Watch Mike Portnoy learning Tool's Pneuma – a drum track so complicated it "makes Dream Theater look like Weezer"

Drummer Mike Portnoy of Sons of Apollo performs at The Fillmore on January 26, 2020 in San Francisco, California.
(Image credit: Photo by Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic))

Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy attempted to learn Tool's epic track Pneuma as part of a drum challenge – and said it is so complicated that it makes his own band "look like Weezer".

Portnoy was taking part in the the popular Drumeo series which asks pro drummers to attempt to play material by other bands. Sometimes the participants play along with tracks that have had the drums removed, but Portnoy was able to hear the full song and was tasked with learning Tool drummer Danny Carey's parts.

Pneuma is a 12-minute song taken from Tool's latest album, 2019's Fear Inoculum.

In the video, which can be viewed below, Portnoy watches footage Carey and reads the sheet music to learn the song in 6 hours. Drumeo describes it as "the most difficult challenge we’ve ever given anyone".

Portnoy says: "This makes Dream Theater sound like fuckin’ Weezer. With all due respect to Weezer, I love Weezer. But this is crazy."

Portnoy returned to Dream Theater in 2023 following a 13-year absence. He announced in March that he had finished recording for the band's as-yet-untitled 16th album.

Portnoy co-founded Dream Theater (originally named Majesty) in 1985 with guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung, while the three were students at the Berklee College Of Music.

The drummer stayed with Dream Theater until 2010, when he left to pursue other projects. He was replaced by Mike Mangini.

When his return was announced last year, Portnoy said: "I am overwhelmed with joy to be returning home and reuniting with my brothers. There is so much shared history between us all…so many memories, so much music…to think we’re coming up on 40 years since this journey began!

"The idea of creating new music together is so exciting and I absolutely cannot wait to hit the road and get to play live for a whole new generation of fans that weren’t ever able to see this line-up before. There’s no place like home!"

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.