Mike Portnoy Reveals His Thoughts About Lars Ulrich And Claims He Is The Real Leader Of Metallica

In an interview with The French Connection, former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy talked about Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich who inspired his music since the beginning of his career, and suggested Ulrich is the head of his band, unlike the popular opinion.

As you may remember, back in 1985, Mike Portnoy co-founded a band called Majesty along with John Petrucci and John Myung, which eventually become Dream Theater. On September 8, 2010, Portnoy announced he decided to leave the band and replaced by Mike Mangini. Known for his technical skill as a drummer, Portnoy has won 30 awards from the Modern Drummer magazine.

Recently, Mike Portnoy joined an interview with The French Connection and opened up about the drummers that had a significant impact on his music. During the conversation, the interviewer wanted to know whether Mike thought the famous ‘drummer jokes‘ were fair to the drummers of the rock and metal community.

In his response, Portnoy suggested that the jokes were completely unfair to the drummers, particularly to Larsh Ulrich, Phil Collins, and Don Henley. He added that considering their impact on the development of the bands, these drummers should be considered as the real leaders of their bands.

Furthermore, Mike Portnoy mentioned that he has been looking up to Lars Ulrich, whom he called his hero,’ since Lars is more than just a drummer.  Mike stated that when he was forming Dream Theater, he also wanted to be more than just the drummer and tried to do almost anything from writing lyrics to managing the fan club.

Here is what Mike Portnoy stated about Lars Ulrich:

“It’s totally unfair, but tell that to Lars Ulrich or Phil Collins, Don Henley, there are some drummers that are the leaders of their bands, and those are the people I admire. I mean, I grew up with Lars Ulrich as my hero, not because of his drumming – although his drumming was indeed a huge influence on me – but, it was more the fact that he was more than a drummer.

And people like that really inspired me. Neil Peart was an amazing drummer, but he was also a lyricist who oversaw all the artwork and that kind of stuff, and I always wanted to be more than just a drummer. When I was going off to Berklee, I didn’t want to just play drums; I wanted to learn about music theory and harmony and arranging, I took all those classes because I wanted to be an overall musician.

Portnoy continued:

“And then when it came to forming Dream Theater, I wasn’t just the drummer; I was writing a lot of the lyrics, I was doing a lot of singing and writing a lot of the vocal melodies and overseeing the merch and the fan club.

That was all part of the package and part of my responsibilities, and a lot of that came from somebody like Lars Ulrich who always was that guy for Metallica. So I always wanted to break that stereotype and stigma with the drummer jokes.”

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