Mike Portnoy says he faced a delicate juggling act when he stepped into the late AJ Pero’s shoes in Twisted Sister.
As one of the most in-demand drummers in rock, Portnoy is no stranger to collaborating with groups other than his own. And he briefly joined Avenged Sevenfold in the wake of the death of their drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan, making this the second time he’s replaced a deceased sticksman.
And while he loves nothing more than showing off his chops on stage, he knew he had to respect the legacy of Pero – who died earlier this year – as he had with The Rev.
Portnoy tells Noize In The Attic: “I know how to be a professional and know how to do what is called for, depending on the gig I’m doing. I play in six different bands and I wear very different hats in all of them. I know when I’m supposed to be a leader, be a collaborator or be a hired gun, like I am with Twisted.
“I had a similar scenario when I filled in with Avenged Sevenfold, coming in with a drummer that had passed away and honouring and respecting what laid before me. As sad as it is to say, this is actually my second time filling in for a deceased drummer and I kind of know how to handle the situation.
“At the same time I want to be me. To pay respect to AJ and The Rev, but I also want to be me, but be me very respectfully. Normally my stage presence is very acrobatic and trying to steal the spotlight. But I know when to pull it back and what hat to wear. With Twisted, I had to be very respectful and serve a purpose.”
With Twisted Sister’s touring commitments finished for this year, Portnoy has time to concentrate on touring in support of his band The Winery Dog’s second album Hot Streak, which was released earlier this month. But he hopes to be back with Dee Snider and co on their farewell tour next year.
He adds: “They said they want me to stay on board and I would love to, it’s all going to be schedule permitting. I’m going to be out with The Winery Dogs all through next year but if there’s a way to make it work, and I could do both, I would love to see out the Twisted gig until the end. I love those guys, I grew up listening to them.”
Portnoy’s other supergroup, Metal Allegiance, issued their self-titled debut album in September.