From Mike Portnoy himself:
I knew my vocals in A Nighmare To Remember would surely spark some controversy…looks like I was right!
As The Count Of Tuscany once said:
“wait a minute man….that’s not how it is…let me please explain!”
1. The original melody that JP had to this section I felt did not work with the music. This section of the song has a really heavy, driving Judas Priest/King Diamond vibe musically…and JP had a melody that was more melodic and James’ high voice I felt REALLY softened up the music to this very important dramatic section of the song.
(mp3 not available for this example)
2. I really kept hearing a Mikael Akerfeldt type Opeth death growl (yes, cookie monster vocals – sorry Setlist Scotty!) Like em or hate em, the section was really calling for it to my ears (listen to the instrumental version and you’ll hear what I mean…)
The thought crossed my mind to ask Mikael himself to do it, but then I figured I’d end up having to do it live every night on tour, so it might as well be me on the CD….
So I gave it my best shot and here’s what it was:
In the end, JP and I discussed it and he just couldn’t hang with the cookie…he thought it was just TOO radical for DT fans to swallow…
3. So I agreed to try adding James doing a bit of a “counterpoint” to my cookie monster version to possible help soften the blow and add a little melody to the part….so here’s what it sounded like:
http://www.mikeportnoy.com/mp/ANTR MP & JLB.mp3
I did not dig this approach as
a) James’ clean vocals were still softening up the music to me
b) the counterpoint approach made it all too confusing and distracted from the drive of the music
4. So John and I went back to the idea of keeping my vocals for the section to keep it heavy and driving, but getting rid of the Opeth cookie monster approach and going for a more Robb Flynn/Machine Head approach instead (kind of like my “Constant Motion” voice)
In the end, that is what we went with:
I did indeed know that no matter what, we wouldn’t please everybody with the idea, but I really felt a “heavy” approach was needed to keep the heaviness of the section (and hey…look at Roger Waters, Wayne Coyne, Neil Young, Dave Mustaine, Jeff Tweety, James Hetfield, etc etc. the truth is *anybody* can sing…it’s all about having personailty and emotion in the expression… )
I know my voice my not be everybody’s cup of tea (especially the heavy side), but sometimes
a contrast to James’ cleaner vocals are needed with some of the heavy riffs and I believe “character” or “personality” in a voice is just as important in music and the expression of your art, it’s not always about virtuoso, operatic range…
Ultimately, if you really are bothered by em then I suppose you can at least thank me for making the instrumental mixes and isolated stems available!
PS – On a side note as this thread is really aimed to clear up my side of the street amongst the bashers: I must say the amount of hatred and negativity towards me on other DT “fan” sites is truly incredible (you know who you are)…my skin is not as thick as you may think!
It baffles me that as the member of DT (or any band for that matter) that must be one of the most fan-driven musicians in the industry, I am so slammed by our “fans”…while other artists (who will go unnamed) that could care less our fans are put on a pedestal….sorry, I am still human and can read these forums and it indeed hurts sometimes…
Please feel free to post this on those sites as well…