Mike Portnoy has revealed his depth of feeling for Neil Peart – and says he hasn’t missed a Rush tour since he became a fan in the early 1980s.
The ex-Dream Theater sticksman last week told how he’d become close friends with his Canadian counterpart, but added: “I don’t like to talk about it because he’s a very private person.”
Now Portnoy tells UCR: “I can’t possibly overstate how much Rush had an influence on me. From about 1981 until 1987 they were my gods. Neil was my god.
“He was a huge influence on my drumming – the size of the drum set, the odd time signatures, the progressive style. Everything about Rush was huge.”
He says the first time he saw them was on their Signals tour in 1982 and adds: “I’ve seen them on every tour since then. All these years later I’m still just as much of a fan and a supporter as I ever was. It’s amazing they’re now celebrating 40 years.”
Portnoy will replace late Twisted Sister drummer AJ Pero as the band prepare to end their touring career. Rush are gearing up to embark on what’s likely to be their final tour.