Mike Portnoy Tosses Parts of Drumkit + Raps During Mini Meltdown in Manila
There are instrument-breaking, expletive-hurling onstage meltdowns, and then there's something a whole lot less bombastic but no less entertaining that drummer Mike Portnoy pulled off during a set in Manila, Philippines, when he became upset with the equipment setup mid-performance.
The Adrenaline Mob drummer, who was playing with his supergroup that featured bassist Billy Sheehan, guitarist Tony MacAlpine, and keyboardist Derek Sherinian, was clearly not happy with the way his drums had been set up during the show and had a mini-meltdown that was captured via fan video (seen below). We call it a mini-meltdown as the concept of tossing parts of your kit to the ground definitely qualifies as a meltdown, but it may be one of the calmest experiences ever seen in this situation.
The former Dream Theater stickman can be seen gesturing for assistance mid-song, and once the drum techs got to the stage, he proceeded to stop drumming while the band played on and tepidly tossed several of his cymbals to the ground while the group of techs worked on his kit.
He then asked the band members to take the sound down a little as he addressed the crowd with an impromptu rap about having to wait all night for the crew to get it right. Once the kit was back in proper order, Portnoy returned to his place onstage and finished out the song with the band, who continued performing throughout the entire ordeal.
The drummer later posted about his actions in a lengthy missive that read:
Not to excuse my actions, but at least to explain the situation:
This PSMS tour has been VERY difficult on all of us in terms of gear and production. The only way we have been able to make it to such far away places such as Manila, Russia, Israel, Indonesia, etc (where it is normally VERY expensive to tour unless you are a “name” band that has been around for many years) is we’ve have had to make concessions by using supplied gear and local techs at each show.
Granted, WE agreed to these terms and are willing to make it work -- however, on at least a half dozen occasions on this tour we have been incredibly frustrated to arrive at the venue only to find the band’s gear requirements were simply blatantly ignored (wrong keyboards, wrong amps, Zildjian cymbals, etc) AND were not setup and ready for us as was supposed to be the case and what the promoters had promised.
We have been as patient and understanding as we possibly can be…but when you get 4 guys who haven’t slept more than a couple of hours every night in order to fly to these shows without sleep … sometimes our patience can wear thin.
In the case of the Manila show, we arrived hours before the show to find out the drums weren’t setup, cymbals were missing, Billy‘s amp was wrong (again) and Tony had a buzz on his gear that would not go away … but we forged ahead because we were VERY excited to play for the fans!
At the start of 'Stratus' (where the video on youtube is from) -- my snare drum mic fell off and I motioned for the tech to come put it back on the stand/drum … and instead, he comes up to the drum kit and takes the mic away … leaving me playing with NO snare mic!!! (you’ll hear I begin playing the high tom instead of the snare) … realizing he had no idea what was going on or how to fix the situation, I stopped playing and did my little “rap” while they fixed the situation and we wouldn’t have to play the whole song with no snare in the mix.
In the video, you can see I was at least making a joke out of it and wasn’t maliciously trying to hurt anybody or storming off in anger.
Moral of the story: WE ARE HUMAN! And sometimes frustrating circumstances create frustrated behavior. I’m not saying I was right in stopping the song … but if you see a video from later in the show, you’ll see I explain to the audience that I’ve been waiting my whole career to play in Manila and I wasn’t going to let ANYTHING ruin my night or their show!! And we carried on and everybody had a great night.
And I look forward to returning (although this may be the last time I tour without my own kit and my own drum tech…hahahaha!!!).