Watch MIKE PORTNOY Playing VAN HALEN’s Songs On ALEX VAN HALEN’s 2012 Drum Kit

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Alex Van Halen‘s drumming has profoundly shaped the landscape of modern music and performance. The Van Halen drummer’s distinctive style, rhythmic innovation, and iconic drum sound are deeply embedded in the DNA of the music we enjoy today. Moreover, his elaborate and customized drum sets have undoubtedly influenced a generation of young drummers, encouraging them to expand their kits with additional drums or cymbals or to create their own unique, custom drum setups.

In honor of Alex Van Halen‘s prestigious 2023 induction into the Modern Drummer Hall Of Fame, the magazine is thrilled to present an exclusive video series that pays tribute to Alex‘s remarkable career and enduring legacy. The series was filmed at the IronShore Studios in Grand Cayman and features interviews and performances by three of today’s most recognized drummers playing on Alex‘s actual 2012 custom touring drum set, built by the great John Douglas.

The third episode features Dream Theater‘s Mike Portnoy, who joins Modern Drummer to share his passion for Van Halen‘s music and discuss his how Alex Van Halen shaped him to be the drummer he is today. After the interview, Mike takes to Alex‘s drum set, delivering a dynamic performance of several iconic Van Halen tracks. He also deconstructs some of his favorite Alex Van Halen drum grooves.

Last year, Portnoy named Alex Van Halen as one of the most influential rock drummers of all time and a major influence on his own style. In a video for RevolverPortnoy stated about Van Halen: “He was playing a big, massive kid double bass kit. His double bass drumming was incredible. The drumming on the first four or five, even six Van Halen albums — all the early David Lee Roth albums — the drumming on every one of those albums is incredible and had a huge influence on me. My first band that I was playing with, when I was a teenager, we did all Van Halen covers.”

Modern Drummer is the world’s No. 1 publication on drums and drumming — loud and proud, and representing all styles and skill levels since 1977.

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