Mike Portnoy Tells His Real-Life ‘Spinal Tap’ Story
Mike Portnoy is such a great drummer, he can even rock on a child-sized Hello Kitty kit, but even he has his limits. The Winery Dogs member and Dream Theater vet shared a grisly example during an exclusive interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, explaining how a real-life Spinal Tap moment ended up sending him to the hospital.
"It's hard to pick just one, because everything that happened in that movie happens every single day on tour," said Portnoy, admitting he thought Spinal Tap was a real documentary the first time he watched it in the theater. Adding that he's personally experienced such indignities as falling off the stage and getting lost after leaving the dressing room, Portnoy settled on one particular memory from a 1997 European tour.
"It was the last song of the set," he recalls in the clip. "I just bit off more than I could chew with a fill, and I just thought I was Superman, and I was gonna do the fastest fill ever and I went around the toms. The next thing I knew, it felt like a muscle cramp — I looked down and my wrist was completely twisted the opposite direction. The palm of my hand was literally facing up while holding the drumstick. I completely dislocated my wrist, it spun around, and I just turned blue. It was the scariest thing I'd ever seen."
Rather than passing out in shock, Portnoy actually ended up playing the rest of the set — after attempting some impromptu medical treatment: "I had to bang my hand on the tom to try to snap it back into place. I played the rest of the song with one hand while my tech was putting it on ice. I got offstage, and sure enough, I had dislocated my wrist."
Even though he'd end up heading to the hospital and spending the rest of the tour in a brace, Portnoy first managed to make it back onstage for the encore. "The crowd was so great, I couldn't deprive them of the encore," he explained. "I went up and played the last song of the set one-handed — I figured if Rick Allen could do it, I could do it."
See 2015’s Biggest Rock News Stories
Slash Shares His Real-Life Spinal Tap Story