MIKE PORTNOY: ‘I May Have To Cut Back On Social Media For My Own Sanity’
Drumtalk, the video podcast by German drummer and videographer Philipp Koch, recently sat down with former Dream Theater and current The Winery Dogs and Metal Allegiance drummer Mike Portnoy.
On his very active social media presence:
Portnoy: “I’ve always embraced the spotlight. I’m a ham. I like the attention, so I’m a loudmouth, I’m an extroverted personality, so I’ve always tried to use it to my advantage, being the spokesperson for my old band. When social media came around, I embraced it; I kept in touch with the fans and always posted things. So that’s a good side; with fame comes that. But with fame also comes the fact that you become a bit of a punching bag for the critics, and for the people on the Internet and the social media that want to have their say. I can say the smallest thing and the smallest opinion that millions of other people on my web site would say the same thing and nobody would bat an eye. But if I say it, suddenly it’s like a shitstorm and all hell breaks loose. I can’t complain. I realize I have a million and a half people on my Facebook page, so, yeah, that’s great and it’s an honor and it’s really a blessing that I have that. But with that comes a responsibility that I need to watch what I say, and I don’t always do that — just because I like to have an open, honest relationship with my fans. But you can only get beat up so many times. And I realize for every one angry, mean post from a fan, there’s another nine supportive, loving ones. But still, yeah, it hurts. I’m human. My skin is only so thin, or so thick. They’ll bash me today and then tomorrow they’re on to Dave Mustane or Geoff Tate or Lars Ulrich, or whatever, but still, it stings. And yeah, those things hurt. That first year after I left DREAM THEATER, all of the drama on the Internet made me crazy; it made me a miserable person. And I finally had to say, ‘Okay, I have to stop following all these web sites and people that have to do with DREAM THEATER, ’cause it only… it creates drama in my life and upsets me. I had an incident at a show in Southeast Asia a few years ago, and, of course, it was captured on YouTube and it spread like wildfire and all hell broke loose. Yeah, before the Internet — and I’m not complaining about the Internet, ’cause it’s a great, great tool — but back in the ’90s and the ’80s, we didn’t that; we didn’t have problems like this. I wouldn’t have to spend half my day buried in my phone’s… looking at my phonescreen and obsessing over that stuff. I think I’m coming to a crossroads now where I’m thinking I may have to cut back on social media for my own sanity. And it’s a shame. It’s a shame, because it’s always been a very good relationship with the people that are understanding.”
Portnoy, who co-founded Dream Theater 30 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with Avenged Sevenfold. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini. Portnoy has said he’s tried to rejoin Dream Theater but was turned down.