In a recent Cameo video requested by Sobre La Dosis, former DREAM THEATER and current THE WINERY DOGS drummer Mike Portnoy was asked to name his favorite decade for heavy metal: the 1980s or the 1990s. He responded (as transcribed by Phoosi.com): “Well, for metal, I would have to say the ’80s, ’cause the ’90s started to go downhill. Once grunge came around, the ’90s… Really, the only thing going for metal, for me at least, in the ’90s was PANTERA, SEPULTURA and MACHINE HEAD; those were the only new bands, really, doing metal. All of the other great metal bands of the ’90s all came around in the ’80s. So for me, the ’80s, we got METALLICA, ANTHRAX, SLAYER, OVERKILL, EXODUS, MEGADETH… That was all the thrash scene, and then all the early ’80s stuff, you had RAINBOW and AC/DC and ACCEPT and MOTÖRHEAD and [BLACK] SABBATH and [JUDAS] PRIEST and [IRON] MAIDEN. So I think the ’80s were definitely the stronger decade of the two.”
Back in July 2018, Portnoy touched upon how the rise of grunge in the early 1990s forced most hard rock bands off the radio and MTV, with album and tour sales plummeting, while speaking to Metal Wani about the passing of PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott. At the time, he said: “I think [PANTERA] were the perfect band that was needed in the metal world around ’91, ’92, because pretty much the ‘Big Four’ were kind of knocked out of style by grunge. SLAYER, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX, METALLICA and then also TESTAMENT and EXODUS and OVERKILL, all those bands around the early ’90s got killed by grunge. So PANTERA was the only band to really carry metal through the ’90s. I’d say PANTERA, MACHINE HEAD and SEPULTURA — to me, those were the three that were carrying it through. But PANTERA were the top of those.”
In 2015, Portnoy stated about his love of metal: “I’m a metalhead through and through. I was always a metalhead in a prog band. I’m also the biggest proghead you’ll ever meet too. I’m just the biggest music fan you’ll ever meet — whether it be prog, classic rock, metal — I’m ‘all in’ in every genre. DREAM THEATER got heavy, and most of that was my doing, and AVENGED is a kind of heavy, and ADRENALINE MOB is a kind of heavy, but my roots are with SABBATH, MAIDEN, PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD, METALLICA, SLAYER, ANTHRAX, PANTERA, MEGADETH…
“Even though I was in a prog band, doing a different kind of music, these guys — the guys in ANTHRAX and PANTERA and MEGADETH — they were always my buddies,” he explained. “If DREAM THEATER was playing a festival with these bands, I was always hanging out with these guys, so we kind of all have grown up in our careers together, even though I was in a different genre.”
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 35 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
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