Ave, Portnoy! A Change of Seasons

change of seasons
Dream Theater, A CHANGE OF SEASONS (Eastwest, 1995)

This morning, immediately prior to my 9:30 seminar, several students and I started talking about the sheer brilliance and super-human tenacity of Mike Portnoy.  This guy just never ceases to amaze me.  Watching him play on the fantastic new Flying Colors DVD just reminded me yet again of what a master musician the guy is.

He brings so much to the art, all of it good.

I even admire his temper, especially when he uses it righteously.  He simply does not suffer unprofessional foolishness.  The world would be in much better shape, frankly, with a million more like Portnoy.

After the fond discussion with my students about Portnoy, I pulled out an EP from twenty years ago, A CHANGE OF SEASONS.  Of course, a very young Portnoy wrote the lyrics and the rather moving story for this twenty-three minute epic.  It tells the tale, somewhat symbolically, of the education of a child—formally in the classroom as well as informally in the halls of school—and the loss of a beloved parent.  Much of the story reflects the then crazily popular Robin Williams film, Dead Poets Society, and the epic even samples from the movie.

When A CHANGE OF SEASONS first came out, I listened to it (as well as Spock’s Beard, THE LIGHT) obsessively.  Lights out, headphones on.  Picking it up today, it sounds as fresh to me know as it did two decades ago in Bloomington, Indiana.  Once again, I am in awe of Mike Portnoy and in his debt.

2 thoughts on “Ave, Portnoy! A Change of Seasons

  1. Bryan Morey

    Portnoy is amazing. I respect him probably more than anyone else in the music industry. His work ethic and motivation are remarkable. I actually just listened to A Change of Seasons last night. I saw somewhere that it was the anniversary of something connected to the album, but I’m not sure what. I assumed it was either the anniversary of the EP itself, or the tragic anniversary of his mother’s death. When MP shared that story earlier this year (my first time hearing it), I was shocked. A great reminder to always let your family know you love them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Could NOT agree with You MORE on this post Brad!!! As I’ve ALWAYS stated…….I’m a Neil-Peart LOVER!!! I Love the man’t THINKING,his lyrics,his drumming-style,etc. but that is certainly NOT to say,that I can’t ALSO appreciate OTHER creative,drumming minds as well!!! Such as Mr. Portnoy’s!!! I’ve never been a Dream-Theatre Lover at all,and have ONLY listened to a small portion of what this band has to offer,but after watching NUMEROUS Portnoy-video’s where he’s drumming for special-events (Like Drum-Daze) or for other bands,etc…….watching him play,is THRILLING and EXCITING for me to watch,as he always gets into this “groove” that gets LODGED in my head,for days and days,always LEAVING me wanting MORE!!! Lol. A true Gentleman indeed!!! 🙂



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