Mike 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 Revolver, Portnoy (Dream Theater, the Winery Dogs) was asked to name who he believes are the 11 greatest drummers of all time and named Alex, citing his imposing sound as one of the first things he was hooked on.
“He was playing a big, massive kid double bass kit. His double bass drumming was incredible,” said Portnoy. “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.”
Portnoy also praised the chemistry Alex had with his brother Eddie, something Portnoy could relate to while in Dream Theater with guitarist John Petrucci. He expands on that and more in the video below: