Flying Colors

Interview date

19 Septembre 2012


Blaster of Muppets


Interview Mike Portnoy (face to face)

Hi Mike ! Great talking to you. Thanks for answering a couple of questions for


Well, these are your first shows with Flying Colors. How has it been so far?

It’s been great. You know, like the album, we have a very small window to work with, so we’re making the most of it within a short period of time. Every show has been getting better and better… And now, we’re down to the final three : Paris, Tilburg and London, and I expect tonight to be… very special.

What can you tell us about the Flying Colors live DVD you intend to produce?

Well, we’re gonna film it tomorrow in Tilburg, which is a great venue to film in, we’ve done a Transatlantic DVD there, they just have a great production for filming. Basically, it’s what you’re gonna see tonight. We wanted to capture and document this tour because it’s been so special and we wanted to have a souvenir of this voyage.

And what about the making-of DVD?

The making-of DVD is just that. It’s probably something that should have come out with the CD but for some reason it didn’t… But you know, better late than never. It’s a one hour documentary, behind the scenes, so you can watch how it was like to get this band together and make the record.

What are your favourite moments on stage with this band?

Actually, to be honest, my favourite moment in the show is a moment that doesn’t even involve me. Casey has a solo spot, by himself, he just sings with his guitar, sometimes he improvises, sometimes he plays a little bit of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It’s one of these moments when the audience is just completely captivated and moved. I love it because it also gives everybody a chance to see how talented Casey is. Most of the people coming to the shows know me, Steve, Neal and Dave… but Casey is the new guy, and even though he can be very impressive within the context of the band, I feel it’s the solo spot that really enables him to shine.

Talking about Casey, how did the idea of having Casey as the singer occur?

Well, the concept from the beginning when Bill Evans brought us all together was to have a more pop/rock oriented singer. We knew right from the beginning Neal wasn’t going to be the lead singer because we wanted to make it different from Transatlantic. So we wanted an outside singer and I knew of Casey, I knew he was the right guy, I thought he would be perfect… and sure enough, he was.

With all the other bands and projects you have (Adrenaline Mob, Transatlantic, your project with Billy Sheehan and Ritchie Kotzen, etc.), do you think that Flying Colors will be able to record a second album?

Absolutely! We absolutely want to. We are really enjoying working together, the chemistry is here, the personalities click really well… personally and musically. You know, if there was any question about it before the tour, which I don’t really think there was, it’s all been put to bed now we’ve been touring because we obviously realize how special it is and we want to keep it going. Of course, with all the things we have, Steve has Deep Purple, I have Adrenaline Mob, everybody has his own band or project, it’s not going to be a full-time band but more of a part-time band. We could do an album and tour from time to time… a bit like Transatlantic.

And with all these things you’re doing, do you have time for a family life? How do they feel about that?

My wife is very supportive of that. She’s really encouraging me to do as much I can, whenever I can, however I can. Thank God for that kind of support, she understands the importance of it.

What memories do you keep from your time with Avenged Sevenfold?

I have a lot of great memories and also a couple of sad ones. It was one of the most fun tours I have ever been a part of. Especially the American tour was a tremendous amount of fun. Every night, I really was enjoying it. The camaraderie was in the band, this new breath of fresh air in my career felt good… their fans were really always so receptive and supportive… And then, by the time we got to Europe, they had made apparent to me that it was going to come to an end, so at that point it started to get a little sad… the feelings were a little bit tougher. But you know, everybody moved on and everything happened for a reason, so in the end I look back at that as a very good experience. I helped them get across the bridge they needed to get across and they helped me getting across the bridge I needed to get across. I think we really helped each other to get to the other side.

Any updates on your current projects? How are things going? What’s next?

Neal and I have a Christmas album that is coming out soon. All sorts of great players will be appearing on that, Steve Morse, Steve Hackett, Roine Stolt… Then, my album with Billy Sheehan and Ritchie Kotzen should be ready by early next year, we haven’t decided on a label yet but once we do, we hope to get it released by spring or summer, and after that we’d like to tour as well. Next year, I’ll be resuming work with Adrenaline Mob as well… And there’s also this thing with Billy Sheehan, Tony MacAlpine and Derek Sherinian, we have a DVD coming out next month of us in the studio, and we’re also about to do some touring and we’ll probably make a live DVD out of that as well… So, there’s no shortage of things, you know… there’s a lot of stuff coming.

Do you sometimes have any regrets about some of the decisions you made, like deciding to leave Dream Theater?

(He shows me a tattoo on his arm that says : “No Regrets”). No Regrets. Like I wrote in the song “Repentance”, it’s better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t. If I hadn’t made the choices I made, then I would probably have a lot of regrets… wondering about all the things I could have done and should have done… Instead I followed my heart and now, I’m doing them.

I suppose everybody asks you about this but, honestly, can the door on Dream Theater be completely shut? It seems unbelievable…

You know, it’s up to them. I never say never. I only wanted a break. I would love to reunite at some point. I always hoped that we would… I always assumed we would. But I’ve read a recent interview with James in which he says the door is shut for ever and that they’ll never have me back in the band…

He really said that??

Yes, you’ll have to ask him if you get the chance. I think he’s enjoying his new found muscles and control. Regardless, I’ll always look back at my twenty-five years with Dream Theater as an important part of who I am, and I would never deny that. I think some of those guys have shorter memories than I do, perhaps… I guess time will tell.

And finally, a word to your French fans?

Well, it sounds like a cliché but it really is the truth: I love the French fans, I love playing here… Everytime I do a tour, no matter what band it is with, one of my favourite shows of the tour is always Paris. So, I’m really looking forward to tonight. Merci!

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