Tag: Mike Portnoy

Sellersville Theater concert preview: Dream Theater keyboard player Jordan Rudess discusses his musical journey and rock roots

Jordan Rudess (Photo Nidhal MARZOUK)

Jordan Rudess is perhaps best known as the keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist for the platinum-selling progressive rock band Dream Theater and the side project, Liquid Tension Experiment. But Rudess, a classically trained virtuoso from the age of 10, has also worked with the likes of Deep Purple, The Dixie Dregs and David Bowie among many others. 

He’s also the owner of Wizdom Music, an application development company that makes award-winning apps for keyboard synthesizers.

At 8 p.m. June 25, Rudess brings his solo piano tour to the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville. Tickets are available for $33-45 at st94.com 215-257-5808. Limited seats remain but a livestream is available.

The show, dubbed ‘A Chapter in Time,’ will document Rudess’ musical journey — which began in grade school, then to Julliard and progressed to his work with Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment. Rudess will also explore improvised selections from his progressive rock roots as well as his beautiful new album, ‘A Chapter in Time.’

In addition to Rudess’ performance on the Sellersville stage, a livestream is available for fans with COVID safety concerns. All livestream ticket holders will be emailed a link to enjoy the show.

I spoke with Rudess about his upcoming performance as well as his latest album.

James Wood for The Morning Call: What can fans expect from your upcoming Sellersville Theater performance?

Rudess: “I love doing these piano shows because the piano is my home territory. As much as people know me as the Dream Theater keyboardist the piano is where it all started. When I do these events, it’s a chance for me to let my musical spirit out. I’ll play Bach, some Chopin and improvise or play arrangements of progressive rock, Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment. I’m happy I chose the piano because its wide range allows me to do this kind of thing. People can expect to hear a full representation of who I am musically and get a feel for all the things I’m involved with.”

Did you always know music would be your calling?

“Honestly, I did. The short version is that I had been playing piano in my second-grade classroom. My teacher called my mom and told her how I was playing so beautifully. My mom told her she must be talking about someone else, because I didn’t play. No one in my family was involved in the arts or even played an instrument, although my mother always liked music. Once she heard I was playing it sparked her imagination and a few days later a white piano arrived at the house. I started taking lessons and never looked back.”

Read the rest of my

Interview with Jordan Rudess by Clicking Here.

The Winery Dogs: Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy Discuss Debut Album

DogsAre they a supergroup? Well, yes.

With guitarist Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison), bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Talas, Niacin) and drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob) in the mix, how could they be considered anything else?

Just don’t use that moniker around the guys in the band.

“Most supergroups are short-lived and usually have internal problems,” Sheehan said during my recent conversation with all three Winery Dogs. “We didn’t get together to try to capitalize on what we’ve done before. We wanted to do something that was straight out of the box.”

The guys prefer to be considered a classic power trio, and they’ve already released a powerful trio of music videos in advance of their debut self-titled album, which will be released July 23 via Loud & Proud Records. The disc was produced by the band and mixed by Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Stone Sour, Steel Panther).

I recently sat down with Kotzen, Sheehan and Portnoy to talk band origins, gear, the new album and the secrets behind Kotzen’s sound and hybrid picking style.

Read my complete Guitar World interview with The Winery Dogs by Clicking Here!

Omertà : Album Review

What happens when you take elements of Dream Theatre, Symphony-X and Disturbed, throw them all into a blender and then add the blazing guitar of a true genius of his instrument?

You get: Adrenaline Mob.

Consisting of drummer Mike Portnoy, vocalist Russell Allen, guitarist Mike Orlando and newcomer, bassist John Moyer, Adrenaline Mob continues to build upon the success that started last summer with the release of their self-titled EP.

Fans who may have missed out before will be pleased to discover that four of the songs from that record also appear on the band’s soon to be released full-length album, Omertà.

Produced by the Mob themselves and mixed by Jay Ruston, well-known for his work with Anthrax and Steel Panther, Omertà disproves the old adage that metal albums are made to just melt faces (although, let’s face it, there’s nothing wrong with that). The truth is though, it’s always been the songwriting and the sound that matters most and on both counts Omertà delivers the goods.

From the first few bars of the in your face intro of “Undaunted” I found myself once again asking the question: “How the hell do these guys sound so damn good?” It’s inhuman. They make it look so easy. And the best part of it all is: it’s actually THEM playing and singing. Not just another studio trick that record companies have been spoon-feeding the masses for years.

I mean lets face it, these guys are real musicians. Ones who have spent years honing their craft. Musicians similar to the greats I idolized growing up and ones who will now carry the torch on to the next generation of metal heads.

In addition to the songs from the original EP, here are a few more highlights from Omertà:

Indifferent is a song about self-reflection. One that is radio ready and a song that I can already picture blaring from my car speakers on hot summer nights.

I never thought you’d hear me say, “I’m better now, so I don’t need your sympathy.”

All On The Line nicely mixes things up with Russell Allen’s crisp vocals and an acoustic guitar intro delivering the message before kicking things back up.

I don’t wanna wake up and make the same mistakes.
It happens to me all the time.

For the metal head purists, the groove on Feelin’ Me is infectious and will keep your fists pumping for a long time.

One of the real gems on Omertà is the band’s version of the song Come Undone. That’s right, you read that correctly: a Duran Duran cover!  Something die-hard metal fans might consider “blasphemy” but in reality is actually just another example of how music has universal appeal. The song also features a guest vocal performance by Lzzy Hale of Halestorm – Genius!

Omertà is the next chapter in the story of Adrenaline Mob and coincidentally ends with the blazing song Freight Train, a cacophony of guitars and drums complete with real engine sounds.

Which makes me so glad I’m along for the ride.

Check it out!

Omertà Track Listing:

1. Undaunted
2. Psychosane
3. Indifferent
4. All On The Line
5. Hit the Wall
6. Feelin’ Me
7. Come Undone
8. Believe Me
9. Down To The Floor
10. Angel Sky
11. Freight Train

For more information on Adrenaline Mob check out: www.adrenalinemob.com

Adrenaline Mob Rules

August 14th, 2011. I’ve written it down because it’s not often you are privy to the beginning of music history.

You see, I wasn’t even a twinkle in my father’s eye when The Beatles were an up and coming act. And I was just a child and never got to see when guitar greats Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van-Halen and Randy Rhoads began and all took it up a notch.

Alas, I was starting to feel that being part of the beginning of something special just wasn’t in the cards for me. Last night though, I finally got that chance when I saw the very first Adrenaline Mob performance in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Adrenaline Mob is the new project from some of the most talented musicians around. Featuring drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold), lead vocalist Russell Allen (Symphony-X), guitarists Mike Orlando (Sonic Stomp) and Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo/Fozzy) and bassist Paul DiLeo (Nena).

Having never seen an arsenal of musicians of this caliber come together before I didn’t quite know what to expect. But as the band took the stage to the familiar sounds from The Godfather movie and tore into Psychosane, the first song from its debut self-titled EP, any doubt I had as to whether or not they could pull it off was gone.

It truly was a headbangers paradise as the band wooed the audience with songs like Hit The Wall, Believe Me and the Black Sabbath/Dio classic (and very appropriate) Mob Rules.

Mixing in a few songs from their soon to be released full length album, Russell Allen told the audience “This next one’s our ballad” and I found myself wondering if this would be just another gratuitous throw away song. I was pleasantly surprised to find that their “ballad’ was actually on par with all of the other songs and Mr. Allen’s vocals were both smooth and powerful.

I felt like part of a brotherhood listening to Paul DiLeo’s killer bass grooves and sonic euphoria while shaking his head along with the rest of us.

I’ve never seen Mike Orlando perform before and as a guitarist myself I stood there in awe as I watched him shred. He is one of the most phenomenal players around and makes it look so easy. Afterwards I asked him how long he had been playing and he told me “About a week”.  Very down to Earth guy. What I should have asked him was if he was available next week to give me lessons.

Rich Ward played to the crowd showcasing his amazing talent and at one point allowing members of  the audience to play his guitar while he held it over them.  I wished I was down front so I could have also been a member of The Mob for just one night.

As for Mr. Portnoy, well what can be said that hasn’t already? The man is a genius, one of the greatest drummers ever and also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Just a year out of leaving the mega band Dream Theater, Mike is back with a vengeance.

After a thrilling 75 minute performance, the band exited the stage once again to The Godfather theme along with intentional feedback from Mr. Ward’s guitar.  Indeed, there was no better way to end the beginning.

If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the Adrenaline Mob EP and seeing this band on their current tour so one day, like me, you’ll be able to say: “I was there when it all began”.

Article first published as Adrenaline Mob Rules on Technorati