Mike Portnoy is an American drummer, best known as the former drummer and co-founder of progressive metal / band Dream Theater. He resigned from the band in 2010 after 25 years. Nowadays, Portnoy is known for many other bands and projects. He is a founding member of Transatlantic, a progressive rock “super-group” which also includes former Spock’s Beard keyboardist / vocalist Neal Morse. He is also a founding member of the bands Flying Colours and Winery Dogs. Portnoy has also recorded and/or toured with, among others, Adrenaline Mob, Overkill, G3 and Avenged Sevenfold. When I did this interview in June at Sweden Rock, Portnoy was on tour with the Winery Dogs and the legendary Twisted Sister with whom he has played as the tour drummer from May 2015 onward. There is always a lot going on in the world of Mike Portnoy, and here’s what the man had to tell us about his ongoing activities and immediatefuture plans.
INTERVIEW AND LIVE PICTURES BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJALA
Tobias Sammet is the man and the visionary behind Avantasia and Edguy. Tobias sat down with Metal-Rules.com in Helsinki to discuss the brand new Avantasia opus entitled GHOSTLIGHTS. Avatansia is best known for their bombastic and rock opera oriented metal offerings. The band has conquered thousands of fans all over the world and they’re now more popular than ever. GHOSTLIGHTS is the bands seventh studio album. This is yet another masterpiece by Avantasia offering a magnificent journey into the world of Tobias Sammet and his musical adventures. Here’s the summary of the discussion we had about the album creation process, Avantasia in the Eurovision contest, the special quests, and more, including the current state of Edguy. Read on!
September 19, 1985 was a historic day for all of us who work in the music business. That was the day that three musicians–Frank Zappa, John Denver and Twisted Sister singer DEE SNIDER–were called to testify at a Senate hearing instigated by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), who wanted to introduce a parental warning system that would label all albums containing “offensive material.” The system was to include letters identifying the type of objectionable content to be found in each album (e.g. O for occult themes, S for sex, D for drugs, V for violence, etc.), which resulted in the “Parental Advisory” sticker now found on new album releases with “questionable content.”
A New York native Joe Franco is a professional drummer and best known for his work with the band The Good Rats in the 70’s and later as a member of Twisted Sister. He has been a part of many Dee Snider’s post Twisted Sister projects including Widowmaker and a horror rock band Van Helsing’s Curse and has also toured and recorded with acts like Jack Bruce, Leslie West, Vinnie Moore, Blues Saraceno and Fiona. During the years he has played on numerous albums as a session musician and in 1984 he released a book “Double Bass Drumming”. Currently Franco is mainly working as a music producer in his own recording and post-production company called Beatstreet Productions in New York City. I visited him in New York in early November and had a chance to visit Beatstreet studio and discuss with the man himself about his current activities and of course about the old days including his Twisted Sister days. Read on…!
Trondheim Rock is annual rock event held, like the name suggests, in Trondheim, Norway. The festival has a tradition of having high quality performers outside of the mainstream and ongoing trends. The history of Trondheim Rock includes such artists as Def Leppard, Jon Lord, Kamelot, Whitesnake, Gary Moore, and Glenn Hughes amongst many others. This year’s edition of the event included three bands: re-united the Darkness, legendary U.S hard rockers Twisted Sister and Norwegian band TNT who now celebrate their 30th anniversary in their original hometown.
The Kotkan Meripäivät festival is organized in Kotka in July’s last weekend and it typically has an attendance of more than 200,000 visitors in four days. The festival is Finland’s second largest festival and it’s been held since 1962 onwards. As always, the event now includes a wide selection of performers for different target audiences. On Saturday there were performers like Joe Cocker and The Village People. The main event was held on Friday and it included such bands as legendary U.S. hard rockers Twisted Sister, Hardcore Superstar, the Michael Monroe band, and reformed Pelle Miljoona Oy which now had former Hanoi Rocks members Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa in their ranks.
Legendary glam/hard rock band Twisted Sister was originally formed in 1972 by guitarist Jay Jay French. In the beginning the band went through numerous line up changes. Eddie Ojeda joined their ranks in 1975 and one year later the band found its true leader Dee Snider who soon became the band’s dominant songwriter. Former Dictators bassist Mark (the Animal) Mendoza joined in 1978 and the band changed their style from glam rock to a more metallic hard rock. The band released their first single ‘Iï¿½ll Never Grow Up Now!’ via their own label TRS in 1981 but it wasnï¿½t until 1982 that they finally got their first deal from independent record company, Secret Records. At this point drummer A.J Pero completed the classic line-up. Later in the same year the band finally, after ten years, released their first studio album UNDER THE BLADE. The album became a surprise underground success and the band was soon signed by major company Atlantic Records. YOU CAN’T STOP ROCK N ROLL came out in 1983. With that album the the band got its first chart-flirting single but it wasnï¿½t until 1984 and STAY HUNGRY that the band hit the BIG time! With the help of such monster hits as "We’re Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" the album soon exceeded multi-platinum sales. Twisted Sister was at the top of their game. Unfortunately, the good times didnï¿½t last too long. The bands 1985 release COME OUT AND PLAY quickly slid off the charts and the band started to lose their media interest. A.J Pero left after the tour and he was replaced by veteran drummer Joe Franco. The band did its final attempt to return with another album LOVE IS FOR SUCKERS in 1987 but after very disappointing sales Twisted Sister wound up disintegrating shortly thereafter.
The classic line-up of Twisted Sister: Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark (the Animal) Mendoza and A.J Pero reformed in 2003 after a sixteen year non existence. Since then the band has since toured sporadically across the globe and though the band has not released any new original songs they have released a bunch of material including the heavy metal Christmas album TWISTED CHRISTMAS which came out in 2006. I had a chance to talk briefly with Jay Jay and Mark before the band’s show in Helsinki on the 12th of November and here are the results of that conversation.
INTERVIEW, REVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJï¿½Lï¿½
TWISTED SISTER Live in Club Teatria, Oulu FINLAND 07.05 2005
It?s been nineteen years since Twisted Sister last time played in Finland during their "heydays" in 1986. Then about a year later the Sisters broke up after very the unsuccessful "Love Is For Suckers" album and that was it ? Fortunately vocalist Dee Snider visited Finland in 1999 playing for sold out crown in Tavastia Club as a solo artist with his S.M.F band. When Twisted Sister "surprisingly" announced news about their re-union in 2002 rumors started to fly about their possible return to Finland which now finally came true when hockey player Janne Niinimaa asked them to play in the opening party for his new rock club Teatria in Oulu.