During the recent interview with The Eddie Trunk Podcast, Ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy made an important statement about the late Rush star, Neil Peart, who passed away and saddened all rock/metal community on 7th January 2020.

In the interview, Mike Portnoy has shown his respect and admiration to Neil and revealed the songs he would suggest to someone who never listened to him.

Eddie Trunk asked this:

“If somebody never listened to Neil play, what song would you direct them to?”

Mike Portnoy replied:

“For me, it’s always ‘La Villa Strangiato’. To me, ‘YYZ’ was such an incredible instrumental, but ‘La Villa Strangiato’ was, like, the epic instrumental.

If you could play that song, you were a great drummer, you know? That was always the ultimate challenge. So, for me, that was always the benchmark of Neil’s drumming. Also, anything from ‘Xanadu,’ ‘Jacob’s Ladder,’ ‘Freewill,’ ‘YYZ’… everything he played was a masterpiece.”

Mike Portnoy also revealed his first exposure to Rush and stated that he was just about 12 or 13 when he realized that Neil was his guy.

Here is what he said about it:

“I didn’t see them until the ‘Signals’ tour in 1982, so even though that’s almost 40 years ago, it still was a little later in the game than I wished.

I wished I had seen them a little earlier than that, but I kind of really got obsessed when ‘Moving Pictures’ came out. Up until ‘Moving Pictures’ I wasn’t really paying attention.”

He continued the story:

“Maybe I was at that age where I was ready – because I was about 12 or 13 and just starting to get into serious drumming at that point. So Neil was my guy. I just became completely obsessed and learned every solo inside out.

People would call me Mike Piertnoy at school – I used Pert shampoo, it was that level of obsession. I bought my first Tama drum set modeled after him, so yeah, those years probably between ’81 and ’82 to about ’86 or ’87 had a huge impact on me.”

Click here for the source.