A couple of weeks back, 'True Blood' fan and Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy stopped by the Noisecreep offices – not long after the launch of the band's Progressive Nation tour with Zappa Plays Zappa, Scale the Summit and Bigelf – to talk to us about a number of things. Like what? Well, he spoke with us about the band's newest album, 'Black Clouds and Silver Linings,' and its recent explosion into the Billboard Top 10.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the interview came when we asked Portnoy, who we also discovered is a huge Howard Stern fan (props!), about the bands who have followed in Dream Theater's wake – bands that have cited his own work as having been influential on theirs. A band like Opeth, for instance, who acknowledge Dream Theater as an influence. Does that make Mike proud?

"I love the bands that cite us as influences but don't sound like Dream Theater," he says. "I mean, through the years, I've seen hundreds of bands that have come along in the wake of Dream Theater's success that are kind of 'progressive metal bands' and they just ... sound like us. And that's flattering and everything, but I'd rather hear bands take our influence but do their own thing. So, when I hear bands like Opeth, or Stone Sour, or Trivium, or some of the guys in Slipknot – when they cite us as an influence, but they don't sound anything like Dream Theater, to me, that's the best compliment."


Portnoy later told us about how he's seeing longtime fans, who've been champions of the band since they first started some 20-odd years ago, coming to shows with their sons, passing the band on, in a sense, to a new generation of progressive rockers.

"We're seeing the second generation of Dream Theater fans, and it's for two reasons ... the first is, all of our existing fans that have been with us for 20 years or whatever, they're now adults in their 30s or 40s or whatever. Now, they have children of their own, so now we see this next generation coming to the shows," Portnoy says. "But then, the other side is, I think we still stay modern. I think we still appeal to a lot of younger kids that are only just discovering us all these years later."

And when can those fans, both young and old, expect Dream Theater's next LP? Portnoy says it's a way off, but that "there's never a shortage of Dream Theater material, and I'm the one that oversees the archives, and constantly churns out stuff." He said that a studio album is still some years away, but that the band generally issues "a live release every two years on the opposite year of the studio album, not to mention the fact that I usually oversee at least four official bootlegs every year, and then we all have side projects. There's just countless projects that are always in the works. Right now we're focusing on 'Black Clouds and Silver Linings.' We'll be touring off that, but inevitably, by the end of the tour, sometime in 2010, I'll start thinking of what to fill in the blanks with until the next studio release."

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