Mike Portnoy has described musician Bill Sheehan as one of the best bass players of all time, comparing him to guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen for pioneering the bass.
Portnoy was describing his all-time favorite bass players for Music Radar when he talked up Sheehan who plays bass with him in two bands: the Winery Dogs and PSMS.
"Billy is probably my favorite bass player of all time," says Portnoy. "I used to sneak into clubs when I was a teenager in the early '80s to see him play with Talas. He pioneered the bass in the same way that Hendrix and Van Halen pioneered the guitar. He and I first played together on the Rush tribute album Working Man in 1995 and then again in my Who tribute band Amazing Journey in 2006."
Other bassists listed by Portnoy as his favorite rhythm partners ever include Pete Trewevas from Transatlantic ("One of the most underrated bass players in the world") and Flying Colors' Dave LaRue ("Possibly the most consistent and reliable bass player I've ever worked with").
Portnoy is particularly enamoured with prog legend Tony Levin. "Tony is another pioneer of the instrument and a bass legend. Who else can claim to have played with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, Pink Floyd and Yes?" said Portnoy, who adds that Levin is constantly "walking the incredible balance between being a tight, pocket player and being a cutting-edge, experimental improvisational player he can do it all!"
Who would you list in your dream rhythm section? Let us know about your favorite prog bassists in the comments.