Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with new DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Mangini. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Classic Rock Revisited: How does it feel to be a member of DREAM THEATER?
Mike: It is such a feeling of completeness for me. The way that I set up my drum kit is completely unique and I have never been in a band that understood how I did things. Each of the members of this band understands why I have everything set up the way I do. I feel like a piece of me is complete. It is like when you decide to go to college, you may study business but you end up playing soccer; you just don’t know how it is all going to fit together. I have found a home for all of the craziness of my playing. I’m really a fortunate person.
Classic Rock Revisited: You have played with some great people in the past and had some high-profile gigs. But this seems different.
Mike: It is different because everything is natural. I am talking from the things that I play, to the things that are asked of me, to the food we order, to the way we hang out and talk, and to the philosophies we share. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to be around like-minded people.
Classic Rock Revisited: You filled some big shoes in DREAM THEATER. Mike [Portnoy] was a great player and a fan favorite. Were you nervous?
Mike: The nerves didn’t get to me. I’ve had approximately 46 auditions in my past and I’ve won every one of them — that includes drum contests. I won from elementary school to state in high school to drum contests to trying out for bands. I think that is because I was the same person through all of them. I worry that someone is out there working harder than me; that makes me put my head down and try harder. When this situation came up, I was used to dealing with this type of a thing. What made this different was how I fit in. I had been practicing all of these years wondering where I would be able to use all of my skills. I had used most of them in one situation, or another, but I wanted a situation where I could use all of them. I couldn’t imagine not getting in DREAM THEATER. What was different this time was that I knew I had to get into this band.
Classic Rock Revisited: I was on the fence wondering what you would bring. When I heard the new album I was blown away. The band came back with a vengeance.
Mike: St. Thomas Aquinas said that we are all a potentiality. He’s not saying we have potential, he is saying that we are something already. He looked at it like we are a spiritual being and that we have potentiality for mankind to become better. That said, we are human beings and we can use our imagination and our creativity to become better. The guys in DREAM THEATER are those kinds of guys. The way I look at it with Mike is that Mike‘s interest was spread out into other areas besides the drums. He was into production and press and all kinds of stuff. My thing is the same as Jordan Rudess‘, John Myung‘s and John Petrucci‘s — we bury ourselves in practice and that is why this record came out like that. Five of us guys who think like that are all playing together. I didn’t compose on the record but I played. You have four people practicing their own instruments, and one guy trying to reach that one note, and they are using their imaginations and creativity to become better, and that is why the record came out the way it did.
Read the entire interview from Classic Rock Revisited.