Legendary Drummer Mike Portnoy Plays His Favorite Drum Intros

Everyone has to start somewhere. Even great drummers like Mike Portnoy of The Winery Dogs, today one of the most respected drummers in metal and hard rock, has gone to great lengths to study the mastery of his craft. I had to. In this installment of his Gear Factor, Portnoy takes a look at the mentors who helped shape his playing style, and introduces him to the best (and his favorite) drum intro of all time.

Where did it all start for Portnoy? He credits Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and John Bonham to his first three influences, but Led Zeppelin is the man behind all the drum intros. I admit it had the most classic intro of all. He then plays Led Zep’s favorite songs one after another, including “Good Times Bad Times,” “Rock and Roll,” and “When the Levee Breaks.”

“John Bonham was the first drum hero with all the cool cool drum intros. He was the man. He was the master of the groove,” says Portnoy.

From there it was a quick jump into progressive music where Neil Peart of Rush caught his attention. “It was all about Neil Partism when I brushed my teeth, that’s how I learned to play big drum kits and progressive music, play weird time signatures, and over the years Neil was my biggest drum hero for a while,” says Portnoy, before rocking out to three classic Rush tracks.

Portnoy’s familiarity with heavy music took us down the metal rabbit hole of his greatest influences. We get the intro from Iron Maiden, Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, King Diamond and Twisted Sister, which Portnoy played with after the death of Twisted Sister drummer AJ Perro.

Finally, it’s time for our drummer to take us on a journey of the material he played. He shared how the Sevenfold song came to life and left us with something special from The Winery Dogs’ latest album. Winery Dogs IIIexplained how the song “Gaslight” was formed from one of his drum parts.

Thanks to Mike Portnoy of The Winery Dogs for the interview. Here or here he can get The Winery Dogs III album. And catch the band on tour in North America, South America, and Europe through late June.

Winery Dogs’ Mike Portnoy Plays Favorite Drum Intros

66 Greatest Hard Rock + Metal Drummers Of All Time

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