February 18, 2010

News Commentary: Mike Portnoy to play on new Avenged Sevenfold album...wait, what?

In this article posted yesterday, Blabbermouth.net revealed to the world that Avenged Sevenfold would be utilizing the skills of Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy on their new album. Mike would be playing in place of Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, who was found dead in his home on Huntington Beach, CA on December 28th, 2009. And in this article posted today, Portnoy states that he's "honored" to play with A7X and that he has been "welcomed into the family with open arms."

I'm sorry, can we rewind this back a little bit? Did Mike Portnoy just say he was honored to be part of the Avenged Sevenfold family? I'm not quite sure I read that right.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Mike Portnoy playing with A7X. I think he'll do a great job, and it's awesome that the band was able to get The Rev's favorite drummer to play on their new album. I have the deepest sympathy for the members of A7X and The Rev's family in their time of loss. I'm glad that the band will be able to continue on with their music, and I do hope that the next album they release will be better than their last album (which I hated, but we won't get into that).

But seriously, Mike Portnoy, what are you talking about? You've been regarded as one of the best drummers in the world for almost twenty years. You've been playing with one of the biggest progressive metal bands in the world since its inception. You are a legend and an inspiration among drummers worldwide. I know you're trying to be sensitive to the band and show solidarity with them in their time of loss, but you're MIKE PORTNOY, for goodness sake! If anyone should feel honored, it's the guys in A7X for you agreeing to play with them.

On a side note, I am sure the A7X guys do feel honored, but their choice of words in their press statement strikes me as a bit odd. They said that Portnoy has "respect and adoration for The Rev's abilities." The respect part I can believe. But adoration? Really? That implies worship of some sort, and no offense to The Rev, but if Mike Portnoy worships any drummers, the only possible choices of drummers he might worship are Neil Peart and Tomas Haake. Such word choice smacks of pretentiousness, a trait that Avenged Sevenfold has been known for since their rise to fame. Part of me is shocked to see that coming out in this time of grief, but the rest of me is completely unfazed by it. This just proves that, even in the time of deepest mourning, A7X will still be full of themselves.

Again, I state that I have the deepest sympathy for Avenged Sevenfold and The Rev's family. And I do sincerely hope that Mike Portnoy's experience with the band is nothing but positive. Having said that, I also hope that the members of A7X get a reality check somehow, because they are playing with one of the best drummers in history, and they should on their knees thanking him for agreeing to do this. To quote a great lyric from Lamb of God, "In the presence of greatness, the humble can only bow." The fact that the guys in A7X are not bowing really does say something about their character.


Jaime said...

There's no way you can compare the level of success of DT against A7X, simply because they each fall into COMPLETELY different metal genres. But if you want to: each has loyal fans, each has had tremendous album sales throughout the world, each has sold out shows. The only difference aside from the sound and technicality of playing is that DT has been around way longer.

Look, I'm no A7X fan. I love Dream Theater. Instead of bitching about A7X like every other typical metal elitist out there, why don't you blog about Mike's humility instead?

The Vigilante said...

I'm not trying to compare success, I'm trying to show that A7X has a very selfish attitude and tend to tout themselves as being one of the best bands in the world, even though they are still incredibly young and haven't earned the kind of credibility that a band like Dream Theater. And I'm not bitching about A7X, because I have no problem with most of their music. They have a few songs I can't stand, but overall, I like a lot of their stuff. What Mike was doing, though, was unnecessarily humble. The things he had to say express appreciation for being part of the band, and I understand his desire to show respect to Jimmy's memory. But he didn't need to treat this like it was going to be a highlight of his career, which is the kind of atmosphere he gave in his statement.

I guess it's all about the way you take the meanings of their words. That makes all the difference.

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