Winery Dogs drummer and Dream Theater veteran Mike Portnoy has nothing but praise for Metallica's Lars Ulrich. It's become fashionable to dump on Ulrich's drum skills, but Portnoy — a member of the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame who's long been regarded as one of the most impressive players in rock — knows there's a lot more to a musician than sheer technical prowess, and he argues those who mock Ulrich's work are missing the point.

"I don't judge drummers based on their technical ability – I judge them based on the overall package and what they bring to the music they're part of," Portnoy explained during a recent interview with Sticks for Stones. "What Lars brings to the music of Metallica is absolutely invaluable. So I could care less if his meter might be slightly up and down, or if his fills are slightly sloppy. I don't care about that. There's way more to being a good drummer than precision and technique."

Continued Portnoy, "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lars, even though he takes a beating in the drum community. He's been a tremendous asset to Metallica — not only as a writer, but as a businessman, his abilities to market things, his ability to arrange music and his performance on stage. He's a very animated player onstage."

Portnoy's comments, which you can hear in their entirety above, are well-timed — they come several weeks after Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee used a viral meme to insult Ulrich's playing — but Portnoy has never been shy about expressing his admiration for Ulrich, whom he referred to earlier this year as his career "role model." With the Winery Dogs touring behind the recently released Hot Streak LP and Metallica working on their next album, they could have the opportunity to take their mutual admiration society on the road together sometime soon.

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