Max Portnoy’s essential Joey Jordison Slipknot playlist

If Mike Portnoy’s your dad, it’s safe to say that you’ve probably had a pretty solid education in the great and good of the drumming world.

So, when Max Portnoy names Joey Jordison as one of his greatest influences, you know this is high praise indeed for the late Slipknot man.

“Growing up, my parents would show me all sorts of different bands and artists, and Slipknot was one that I gravitated towards instantly and was always a favourite of mine for as long as I can remember,” Max explains. 

“Joey's drumming always stuck out to me and pulled me further into the music. He made me want to get behind my drum kit and play along to his songs. There was never a point in time where Joey wasn’t on my mind when someone asked me who my favourite drummer was.”

When pressed on what it was about Joey’s playing that grabbed him, Max notes the combination of groove and raw aggression.

“I think it was his extremely aggressive type of playing along with the groove that he added to all his parts. The sound of his drums were always super raw and passionate which I love. 

"It's something I stride for with my own drum recordings. On top of that, his performances were always high energy and captivating. As a performer, he was always someone I tried to emulate.”

Of course, having one of the world’s finest drummers as your old man has its share of perks, one of which being that Max managed to meet his drum hero during Slipknot’s All Hope Is Gone touring cycle.

He was super welcoming and treated me like family,” Max recalls. “I was really young at the time and for me to meet someone I looked up to and have him be as cool as he was, was something really special. 

"He gave me a pair of his sticks and had sent a box full of Slipknot merch to my house. I still have everything he sent me, and I won’t ever get rid of it. I'm forever grateful for those experiences, and they're something I won't forget for the rest of my life.” 

Given his status as a Joey super-fan, we set Max the ultimate task – to name his top five essential Joey Jordison tracks. Here’s what he came up with…

1. Welcome - Slipknot (Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses)

"This is one of my favourite songs when it comes to Joey's drumming. It's definitely one of the most underrated Slipknot tracks and I could never understand why. 

"The drumming is extremely aggressive and fast paced, and the drum part at the beginning of the song is equally technical and memorable, which is a combination that's tricky to pull off. 

"Volume 3 will always be my favourite Slipknot record. Even if I might listen to the Iowa or the self titled more sometimes, I believe Vol 3 has the best songwriting and drum parts of any metal album. 

"Welcome was a track that blew me away as a younger kid and was one of the more complicated drum parts I learned growing up."

2. Liberate - Slipknot (Slipknot)

"This is a song I always go back to and can never figure out what's going on in the verses. When I first listened to it, it sounded like a simple groove but once I tried playing it myself, I realised the syncopation is actually really hard to get down. 

"It all stems from the high hat hits on the upbeats. It's almost like the exact opposite of what you want to play and it amazed me how Joey can do these small complicated things with his beats that the listener won't pick up on unless they pay close attention. It's something admire as a drummer and songwriter." 

3. Prelude 3.0 - Slipknot (Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses)

"This one is a bit different from what you'd expect from Joey and that's why I love it. The drumming has so much feel behind it. Every accent and fill is exactly what you want to hear and it's so memorable. 

"It suites the song perfectly while being creative with its fills and style choice. It’s songs like Prelude 3.0 that do it for me the most. Everything he does in that song is perfect. It's exactly what you want to hear. 

"The fills and all the accents flow perfectly and are super memorable. There is so much feel behind the drum parts in that song, and it just elevates the entire track. The end of "Surfacing" from the self titled feels the same way, in terms of how memorable and perfect the fills and changes he makes are."

4. Disasterpiece - Slipknot (Iowa)

"It's hard to just pick one song off this album, but Disasterpiece is a great example of what makes Iowa one of the best metal albums ever. The drumming is in your face and hits hard. 

"What I love most is what I say about a lot of his parts, but it's so memorable. I know every single fill, every accent, it all fits perfectly and has so much anger behind it."

5. The Blister Exists - Slipknot (Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses)

"I'd feel like this wouldn't be a complete list if I didn't include this song. It's honestly the song that made me idolise Joey and his drumming the most from a young age. The big thing is obviously the drum cadence in the middle of the song. I hadn't heard anything like it before and it blew me away. 

"If anyone is curious to hear Joey's drumming for the first time, this might be the one to start with. I think Joey was a big influence for me and tons of other drummers from my generation because of how he approached music. 

"He had so much aggression and passion behind his playing, and you could clearly feel it through the recordings. He took playing drums and made it into something more. He used drums express his emotions and thoughts instead of just using it as a tool to play music with.

"And on top of all of that, he was a songwriter and big driving force behind his band. It made me feel like I could do more as the drummer rather than just be the backbeat of the band. 

"Anytime he performed, he became a major focus of the show, and that's what I find admirable. I stride for that with myself because of him, and I think many other people feel exactly the same."

Rich Chamberlain

Rich is a teacher, one time Rhythm staff writer and experienced freelance journalist who has interviewed countless revered musicians, engineers, producers and stars for the our world-leading music making portfolio, including such titles as Rhythm, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, and MusicRadar. His victims include such luminaries as Ice T, Mark Guilani and Jamie Oliver (the drumming one).