never encountered anything difficult. Once you’ve spent so much time writing it, composing it, recording it, rehearsing it as a band, when you have to play it live, it’s always second nature to me. “

“So even our most difficult songs, like The Dance Of Eternity, when we’re on stage, I can play them while eating a tuna sandwich, I don’t have to think about that. So I would say it’s more about endurance. “

For example, The Glass Prison and This Dying Soul: these two songs, although they are on different albums, were written to eventually connect. I wrote this: five songs from five different albums that were supposed to be interconnected. “

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“But once, for example, when I did the Shattered Fortress tour a few years ago with the guys from hook, and that we played all these Dream Theater songs that I’ve never played together before: The Glass Prison and This Dying Soul, one is 12 minutes, the other 13 minutes, so we put them together and c. It’s a 25-minute round without a break. “

“It’s relentless, these are the heaviest songs we’ve written. So it wasn’t a challenge in terms of technical play, it was just a challenge in terms of stamina. And I watch what you do Charlie, it blows my mind. “

“I saw your live broadcast the other day and I saw you playing Skeletons In The Closet, I thought, ‘How the hell does he do that?’ I could never do that. And it’s the same with Max [Portnoy, son fils]Some of the things that Max plays with his band, I can’t do. “

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About his son Max, who is also a drummer.

“It was his choice. If he had wanted to be a plumber or an electrician, I would have supported him too. But I don’t think I wanted to do anything else! “

“He literally grew up sitting behind a drum set, the drum tech used to have a bowl of candy behind the drums for Max. So he would just sit there and eat candy and watch the concert, and type while I played! “

“I gave him every opportunity to do something else if he wanted to, but I think it was fun for him.”

Modern Drummer IG Live: Charlie Benante and Mike Portnoy:

Dream Theater: Scene Seven: I. The Dance of Eternity: