Drummer Mike Portnoy recently rejoined Dream Theater after a 13-year absence from the band. Suffice to say, he’s lost none of his chops during that span, offering up an impressive drum playthrough of Dream Theater’s “Pull Me Under” in a new tutorial video.
The clip comes as part of a video package for the instructional drum platform Drumeo, which filmed the series with Portnoy just weeks after he announced his return to Dream Theater. A playthrough of the band’s well-known early number “Pull Me Under” — which Portnoy hadn’t played since leaving the band — was the first of the content to drop.
“I had such a blast at Drumeo!” enthused Portnoy on Facebook. “We filmed sooo much content that will slowly be revealed over the coming months …here’s the first of MANY songs/videos to come! I hadn’t played this song in over 13 years! The song that started it all for us…”
The 14-minute video is a thorough examination of “Pull Me Under” from Portnoy’s perspective behind the kit, and aspiring prog drummers will lap up his insight as he breaks down the song’s many turnarounds and compositional wrinkles.
Having played and performed the song countless times throughout his career, it doesn’t sound like Portnoy even had to practice before running through the song for Drumeo. In addition to highlighting specific sections of the song and some of the more difficult techniques he employs, the drummer also offers up a full, unabridged playthrough during the segment.
“It was only announced that I’m rejoining Dream Theater only a few weeks ago at the point of filming this, so for me to play this now, it’s kind of just like riding a bicycle,” he said. “The muscle memory is just there for life; it’ll be there forever.”
For Dream Theater fans, the video is an encouraging sign that Portnoy should seamlessly slot back into the band’s lineup — at least when it comes to performing songs from his era of the band. During a separate Q&A session at Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp’s “Metalmania III” (via Blabbermouth), Portnoy said he was unsure how the music written with previous drummer Mike Mangini would be incorporated into future setlists.
“It’s too soon to tell,” Portnoy said. “When I left the band 13 years ago, I was the one writing the setlist and things like that. So, we haven’t even discussed what the new dynamic is gonna be. I’m open to it, of course, so I surely would do it, if that’s what they wanna do. But it’s definitely gonna be a different dynamic.”
Below you can watch Portnoy performing “Pull Me Under” for Drumeo.