Kids like to hit stuff.
When you’re the son of Mike Portnoy there are a lot of cool things around the home to bash besides the tried-and-tested upturned biscuit tin. So it was for Max Portnoy, who began taking drum lessons at age five. Now 16, his band Next To None are set to release their debut album A Light In The Dark. Produced by Mike, it’s inevitable that the record will be compared to Dad’s former outfit, Dream Theater. How does Max feel about that?
“I won’t deny it,” he freely admits, “there are certain songs that do have that style. But there are other influences. Slipknot are my favourite band; Lamb Of God are awesome. I think even if we played a completely different style people would still say there’s a Dream Theater influence.”
The album combines those contemporary influences with the typical hallmarks of progressive metal. Six of its nine tracks centre around a concept, while the music is technically complex. “We were trying out a bunch of different time signatures and feel changes. I even have a drum solo,” Max laughs.
Like any kid with a will to play music, Max formed the band at high school. “I knew Kris [Rank] and Ryland [Holland] from Spanish class in first grade,” he explains. “I’ve wanted to be a drummer my whole life and I persuaded them to get into music. They both started playing guitar. Thomas [Cuce] knew Ryland and we formed a covers band playing Judas Priest, The Beatles. I like the old stuff.” Like father, like son.
A Light In The Dark is out now via InsideOut