Labor Day weekend is behind us. For all intents and purposes, summer is over now that the kids have all returned to school. How many of them are happy about it? The answer to the question is also the name of a band of young musical prodigies…NEXT TO NONE!
If you are amongst the legion of Mike Portnoy fans, you have probably heard of Next To None. Portnoy serves the dual role of being the band’s producer and father to drummer, Max Portnoy, who is following in his father’s footsteps. As the saying goes…“the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Family ties aside, Max is a seriously talented drummer in his own right, as is the rest of this prog rock quartet comprised of 15 and 16-yr old renaissance kids.
Drumming seriously since the age of 8, Max has always loved writing and playing music with his friends. He is interested in art and robotics, and his passion for filming is something that he plans on focusing on when he goes to college.
Guitarist, Ryland Holland, has been playing piano for most of his life, and guitar and saxophone for several years. In addition to his passion for music, Ryland is an athlete who excels in numerous sports, and in his (limited) free time, the bi-lingual teen volunteers at a Mexican orphanage.
Bassist, Kris Rank, began playing guitar in 5th grade, and made the switch to bass when Next To None was formed. He is also interested in robotics and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society.
Lead Vocalist/Keyboardist, Thomas Cluce, has been playing piano since the age of 5, and also plays guitar and bass. Thomas plays everything by ear due to his dyslexia, but it hasn’t slowed him down at all. After seeing the Philadelphia Orchestra perform Star Wars theme songs at the age of 9, he was able to replicate every song within three days. Like the other members of Next To None, Thomas is more than just a talented musician. He performs at retirement homes, plays baseball, and is interested in physics, mechanical engineering, computer programming and robotics.
Mike Portnoy’s involvement has definitely given Next To None a leg up on other young artists, but make no mistake, these kids are truly talented prog rock musicians who write and play music that goes well beyond their years.
The band is currently working on their first full-length album, which (Mike) Portnoy describes as “running the gamut from brutal Slipknot riffs to beautiful, lush Porcupine Tree moments to totally insane prog stuff.”
Like any father/producer, he is also very proud of his son and the band…
“I know I’m biased, but this Next To None album is blowing me away! I haven’t been this impressed by a new prog metal band since Haken. The new songs that they’ve written are so incredibly mature and insane. They’re doing the sort of stuff at age 15 and 16 that I wasn’t doing in Dream Theater ‘til I was in my 30s! People are gonna be blown away by this album.”
Hard Rock Daddy will definitely be doing more on Next To None when the album comes out, but until then, click here to check out the band’s EP on Reverb Nation. If you’re a fan of Mike Portnoy’s colorful personality, you will definitely appreciate his role in the Next To None video below…