Mike Portnoy talked about his drum heroes and the beginnings of his musical journey, saying on Rock City Radio Show Berlin:
“From day one [I wanted to be more than just a musician in the background]. As soon as I picked up a pair of drumsticks, it was because I saw Keith Moon in the movie ‘The Kids Are Alright.’
“I was already listening to The Who, I was already a fan of ‘Tommy’ and ‘Who’s Next’ and ‘Live at Leeds,’ but I hadn’t seen Keith with my own two eyes until that movie came out. And that was around the same age when I actually got my first drum kit.
“So I think right out of the gates, I wanted to be that kind of drummer, that kind of performer where you’re like a lead instrument. I wanted to be somebody that was engaging the audience and entertaining, and I never wanted to just be the guy in the background.
“I was always kind of a frontman stuck behind the drum set. I loved Keith Moon and I even love people like Lars Ulrich from Metallica. I mean, he’s not the greatest drummer, and he’ll be the first to admit it, but I totally respect his showmanship and his energy and his leadership qualities.
“I think I always wanted to be that kind of drummer.”