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Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy reveals he nearly played a one-off gig with Nickelback

Legendary prog metal drummer Mike Portnoy has revealed that he nearly played a one-time show with Canadian rock outfit Nickelback.

  • READ MORE: 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums

During a recent appearance on education drum channel Drumeo, Portnoy – who has in the past performed with Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs and Avenged Sevenfold among other bands – revealed that he was contacted by Nickelback to fill in on drums for a gig in 2022 after their drummer wasn’t able to make a show.

For his appearance on Drumeo, Portnoy was tasked to perform a song he had never heard of, which turned out to be Nickelback’s ‘Burn It To The Ground’. Providing some backstory, Portnoy said: “Their drummer I guess was having surgery and they asked me to play a show with them. And I said ‘Yeah, that’d be a fun gig!’”

“I was all set to play this gig with Nickelback – it was for a festival – and the festival ended up getting canceled. But I was this close to playing a gig with Nickelback.”

Portnoy then added that he had received the setlist for the gig, but that ‘Burn It To The Ground’ wasn’t on it, and that he had never heard most of the songs on the intended show’s list: “Chad [Kroeger] sent me the set list. My daughter and my wife were like ‘You’re gonna know every one of these songs’ and I was like ‘I’ve never heard any of these songs!’ I don’t listen to the radio so I don’t know any Nickelback songs.”

Portnoy then proceeded to listen to a drumless version of ‘Burn It To The Ground’ before playing though his attempt, which was far busier on the kick drums than the original. After the performance, Portnoy said: “I’m sure if I ended up doing shows or touring with them, it’d probably be the most fun shows I would ever play in my life. So I kind of regret that the gig didn’t happen, but we got a little taste of what would’ve been.”

Watch Mike Portnoy’s attempt at Nickelback’s ‘Burn It To The Ground’ below.

In October, Dream Theater took to X to announce that Mike Portnoy was returning as the band’s drummer. In the same post, the band also announced that their updated line-up will be recording a new studio album together, marking the band’s first studio recording with Portnoy since 2009’s ‘Black Clouds & Silver Linings’.

Portnoy’s return reverts Dream Theater to their classic 1999 and 2000 lineup, which consists of Portnoy, singer James LaBrie, guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung and keyboardist Jordan Rudess. As this lineup, the band recorded six studio albums, from 1999’s ‘Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory’ to 2009’s ‘Black Clouds & Silver Linings’.

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