DARKANE Drummer Talks About His DREAM THEATER Audition

Greece’s Rock Your Life recently conducted an interview with drummer Peter Wildoer of Swedish metallers DARKANE. An excerpt from the chat follows below.

Rock Your Life: How did you experience the DREAM THEATER auditions? It was something new to everyone.

Peter: To me, it was something crazy. I was actually playing a gig in France on September 2010 with DARKANE and I received an email from [DREAM THEATER singer] James LaBrie asking me if I was interested in doing an audition for DREAM THEATER. A couple of days back I learned that Mike Portnoy has left the band. I replied that, of course, I am interested to play with the coolest band on the planet. The whole experience was crazy, and of course when I got the songs, to play those songs… its only about 30 minutes of music, but there is a lot of stuff going on in those songs. When I got them, it was about a month prior to the auditions and I practiced. I worked full-time. I had to practice during evenings, weekends. It was amazing, and I’m just so happy that I had the opportunity to be there in the audition.

Rock Your Life: Did you feel at any point that the competition was hard, maybe over the top?

Peter: Definitely! When I got the list [of all the drummers that were auditioning for DREAM THEATER], I just started laughing because on that list, many of those guys are my drumming heroes, my inspirations I turned to. I have all their books, their instructional DVDs… I mean, I ve been their fan for so long, and suddenly to be on the same list with those guys was just crazy. Before the auditions, I e-mailed all the other drummers telling them that whatever happens in that audition, I’m just very happy to be part of this. It’s actually quite amazing to send an email to drummers such as Virgil Donati and get an answer.

Rock Your Life: Then there was this documentary DVD release about the auditions (see clips below). Do you believe that this was a good move from the band or that these auditions should be kept “inside the DREAM THEATER family?”

Peter: To be honest, I actually thought that it was really cool! I had the opportunity to see what the other drummers did. I only wish there was more for everybody’s playing. I would have loved to see more from the other drummers as well. The whole thing was meant to be released as a bonus DVD for the band’s new studio album. We actually did not know that there was going to be a documentary on the Internet. It was kind of dramatic thing, but I was very happy to see the other drummers, the whole DREAM THEATER team, their management, the crew, and personally, I am very happy with what I did in the audition and how I sounded. I was one of the underdogs, one of the least-known drummers, and to me, this was a great opportunity and a great promotion… I mean, this video on YouTube has passed 1 million views so for me it was very important in terms of promotion.

Rock Your Life: Many people saw it like a TV reality thing. And it was more focused on Mike Mangini and Marco Minnemann.

Peter: Exactly, but I am fine with that. It was between those guys in the end, so I think that it was fair. I am totally fine with that.

Rock Your Life: Do you think that this DVD has captured the feeling of these auditions?

Peter: Yes! Actually, it is quite good, even though it has only a few minutes from every drummer. I think it has captured the whole spirit. To me, for example, I was there for more than four hours, but for sure it has captured what happened there. I can only talk for myself, as you can imagine, and I think it is a very cool documentary.

Rock Your Life: Despite the fact that you were the underdog, you have made it to the top 3. What did go wrong and you didn’t get the job?

Peter: There are a couple of things. To me, Mike Mangini was the perfect pick for DREAM THEATER. The guy was meant to be on DREAM THEATER, I can tell you that. From his playing to his approach to music, it is very similar to the other members of the band. He grew up listening to bands like RUSH, GENESIS — exactly the same stuff that [John] Petrucci and [Jordan] Rudess and the other guys in the band grew up listening to. As for me, I grew up listening to DREAM THEATER. I am 15 years younger than those guys. Also, I live in Europe and Mike Mangini lives in Boston, like two hours with the train from New York where the band is, except for James LaBrie, who lives in Canada. But I think that the main thing was what John Petrucci said on the documentary, that Marco Minnemann and Mike Mangini set a certain level of musicianship. They are amazing musicians and fantastic drummers, and personally I think that they showed this “stage presence.” I did what I usually do with DARKANE, things such as headbanging and to me it was a bit weird, because these two guys were standing calm playing the stuff.

Read the entire interview at Rock Your Life.