Adrenaline Mob - Mike Portnoy

Adrenaline Mob - Mike Portnoy

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ADRENALINE MOB are about to celebrate the release of the debut album “Omertà” and throw a party for this, so METAL KAOZ got on the phone with Mike Portnoy and get all the latest info about the band’s plans and many more. Read below what we talked about.

Hey Mike, how are you? It’s nice speaking to you again!
I am good Dimitris, thanks!

You have scheduled a release party for «Omertà” for the 12th of March; what are your plans for that?
We are going to play the album from start to finish and I think this is a cool idea since usually in album release parties the CD is just playing in the background. ADRENALINE MOB is a live band with a lot of energy, so instead of having a DJ playing our music, we are going up there and play all the songs. After all, I don’t know if we will have the opportunity to do that again. This will be also the live debut of our new bass player John Moyer and that makes it even more special. In fact, the release party is the same place where ADRENALINE MOB made the live debut last year.

Now that you mentioned John, I have to ask you: is he an ADRENALINE MOB permanent member or he was just called to fill in?
Well, he is in the band (laughs) and frankly I don’t know if we can consider anything permanent in life. I learned that lesson pretty well myself. Anyway, John is in the band and I hope (in fact we all hope) to be in this band for the long term. We have all the intentions in the world to hold this lineup.

Did you have any auditions to find a bassist?
He did not get into an audition stage. We had a short list of bass players but as soon as John’s name came up, he was the first to be chosen. I just sent him a text saying “Hey dude, what are you doing for the next year?” He called me back immediately and said he was interested. He spent two days with us and once we played with him, we all knew he was the perfect guy. This was the first and last audition.

That’s great. ADRENALINE MOB “lost” the second guitarist since Rich Ward left. Are there any plans to find a replacement?
When we were auditioning John, there were some plans to start looking for a second guitarist. But we decided to try the band as a four piece and see how it would sound. In fact, Russ and Mike were both kind of pushing the idea of having the band with four members. So, the audition with John also worked as a trial period for us to see how this would work and it sounded fucking amazing! You can hear Mike’s guitar playing a lot better. All of our favorite bands feature four members with one guitar like BLACK SABBATH, VAN HALEN and PANTERA, so we chose to stick with that.

Were you prepared for Rich Ward’s and Paul DiLeo’s departure from the lineup? After all, they had also busy schedules.
Yeah, we were prepared since the scheduling was already discussed when we were on tour. The reality is, and I say this we all the respect for Paul and Rich (they would also say the same thing as well), that the band was always Russell Allen, Mike Orlando and myself. That’s how the band started and that how we worked on the album. Once we started touring, we wanted them to round up the lineup and they were amazing assets to the band onstage. They are both great performers and great people to be with. But it became obvious that there would be scheduling conflicts since FOZZY is still an active band. In fact, FOZZY is Rich Ward’s band along with Chris Jericho. FOZZY is the top priority for Rich and Paul. Plus, Paul has also a gig playing with this Pop artist Nina in Europe, so ADRENALINE MOB was going to be a point of conflict for their schedules. It became clear that this was not going to work because we did not want ADRENALINE MOB to be held back by FOZZY’s or Nina’s touring schedules and conversely we didn’t want ADRENALINE MOB to hold back FOZZY or Nina. We just needed to find someone who would be open and available to our touring needs for 2012.

That sounds right. If you were to compare the EP and the new album what differences would you find?
One basic difference is that the bass guitar in the EP was played by Paul DiLeo and in the album was by Mike Orlando. Another one, is the mix of the album that was done by Jay Ruston. And that took the songs into a whole new sonic and presentation level. If I’d compared them, I’d say that the EP was like a movie trailer to present the band and the new album.

What about the title of the album, how did you choose that?
The title is was suggested by Russ and I think it’s a great one considering the band’s name. Omertà it’s like a blood oath you take when you enter the mafia; once you’re in, you are in for life. And that how we want the fans to react; once they are into this band they will stay for life.

What about the DURAN DURAN cover; in our previous discussion you have talked about a special cover but I did not expect a DURAN DURAN song. How did you make this an ADRENALINE MOB song?
It really sounds like an ADRENALINE MOB song. I think it fits in the concept of the album really well. When I came up with a song sequence for the album, I purposely put this right in the middle of the tracklist because it should not be tagged in the end like we did with “Mob Rules” in the EP. This is not like a bonus track song. The way we approach this, made it like an ADRENALINE MOB song. To be honest, I hadn’t even heard the original DURAN DURAN version. When Russ played an early demo recording of this song, it felt like the rest of the songs in the album and having Lzz’s vocals on that, obviously takes the whole song into a new level of intensity. It really makes the song come alive.

You said that you are going to play the entire album in the release party; so, who will be handling Lzz’s vocals?
Well, the original version had only Russ on the vocals and we even played this live last year at the very first show. Obviously, we would love some day to have Lzz onstage with us in the case she is available. But Russ can handle the song as he did in the past.

While you are rehearsing or when you are playing live, do you get new song ideas? I mean, do you have any new music on the making?
Yeah, and in fact during John’s auditions we laid down the ground for some new ideas to utilize for the next album. I am very much looking forward to writing with the other guys as a band. After all, the material in «Omertà” was already written by Russ and Mike. I think we are all very excited to write the next ADRENALINE MOB album as a four piece.

Do you have any kind of timetable set in your mind for when to start working on this?
I have no idea. We will ride this album as far as it is supposed to go. In a perfect world, if I could map this out I would love to see ADRENALINE MOB touring actively for all of this year and even for the next one. It’s really on the hands of the music industry of how far can we take it. It is out of our hands right now and we will take it as far as we can. In any case, we are going to make a follow-up album whenever the tour-cycle finishes up.

Talking about the tour, you have announced some summer European live dates and no US ones; what are your plans about the US?
Right now we have booked a US run from May and one of these days it will be announced. It’s going to be ourselves and another new band that we are very excited of having them. So, that will be a US tour in May and then we are going to Europe in June and July for the summer festivals and some club shows on our own. And then, later in the summer, we will see what other options might come up. But now we are focused on the US tour in May and the European dates during the summer.

Is Chicago included in the US tour?
I assumed so, even though I have not seen the schedule yet, but I have not done a US tour that did not include Chicago. So, I’d assume it is included.

What is the supporting band you will have for this US tour?
I cannot announce it yet and it will not be an opening band. This will be a co-headlining tour. It’s another new band comprised of well-known musicians; it’s a very similar kind of situation with ADRENALINE MOB.

Ok, we will have to wait for the official announcement then. So, the project with John Sykes is on hold or have you abandoned the idea?
As of now myself and Billy Sheehan decided to move on with somebody else because this wasn’t really going anywhere. I mean, we had demoed 12 songs and a great record deal that was offered to us, but for whatever reason, John was not ready to move forward and kept us waiting and waiting in a holding pattern so Billy and I decided to do this with someone else. We are productive people and we want to write and play music and not sit around talking about it. I wish John the best and to tell you the truth I am disappointed since I’d love to do this album with him. He is very talented and a super-nice guy. We got along great, so there were no personality differences.

So, now it is you, Billy and Richie Kotzen for the new project?
Yeah, the three of us kind of working together but there is no definitive plan yet. We have been working together and when our schedules align together we are going to make the album. So far it has been a great chemistry and we have been really excited about it.

The FLYING COLORS album comes out March 27th, two weeks after ADRENALINE MOB’s and it’s a whole different kind of animal representing my more Pop/Prog side. It’s a nice balance to the ADRENALINE MOB album like the Yin to the Yan. It’s another great album that I am really proud of.

You will also play with FATES WARNING in Brazil, right?
Next month, in April 12th, I have the ‘Metal Masters’ show with Charlie Benante, Dave Lombardo, Kerry King, Dave Ellefson and Frank Bello and then two days later I am going to play with FATES WARNING in Brazil. It will be a one off show and I will be filling in for Bobby Jarzombek who is double booked and unavailable that night.

That will be cool. I have one more question for you Mike; you have a plate full of projects, so would you like to have just one full time band and be 100% focused on that?
Well, I am not opposed to the idea for something like that down the road, but at the moment it does not interest me. At the moment I like the variety and after 25 years of marriage I think most people are not ready to settle and get into another marriage. Ok, some people do that but not me. Right now, I am enjoying the variety doing different things with different people, but you never say never, right? It will have to be the right band and be very fulfilling in a musical and a personal level.

Ok, Mike, thank you for your time and hopefully we’ll see you in Chicago with ADRENALINE MOB in May.
Thank you very much Dimitris.