Thursday, March 18, 2010

Members Of Avenged Sevenfold

M. Shadows Biography

Matthew Charles Sanders, (born July 31, 1981) better known by his stage name M. Shadows, is the vocalist and founding member for the American metal/rock band Avenged Sevenfold. His sister is former Detroit Shock player, Amy Sanders


In Matthews's youth, he was notorious for his disorderly conduct and misbehavior. He was quoted as saying "I was in between a good kid and a terrible kid - I had a good heart, but a terrible attitude." He attended Huntington Beach High School after being expelled from his middle school in the eighth grade. As the band was just starting out, he was the darker character of the group (hence the name "Shadows") but he also wanted to incorporate his first name, Matthew, into his stage name. Matthew was reduced to "M" because it had a "better ring" when combined with his stage name and ever since he has been known as M. Shadows.[1]

Although he makes references to the Bible (as demonstrated in his songs Beast and the Harlot, Dear God, Chapter Four, etc.,) M. Shadows stated that the band does not wish to force their political or religious views upon anyone.

On October 17, 2009 Matt married his high school sweetheart, Valary Dibenedetto in Palm Spring, California.

Early Life

Sanders used to play the piano before he became a member his first band, Successful Failure. When he was growing up, he favorited punk rock bands such as H2O and The Misfits and got into the scene when his father bought him Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses after he had seen them on MTV's Headbanger's Ball.

In following years, Shadows formed a number of bands with Avenged Sevenfold's rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance. Vengeance was previously a member of a punk rock group called MPA. While Shadows was in the previously mentioned "Successful Failure", The Rev was slotted to play drums (but was admittedly too good).[2] While in this band he penned the song "Streets," which would later be recorded after Avenged Sevenfold was formed, and released on the first album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet. The album was a mix of metalcore and punk rock but also includes a softer, more ballad-like song (Warmness On The Soul). Sounding the Seventh Trumpet was first recorded and produced while Shadows and the rest of Avenged Sevenfold were still in high school.

Avenged Sevenfold

Shadows has stated that he feels a strong support for the troops serving the United States, having very close friends who are currently in service in Iraq. The song "M.I.A." ("Missing In Action") was reportedly written in tribute to these friends. The song "Gunslinger" from Avenged Sevenfold's self-titled album further expresses these feelings (though it was stated in the album's extra MVI that it's not just about troops - "It can be about anyone away from home, missing their families.") The song "Critical Acclaim" can be interpreted as an attack against those who criticize America. Shadows has made guest appearances on numerous albums by numerous different artists. He also produced The Confession's 2007 album, Requiem, which, according to an interview, was one of the first steps which led to Avenged Sevenfold self-producing their 2007 self-titled album.


Shadows will be singing on the upcoming Slash album on a song titled "Nothing to say"

Vocal style

In the band's debut album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, M. Shadows' vocals had a heavy metalcore influence and consisted mostly of screamed vocals. This style gradually decreased in later albums into more conventional clean singing and had been almost completely abandoned by the release of City of Evil, the band's major label debut. After the release of City of Evil a rumor had developed stating that the reason why M. Shadows dropped the screaming was either due to blowing a blood vessel or ripping a vocal cord in the back of his throat. However, this is not true. Despite having admitted minor throat surgery this was not a cause for the change and in an interview on All Excess, manager Larry Jacobson states that Shadows had decided two years before the making of City of Evil that it would be an all singing album. He had made it clear to their producer, Andrew Murdock, that the album they were working on at the time Waking the Fallen would be half singing and half screaming, and that the next would be all singing. In the past Shadows would sing on all parts of the songs during live performances, supporting the theory that he was no longer able to scream or growl. Perhaps becoming fed up with those claims, Shadows has resumed screaming again during live shows, this can be seen in the band's new live DVD "Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough" In almost all of the songs in the DVD, he does a 5 to 7 second long scream, and does some screaming vocals for Second Heartbeat and Unholy Confessions. In 2009, Shadows continued screaming when Avenged Sevenfold had performed songs from Waking the Fallen, such as Eternal Rest and Chapter Four, at the "Rock on the Range" and "Sonisphere" live shows. Some of Shadows' biggest musical influences are Metallica, Megadeth, The Misfits, Beastie Boys, Queen, Pantera, AFI, Coheed and Cambria and Guns N' Roses.

Death of Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan

On January 16th, 2010 Matt posted this message on the Avenged Sevenfold site:

"I don’t know how to start this or know where to begin. First I would like to thank all the fans for their support through the passing of Jimmy. It has been comforting to see his fans, our fans, and everyone in general give their support. Jimmy was my best friend, as he was best friends with many other people including the members of Avenged Sevenfold. He was hands down the greatest person I have ever known. I told him I loved him everyday [sic]. He demanded your love and was never afraid to give it back. I have walked side by side with Jimmy, everyday [sic], for the last 18 years of my life. I have no memories before Jimmy, and it’s going to be damn hard to move forward without him here. It still doesn’t seem real. He was my best friend, songwriting partner, band mate, confidant, and most importantly, he was my brother. The crazy thing about Jimmy was that everyday [sic] was a crazy story. We have told our favorite Jimmy stories for the last 2 weeks and never have we repeated ourselves. This guy was magical. The out pour of art from his soul was unlike the world has ever seen. Unless you spent a day with Jimmy, or 18 years, it’s impossible to explain, so I’m not going to try. He inspired people in different ways. He wasn’t just a drummer, he honestly didn’t care so much for the technical side of drums, cause he could play anything he wanted. He was all about creating beautiful songs, original fills and hopefully touching people with his art and mind. He told all of us for years, including his parents, that he knew two things in life. He wanted to be a rockstar, and that he wasn’t going to live past 30 years old. He was right on both accounts, but I know Jimmy, and if he knew how much pain this would cause for the ones he left behind, he would have done anything he could to stick around a little longer. Jimmy gave so much and in the end it was his time to go. All my reasons for wanting him to stay are selfish and I know he is in a better place then this, so in a way I’m joyful that my best friend is now at peace. He made it to the other side first and I can’t wait to hang with him again. I have so much to say but can’t find the words so I will wait until time can allow me to find a way to express myself. As for the rest of us, it has become clear what we need to do. We had just finished writing a record with Jimmy. I can’t promise what the future holds because right now it’s too painful to think about, but we know we need to record and put out this record in honor of Jimmy, for Jimmy. He would call me every night to talk about songs and tell me “this shit is gonna change the world.” I agreed with him, unfortunately I didn’t know it would be on these terms. Please be patient with us for we cannot imagine how hard this is gonna be to get through, we just know we have to do it for his legacy. After that, who knows? But I know Jimmy will help us make that decision when the time comes. I love you Jimmy and I feel like the luckiest man in the world to have known you and spent 18 years of my life with you. Rest in Peace my friend."

Shadows also a had a Deathbat tattooed on his right hand, in the form of the Rev, most particularly, his hairstyle.

Zacky Vengeance Biography

Zachary James Baker, (born December 11, 1981) better known by his stage name Zacky Vengeance, is the rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist for the American metal/rock band Avenged Sevenfold. He was ranked as the second best rhythm guitarist's of all time in Kerrang!, behind Dragonforce's Sam Totman.


In high school, Zachary attended Huntington Beach High School. Baker came up with his stage name "Zacky Vengeance" because he wanted to get back at all the people whom doubted his success . He also came up with Johnny's stage name "Johnny Christ" because he said it was suiting for him.

In the Avenged Sevenfold DVD All Excess he recalls that before Avenged Sevenfold, he was in a punk band called MPA*, which stands for Mad Porno Action. He implies that they were not successful. He and M. Shadows formed Avenged Sevenfold. He taught himself how to play the guitar when he was thirteen. Zacky was also responsible for the creation of the acronym "A7X".[1]

Despite being left-handed, he recalls the first guitar he learned on was actually a right-handed his parents had bought him for his thirteenth birthday. He learned by playing upside-down, watching his favorite bands and other people he knew who played and practiced as much as he could. He would also read each edition of Guitar World cover to cover, learning the tabs of the songs published in there and watching the professionals perform it until he got it right. His influences in his style are Rancid, Misfits and Bad Religion. Zacky's favorite bands also include Metallica, Misfits and Guns N Roses.

In high school he played baseball. He claims that if not for his music career, he would have played in college and potentially gone pro.[2]

In 2003, Avenged Sevenfold came out with Waking the Fallen, which boosted A7X fan levels up. Avenged Sevenfold hit the jackpot in 2005 when their Platinum selling album, City of Evil came out featuring songs such as, Beast and the Harlot, Bat Country, and Seize the Day.

In 2007, Avenged Sevenfold self-produced their Self Titled Album (Avenged Sevenfold). Featuring songs such as, Critical Acclaim, Scream, Afterlife, Almost Easy and A Little Piece of Heaven.

2008- Zacky and Avenged Sevenfold have announced that they will be back in the studio by July 2009. Zacky quotes, "After touring the world for pretty much two years straight, the stars aligned and have us finishing up in Southern California and Las Vegas. If I could offer one piece of inside info it would be that these shows are the ones to see. We will be celebrating a very successful run and 10 years of madness that all started in the great state of California (though our friends in Las Vegas know how to throw a party so we can’t leave them out either.)

Personal Life

Zachary has a sister named Zina Baker which is now Zina Pacheco. She has two children, Gianna and Gavin, Zackys only niece and nephew. He has a brother named Matt who was with the band Dear and Departed. His parents are James and Maria. Zacky and his mom share the same birthday.

Zacky released a clothing line called VENGEANCE UNIVERSITY. The websites background features Zackys symbol, the "V-Blade". The line currently features t-shirts, hoodies, bandanas, and necklaces. Many if not all the shirts in the line include his trademark "Est. 6661" or V.U."


Zacky uses Schecter Guitars, and endorses the company.

* The Vengeance custom S-1
* The Vengeance Standard model
* The Vengeance Standard model (rebel flag as seen in "Walk (song)" at Ozzfest in 2006)
* The ZV special designed by Zacky Vengeance
* The ZV Blade
* The ZV special with FR (as seen behind the scenes in the Live in the LBC DVD)
* The ZV mirror
* "Gynecologist"(blood splatter)
* Zacky has many custom shop S-1 models made exclusively for him.
* All models are loaded with Seymour Duncan JB Pickups.


* Marshall JVM205 Head
* Marshall 1960B 4x12 Straight Cabinet

Effects units and accessories

* Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
* Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor
* Line 6 PODxt Pro
* Voodoo Lab GCX Audio Switcher
* Radial JDX
* Ernie Ball "Skinny Top, Heavy Bottom 10-52" strings
* Dunlop Tortex Yellow plectrums 0.73mm (Avenged Sevenfold logo)
* White Get'm Get'm Sergeant Stripes Strap

Synyster Gates Biography

Brian Elwin Haner, Jr. (July 7, 1981), better known by his stage name Synyster Gates or simply Syn or "Gates", is an American musician. He is the lead guitarist for the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. Guitar World magazine has ranked him one of the fastest guitar players of all-time[1]. His father is Brian Haner.


Brian went to Mayfair High School in Lakewood, California and also Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, California.

He graduated from the Musicians Institute in Hollywood as part of the GIT program, studying jazz guitar. After six or so months of being there, he got a phone call from The Rev (and the rest of the previous line up of Avenged Sevenfold barre Johnny Christ) asking him if he wanted to join the band as lead guitarist. Brian joined up with them rather than continuing his education and becoming a studio musician. Up until that time he was primarily self taught by watching music videos and reading books. His father, Brian Haner Sr, is a songwriter and guitar player, having played with Frank Zappa and currently touring with ventriloquist/comedian Jeff Dunham under the stage name "Guitar Guy".

Avenged Sevenfold

Brian joined Avenged Sevenfold when he was 18 at the end of 1999, right before the recording of the band's first album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet. He was featured on their EP, "Warmness on the Soul", and on the reissue of their first album.

In the Avenged Sevenfold DVD All Excess, to emphasize the seemingly random placing of names, Brian stated that his name was thought of on a drunken drive through the park with The Rev. Also, his band members claim that he originally thought that he was too good to play for the band. He corrects them by saying he said no such thing.

He has won numerous awards, including the "Young Shredder" award of the year in the Metal Hammer awards in 2006 and the "Guitarist of the Year" Award for Total Guitar Magazine in 2006.

Pinkly Smooth

Brian, along with the Avenged Sevenfold’s late drummer The Rev, played in an avant-garde metal band named Pinkly Smooth. Formed in the summer of 2001 in Huntington Beach, California the band also features ex-Ballistico members: Buck Silverspur (under the name El Diablo) on bass and D-Rock (under the name Super Loop) on drums.

Since then, the band has released only one album, Unfortunate Snort on Bucktan Records, which features a crossover sound of mostly punk, ska and avant-garde. Former Avenged Sevenfold bassist Justin Meacham was also featured on keyboards and piano on the album. There was speculation that Pinkly Smooth was going to produce another record, but due to the death of The Rev the band will not make another album.

Featured guest appearances

* Bleeding Through's "Savior, Saint, Salvation," track
* Good Charlotte's "The River" music video
* Burn Halo's "Dirty Little Girl" music video
* Burn Halo's "Anejo" track
* He and his father, Brian Haner Sr., recently wrote and recorded the theme song to The Jeff Dunham Show

Personal life

Synyster Gates' father is Brian Haner Sr {aka Guitar Guy} who is currently on tour with Jeff Dunham. His real mother is Jan Gera and his step mother is Suzy Haner, Brian Haner Sr's current wife. Brian has a younger biological brother named Brent Haner, a Halfsister named Mckenna Haner and a step Brother named Johnny.

Amplifiers & Effects Unit

* Krank Distortus Maximus[2]
* Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive
* Boss CS-3 Compresser Sustainer [3]
* Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb
* Frantone "The Sweet" Distortion
* Digitech Whammy Pedal
* Dunlop Crybaby from Hell
* Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Fuzz Pedal
* Sustainiac Stealth Pro Sustainer
* Visual Sound H20 Chorus & Echo[4]
* Ernie Ball Wah Pedal[5]

* Bogner Uberschall
* Mesa Boogie Rectifier
* Marshall JCM 800

* Mesa Boogie 4x12 Cabinets
* Marshall 4x12 Cabinets

Johnny Christ Biography

Jonathan Lewis Seward, (born November 18, 1984), better known by his stage name Johnny Christ, is the bassist of the band Avenged Sevenfold. Johnny Christ was the fourth bassist to join Avenged Sevenfold in 2002, replacing former members Matt Wendt, Dameon Ash, and Justin Sane. He grew up in Huntington Beach, California.

Early years and Personal Life

Johnny Christ attended Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California. He proceeded through high school and eventually formally met M. Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, Synyster Gates, and The Rev (the latter of the two which he already knew from school). He is also friends with Zacky Vengeance's younger brother Matt Baker[disambiguation needed]formerly from the band The Dear & Departed. In May 2009 he participated in the Gumball 3000 Rally, driving coast to coast with the Fuel Girls.

Musical career

Johnny initially took a few weeks off from high school during his senior year to fill in for Avenged Sevenfold's previous bassist, Dameon Ash, during one of their tours. These few weeks would become permanent as Johnny dropped out of high school to become the band's current bassist.

When the band was practicing in M. Shadows's parent's garage, Johnny would walk down the street and tell them that their bassist was inadequate and that they should let him play with them instead.

His two biggest influences are Cliff Burton (now deceased bassist for Metallica) and Duff McKagan (the bassist from Velvet Revolver and formerly Guns N Roses). The person that inspired him the most to pick up a bass was Les Claypool, the bassist and vocalist from Primus.

His playing style varies by song. He primarily uses a pick.

Johnny first recorded on their second album Waking the Fallen. He used to write only Johnny on his autographs until Zacky came up with the name 'Johnny Christ', and in All Excess he said, "That sounds... really ballsy. Everyone's gonna hate that, so... I should definitely go with that!" He resides in Huntington Beach, Orange County.


* Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray Custom Black W/ Steel Pickguard
* Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray W/ Custom "Mr.Death" Graphic
* Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray Custom Grey Burst W/ Matching Head Stock
* Ernie Ball Musicman Sterling (2H) Bass
* Ernie Ball Musicman 30th Anniversary Stingray
* Seymour Duncan Pickups
* Gallien Krueger 412 Neo cab
* Gallien Krueger 410RBH Cabs x2
* Gallien Krueger 2001 RB Head x2
* Ernie Ball 2831 Power Slinky Bass Strings

Also Seen In Recording

* Visual Sound H20 Chorus & Echo
* Boss GEB-7 Bass Equalizer
* Tech 21 SansAmp RBI Bass Driver DI
* Ampeg SVT CL Head
* Dunlop CryBaby Bass WAH
* Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray 5 Red w/ White Pick Guard
* Line6 Bass Pod
* Ibanez GSR 205 W/ Gold Inlays

Old Setup

* Ernie Ball Musicman Sterling Bass Black/Black
* Ampeg SVT 8x10 Cab
* Gallien Krueger 1001 RB Head
* Ernie Ball 2831 Power Slinky Bass Strings

Mike Portnoy Biography

Michael Stephen Portnoy (born April 20, 1967) is an American drummer primarily known as the drummer and backing vocalist for the progressive metal band Dream Theater. Known for his drumming prowess and technical skill, Portnoy has won 23 awards from the Modern Drummer magazine. He has co-produced the last five Dream Theater albums with guitarist John Petrucci, starting from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory. From A Change of Seasons onwards, Portnoy has been writing a substantial amount of Dream Theater's lyrics, filling the void left by Kevin Moore, who left the band after the band's release of Awake. He is the second youngest person (after Neil Peart) to be inducted into the Modern Drummer's Hall of Fame (at 37 years of age).

Pre-Dream Theater history

Mike Portnoy was born April 20, 1967 and raised on Long Island in Long Beach, New York.[1] According to a post made by Jordan Rudess on his forum, Mike is ethnically Jewish but does not practice Judaism religiously. His father worked as a DJ at a local radio station, helping Portnoy gain an appreciation for music at an early age particularly, as Portnoy has pointed out, because he had access to his father's collection of LPs. He developed a preference for bands including Rush, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Iron Maiden, and The Beatles, among many others. Although Portnoy claims to be self-taught as a drummer, he did take music theory classes in high school. During that period he began playing in local bands, two of which (Rising Power and Inner Sanctum) recorded and released an independent album. He left Inner Sanctum (the last high school band) after being awarded a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston; however, he left Berklee soon afterward. There, he met John Petrucci and John Myung. They formed a band, initially taking name "Majesty" before changing the name to Dream Theater.



Portnoy names his biggest influences on the drums on his DVD: Chaos in Motion as including: Neil Peart, John Bonham, Terry Bozzio, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, Vinnie Colaiuta, Peter Criss, Nick Mason, Keith Moon, Carl Palmer, Vinnie Paul, Simon Phillips, and Ringo Starr.

Influential bands

Bands who have influenced Portnoy include Jane's Addiction, The Beatles, Between the Buried and Me, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jellyfish, King Crimson, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Muse (band), Umphrey's McGee, Megadeth, Meshuggah, Opeth, Pantera, Phish, Deep Purple, Radiohead, Rush, Queen, Tool, The Who, U2, Yes, and composer/guitarist Frank Zappa.

Awards and recognition

Portnoy has won 23 awards from Modern Drummer magazine, including "Best Up & Coming Talent" (once) "Best Clinician" (two times), "Best Educational Video/DVD" (two times), "Best recorded performance" (6 times) and "Best Progressive Rock Drummer" (for 12 consecutive years), and is also the second youngest person (at 37 years of age) to be inducted into the Rock Drummer Hall of Fame since Neil Peart was inducted in 1983 (at 31 years of age). And has most recently won The Spirit of Prog award from the 2009 Classic Rock awards with his band Dream Theater, where they were also nominated for Album of the Year for their release, Black Clouds and Silver Linings.

He has also been the catalyst for founding several other progressive rock groups and projects: Transatlantic, Liquid Tension Experiment, and O.S.I. (with former Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore), touring as well with Mexican drummer "Chucho" Dávila giving free clinic sessions to local Music Stores in Texas in 2005.

He has released three instructional videos, "Progressive Drum Concepts", "Liquid Drum Theater", which has won awards from Modern Drummer Magazine, and his latest "In Constant Motion". He has also released many "Official Bootlegs" on his website, including footage of the studio sessions for the Dream Theater albums Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Train of Thought, Octavarium and the Transatlantic release Bridge Across Forever. He has also released bootlegs of his tribute bands Hammer of the Gods (a Led Zeppelin tribute), Yellow Matter Custard (The Beatles), Cygnus and the Sea Monsters (Rush), and Amazing Journey (The Who).

On September 18, 2006 within his website's Forum Portnoy cagily stated that he had finally met one of his drummer heroes from youth from the band Rush; drummer Neil Peart (one of the few heroes from his youth Portnoy had never met, owing to Peart's legendary privacy), that "Neil and I have finally met and we spent some time together this week and had a great time..." [1], and that a possible collaboration was underway/had been discussed with the teasing statement of "Patience everybody... all will soon be revealed!" It has now been revealed that this meeting was for an interview Portnoy did for his stint as guest editor of Rhythm Magazine.[2] Portnoy had previously written the liner notes for the Japanese pressing of Rush's 2002 release Vapor Trails [3], but also publicly denounced Peart in 2000 after Peart called the people involved in the Rush tribute "bar bands" [2] It was later determined that it was a misunderstanding; Portnoy was not a part of the tribute band in question.

In the October 2009 issue of Rhythm Magazine, Portnoy was listed as #5 in their list of the Top 50 Drummers of All Time. [4]

He was also featured on VH1's Metal Mania. He drummed for the show's cover of Motorhead's Overkill.

On February 17, 2010, Avenged Sevenfold announced that Portnoy will be filling in for their former drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, who passed away in December. Portnoy was known to be Sullivan's all time favorite drummer, and has been quoted saying, "It would be an honor and, without question, that’s what Jim would have wanted." Portnoy will join Avenged Sevenfold in the studio over the next few months in order to record their upcoming album, which will be in Sullivan's memory.

Drum kits and percussive equipment

* When Dream and Day Unite/Images & Words Kit - This Tama Imperialstar (the previous model of the Imperialstar, unlike the 2007 Imperialstar, which is an entry level kit) kit and Zildjian cymbals which was bought originally by Portnoy himself through working three jobs. It was used until the end of the Images and Words tour when Mike Portnoy got signed by Sabian and Mapex. Also, this was tages and Words was recorded with an electronically triggered snare drum at producer David Prater's insistence.
* Awake/A Change Of Seasons kit - This Mapex USA Maple kit was used on the world tour supporting the album Awake. It had two bass drums, one snare, six toms, two small timbales, a section of various percussion instruments, and four Octoban-sized drums in a 2x2 formation. This marked Portnoy's first use of Octobans on a record, which were custom-made by Mapex using maple as opposed to Tama's more traditional acrylic, giving them a slightly different, more "natural" tone.
* The Purple/Green/Red Monsters - These were Tama Starclassic kits which marked Portnoy's signing with Tama in the late '90s after his endorsement deal with Mapex fell through (they took the kit he was using off the market, meaning that he was endorsing a product the public could not buy.) Used for the recording of Falling Into Infinity" and "Scenes from a Memory and the North, South American, and Asian tours for said albums, they are so named because of their striking color/white/color fade finishes. The reason for three identical drum kits were for two copies held in storage in different parts of the world to avoid the shipping costs one extremely large kit around the world; the "Green Monster" in use for European tours and a "Red Monster" for Asian-market touring. It is similar to the "Awake" kit but features many more cymbals, the left-side octobans in a four-inline configuration (as opposed to his last kit which held them in a 2x2 pattern) and two more "low"-tuned octobans on the right side of the kit held overhead of the floor toms. This kit also featured a snare drum with a foot-operated snare strainer mechanism which allowed for different snare drum sounds without having to use his hands to adjust it. On the Purple Monster Portnoy used DW 5000 Pedals, instead of the Iron Cobra Pedals. He also uses this kit in his 1999 Instructional DVD "Liquid Drum Theater".
* Liquid Tension Experiment kit - A comparatively modest kit used in his supergroup project Liquid Tension Experiment. The bass drum and toms of this kit (not the snare, timbales, and cymbals) were the first Portnoy ever purchased used according to an interview where he gave a tour of his basement and this kit showed up. This kit was also unique in that it used a pair of small timbales where the two smallest toms would normally be. It was otherwise a normal "seven piece" rock kit with three toms (five if you count the timbales), and a single bass drum with a double kick pedal. It marks the first time Portnoy uses a floor tom on either side of the kit for a recording (during footage from their Fan Club Show in 1998 featured on 5 Years in a LIVEtime, Portnoy's "Unplugged" kit contained a left-hand floor tom used heavily during that performance) with a 14" floor tom on the left and an 18" floor tom on the right. It is also the first time Portnoy used his MaxStax cymbal line in the studio. Portnoy notes in his Liquid Drum Theater instructional video that the reason behind the smaller kit is that when Liquid Tension Experiment went into the studio to record the first album, The Purple Monster kit was still being shipped back from some shows they had played immediately prior in Brazil.
* Transatlantic kit - The kit used to record and tour behind the first Transatlantic album was the same as the Liquid Tension Experiment kit, but with five regular toms. When recording and touring behind the second Transatlantic album, Portnoy added his new Melody Master snare drums for the first time and some different cymbals including a set of custom made 15" hi-hats. The smaller Melody Master displaced the 14" floor tom, which was moved back to the right of the kit for the Transatlantic recordings. For the filming of Portnoy's 2007 "In Constant Motion" instructional DVD set, the Transatlantic kit was reproduced in Tama drums' new line of acrylic shells named Starclassic Mirage in the "Black Ice" finish. However, the original recording was done with more traditional Starclassic wood drums.

* The OSI kit - Portnoy used the small (right) side of his Red Siamese Monster kit for the recording of the first Office of Strategic Influence album. For the second he downsized even more to a four-piece consisting of his signature snare, one timbale as a tom as previously used on his Liquid Tension Experiment kit, one floor tom, and a single 18" kick drum with a double pedal. However, he still insisted on using a large amount of cymbals including crashes, splashes, Max Stax and Max Splashes.
* Yellow Matter Custard kit - A specially designed set for use in Mike's Beatles tribute band, Yellow Matter Custard. It is modelled on Ringo Starr's kit, and is quite simple compared with his Dream Theater kits. Its in the sizes: 12"x8", 14"x14" & 20"x14". The cymbals are an 14" AA HiHat, an AA Crash on the left and a HH Crash/Ride on the right.
* Hammer Of The Gods kit - A John Bonham-replica kit that was used in Mike's Led Zeppelin tribute band. Custom-made acrylic shells were used (transparent amber), and the kit is always played while wearing the obligatory bowler hat.
* The Albino Monster - The previous kit used by Portnoy is similar to the Siamese Monster. Aesthetically, it is white with silver sparkle Majesty logos instead of the black/colored logos of the Siamese Monster. In layout it is almost exactly the same, the only differences being the right side of the kit mimics his earlier Hammer of the Gods kit; two of the timbales were removed, the 10" tymp-tom was changed to a 14", and the gong bass drum was replaced with a floor tom. He kept some of the cymbals from the right side of the Siamese Monster, including the 13" HHX Groove Hats, and the 19" Hand Hammered Fierce Crash, so there's more distance between the two sides in the Albino Monster, than there were in the Siamese Monster. So far it has been used for the Gigantour (a tour that Dream Theater participated in alongside Megadeth, Symphony X and several other bands) and throughout the Octavarium 2005-06 World Tour. The modification to the right side stemmed from sessions for Dream Theater's Octavarium album, where what began as an experiment became the inspiration behind most of Octavarium. When recording of Octavarium began, Mike brought along the Hammer of the Gods kit, resulting in the kit being used for part of the album: he ended up using it on five of the album's eight tracks. The kit utilizes larger "Rock" sizes, with a 14" rack tom, a 16" floor tom, an 18" floor tom, and a meaty 6.5" x 14" snare drum, much reminding of the drum sizes used by John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Additionally, Portnoy only used a few crash cymbals, and used a splash and china sparingly. When touring began, Tama had the shells changed to traditional Starclassic Maple shells, because they didn't want Mike touring with a kit featuring shells that Tama didn't mass-produce for public acquisition. The touring kit includes two new limited-edition Mike Portnoy signature snare drums with the same matching finish used on the rest of the kit. On Tama's official website, Portnoy released details about changes to the kit for his upcoming tours, beginning with G3 in March. He says the left side will stay the same, but the right side will change. The sizes will change to more conventional sizes-22" kick etc. and will have three rack toms as opposed to the 'Bonham'-size, one rack tom kit of before. Also, the shells would be Starclassic Mirage acrylic shells instead of the Starclassic Maple he has always used. He also used this kit in his DVD In Constant Motion.
* The Mirage Monster- Revealed at Gods Of Metal 2007, this kit is made up of two kits once again, except built out of Tama's new Tama Starclassic Mirage acrylic drums in clear "Crystal Ice" finish. The left side is virtually identical to his previous kit, except made with clear acrylic shells. The new configuration of the right side of his kit has replaced the "Bonzo Kit" of "The Albino Monster." His new right side of the kit includes: a 22" kick and 3 rack toms (8", 10", and 12") "so it's going to be a little more of a conventional, small kit." (Click on "Interview" link button) The snares used are his Signature Melody Master snares. He uses 2 12x5" steel snares (one on the right side of the kit as a main snare and one on the left as a side snare) and uses one 14x5.5" maple shell snare. These snares are the same snares used in the last 2 kits (Albino Monster and Siamese Monster) and they are in the original black color. This kit has been scaled down to a relatively small double-bass kit for several shows taking place in smaller venues.
* Black & Silver Monster[5]- Similar to the Mirage Monster, this kit is made up of two different kits, this time with the new Bubinga wood drums with a black and silver finish.

Several of Portnoy's drum kits also make use of Roland electronic drum pads. Mike uses these as what he calls the "secret cowbell", to count off the songs in a way that only his fellow band members and the technicians can hear it. An example of this can be seen on the Score DVD, where it can be seen in the background that Mike counts off the song "Under A Glass Moon" on the pad. Mike explains the use of these pads in the commentary track of the "Drum Cam Only" version of the Live At Budokan DVD, as well as the "Mike's Stage Tour" featurette on the Chaos in Motion 2007–2008 DVD.

Tama has marketed two different sized Mike Portnoy signature snare drums, known as "Melody Masters" (named after Melody, his daughter), since the late 1990s. The smaller of the two has a 12x5" steel shell and the larger has a 14x5.5" maple shell. Both snare models have a unique three way snare strainer mechanism.[6]. Portnoy and Tama have custom-made versions in various colors to match the color schemes of the kit he was using at the time (i.e. The "Purple/Red/Green Monsters", "Siamese Monster" "Albino Monster", etc.). For 2006, in recognition of his 'Albino Monster' kit, he released only 250 of these snares worldwide in a white, gloss finish. The older colour (black) is not limited edition.

Sabian has marketed three different sized signature cymbal stacks, known as "Max Stax" (named after his son, Max). They consist of a hand hammered china kang-style cymbal on top of a splash (or crash) cymbal that can be played much more like a drum than a cymbal, used much more in traditional drum fills than most quickly decaying cymbal tones. Their sizes are 8/8", 10/10" and 12/14". Sabian has also marketed odd-sized 7, 9, and 11" "Max Splash" cymbals which also have a fast decay and can be used in fills and drum patterns that have the same namesake.[7]

Mike Portnoy has endorsed Promark sticks since the early 1990s. His signature stick is the TX420N[8]. It is made of hickory 5A sized stick, with a white nylon 747 sized taper and has purple print to match the Purple Monster's motif. The "420" in the model number, which is also printed on the sticks, is a reference to his birthday (and not a marijuana reference, as has been suggested). He is known for gripping his left stick on the reverse side to attain a different sound on the snare drum. It should also be noted that he has a rather rare grip on his right stick, with it being held solely between the thumb and the index finger.

Present work

Mike Portnoy will be recording with Avenged Sevenfold on their new upcoming album, to stand in for the late Jimmy Sullivan. Mike stated that it would be an "honor".

Personal life

Mike and his wife Marlene are currently living in suburban Philadelphia (possibly in Chester County) with their children, Melody Ruthandrea and Max John.

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