Video: Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy Plays Classic Van Halen Songs On Alex’s 2012 Drum Kit

January 19, 2024

Here is the beauty of the internet. If you haven’t seen this yet, take a few minutes. It’s worth the time spent. In honour of Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen’s 2023 induction into the Modern Drummer Hall Of Fame, the magazine has been getting drummers to play his songs. And episode 3 features Dream Theater‘s Mike Portnoy!

Alex Van Halen’s drumming has influenced countless drummers over the decades and Modern Drummer’s video series appropriately pays tribute to Alex’s career & legacy.

They filmed the series at the IronShore Studios in Grand Cayman. Rough gig, but somebody’s gotta do it.

In episode three, Mike Portnoy talks about his love of Van Halen and then jumps behind Alex’s kit to play some songs and deconstruct certain grooves.

Last year, Portnoy named Van Halen one of rock’s most influential drummers, saying, “He was playing a big, massive kid double bass kit. His double bass drumming was incredible. The drumming on the first four or five, even six Van Halen albums — all the early David Lee Roth albums — the drumming on every one of those albums is incredible and had a huge influence on me. My first band that I was playing with, when I was a teenager, we did all Van Halen covers.”

What a cool idea, Modern Drummer! Who else would you like to see them pay homage to? Who else deserves the same treatment?


Written by Todd Hancock