MIKE PORTNOY on How SONS OF APOLLO Compares to DREAM THEATER

DEREK SHERINIAN on SONS OF APOLLO: "We're a Rock Band with Sick-Ass Chops"

Drum master Mike Portnoy was asked by That Just Happened on how his new band Sons of Apollo compares to Dream Theater, to which he replied (via Blabbermouth):

I think this band has that real Van Halen swagger to it, so I don’t know if you can compare us to Dream Theater. I think this band is a very different animal.

That being said, anybody that’s a fan of mine from the Dream Theater days, I think this is the band, of everything I’ve done post-Dream Theater, that the Dream Theater fans will be floored by.

If you come to one of the shows, and you’re a fan of what I used to do in Dream Theater, your jaw is going to be on the floor. I think this is probably the closest I’ll get to wetting the whistle of those fans.

I did it last year when I did the Shattered Fortress shows, and I think that kind of scratched the itch for myself and the fans, and maybe helped set up Sons of Apollo.

Asked on why guitarist Tony MacAlpine – who played with Mike, Billy Sheehan and Derek Sherinian in a short-lived band called PSMS – was not invited to join Sons of Apollo, Portnoy replied:

As much as we loved Tony, Tony was great for the instrumental fusion thing, we needed a rock star – a hard rock/metal rock star playing guitar in this band. I knew it was Bumblefoot.

I had done some different things with him through the years; he had done some touring with Metal Allegiance, and he and Billy had done some stuff together, so I knew he was not only a rock star, but he is an unbelievable musician.

People don’t realize it – they just think he played in Guns N’ Roses, and they don’t realize he’s a mad scientist. Of everybody in this band, he’s probably the most musically accomplished and able. He can play anything. Anything any of us throw at him, he can tackle.

Focusing on the rest of the lineup, Mike added:

Derek plays keyboards like a guitar player. He plays with real balls. He’s not one of those traditional keyboard players that does all the tinkly-tinkly stuff and softens up the sound.

He’s the loudest one on stage each and every night. He likes to call himself the Yngwie [Malmsteen] of keyboards, and he’s got this wall of amps that takes off your head. I love that he brings that to the band.

Then we have a bass player that plays bass like a guitar player as well. [Laughs] Billy Sheehan is the Jimi Hendrix of bass as far as I’m concerned – he completely innovated the instrument when he came around on the scene, and he’s always been one of my favorite bass players. Nobody plays like him.

If you wanted to have this band of virtuosos, who can you get on bass other than Billy Sheehan? There’s nobody that plays that way, especially not anymore. Very few people play with that intensity, so we needed him in this band.

Jeff Scott Soto bring the smooth accessibility and melodic edge to it all. We didn’t want a singer that was traditional, operatic, screaming. Jeff brings a real listenability to the songs.

His heroes are people like Freddie Mercury, Lou Gramm, Steve Walsh or Steve Perry, so he brings that kind of AOR background to what is a sometime progressive, sometimes metal band.

You put us all in a melting pot… it started with a progressive metal tag, but I think it’s really become more of a hard rock band with chops. I think we’re more Van Halen than Rush.

You can check out the band’s “Alive” video in the embedded player below.

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