Mike Portnoy Honors Neil Peart on Toy Drum Kit with Loudwire

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Drummer Mike Portnoy of Sons of Apollo (and many other groups) collaborated once again with Loudwire on a hilarious, yet respectful, tribute to late drummer Neil Peart.

Neil was a massive influence on Mike Portnoy, and the rock drumming community at large through the end of the 20th century.

As with tradition, Mike attempts to play classic Rush tunes on a small kids drum set. Watch below.

As expected, Loudwire messed up his rider once again. In past sessions with the publisher, he rose above, playing now-iconic drum sets like the Pokemon and Hello Kitty kits. He did so once again.

“F***in’ Loudwire. Here we go again. First, with the Hello Kitty, then the Pokemon [kit]. Just when I thought I was done, they pull me back in.”

“Neil was one of my biggest heroes of all time, and this what you give me to work with. You couldn’t have had the double-bass kit, the concert toms, the tubular bells, the gongs? Neil would be really upset about this, you know?”

It should go without saying, but the video is in jest — it’s satire at its finest.

Portnoy’s return to Loudwire to play iconic drum tunes is now a staple to their YouTube channel, and it’s delightful to see one dedicated to his favorite drummer.

Mike begins his performance with the iconic YYZ — an instrumental tune inspired by the sounds of the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Ontario, CA. 

Not surprisingly, the kit provided by Loudwire is inadequate. Just seconds into the intro of “The Spirit of Radio,” the floor tom falls off. 

“Serenity now. This is Livewive. I like Livewire. I’ll place nice. This is for Neil. Be respectful. Not going to lose my sh*t. Keep it together, Mike.”

During 2112, the snare falls off its stand, as well.

As with tradition, Portnoy begins the name that tune, covering some album cuts like Cygnus X-1, Lakeside Park, The Body Electricand By-Tor and the Snow Dog.

The video wraps in a more serious tone with Mike, noting that he didn’t want to “make light” out of the situation.

Mike Portnoy

Portnoy, along with many close to the Rush team, knew about Peart’s brain tumor before his death on January 7, 2020.

“To get serious for a moment, we are going to auction this [toy drum set] off. I’m going to sign it, and the proceeds for this are going to go towards brain cancer research. I just wanted to say, Neil, rest in peace. You’ll always be my hero, and I love you. Thank you for everything.”

If you want to bid on the toy drum kit signed by Portnoy, check out the eBay listing here. The auction runs until Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 10 AM Eastern. 

All proceeds from the sale go towards the American Brain Tumor Association.

Following Neil’s death, Portnoy was vocal online in support of his passing, sharing his thoughts on social media and in a mournful piece with Billboard.

An outcry of support rang loudly in January from drummers across the globe who were influenced by his playing. 

The Loudwire video is a perfect tribute to Neil from Mike Portnoy. A bit of jest bringing laughter is always positive following a sad event.

If you enjoyed that video, don’t miss his first Loudwire collaboration, featuring a beautiful Hello Kitty drum kit, complete with Mike’s favorite Orange Star cymbal.

Nick Cesarz

Nick is a drummer, percussionist, and blogger from Milwaukee, WI. He toured extensively with Vinyl Theatre, opening up for acts like twenty one pilots, Panic! at the Disco, and more. Now no longer touring, his passion lies in gear and playing the kit as much as time allows.

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