Paul Anthony of U.K.’s Rock Radio conducted an interview with vocalist James LaBrie of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER this past Wednesday night (May 18). Click on the audio player below to hear James talk about the departure of Mike Portnoy, the search for new drummer Mike Mangini and how much the band is looking forward to coming back to the U.K. for the High Voltage festival in July.
When asked about the status of the recording sessions for the follow-up to 2009’s “Black Clouds Silver Linings” album, LaBrie said, “Right now, I’m talking to you, and then, literally, within about a half an hour after we’re done talking, I’m going into the studio and I start doing vocals for the new DREAM THEATER. So I’m about six songs into the album. I’m recording up in Canada, and as I’m recording my vocals, Jordan [Rudess] is currently recording his keyboards, piano and putting on all his amazing sounds from his various software that he has, and he’s doing that down in New York. The drums, the guitar and the bass are all done, so it’s just a matter of Jordan and I finishing our parts, and the mix is to commence… I think May 30 or the 31st we’re supposed to start mixing the album. But it’s all going incredible and it’s all moving ahead. We’re looking at an early September release — somewhere around the 7th or the 10th, somewhere around there is the release indication at this point.”
In a recent interview with Music Radar, DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess were asked if Mangini contributed to the songwriting on the band’s forthcoming CD. “Mike didn’t write with us,” Rudess replied. “Basically, we got in the studio and did our thing. We wrote songs and sent them to him. He came in and just nailed his parts. He’s incredible. I’m finishing my keyboard parts right now, and I’ll go to the computer to see how things are lining up, and I’m just speechless. The guy doesn’t mess up!” [laughs]
“We had the demos, had them fully written out, and he learned them and added his own stuff,” Petrucci stated. “But every time he would do something, if I said, ‘Hey, can you do that again?’ he’d do it, and it would be perfect. The guy is… he’s out of his mind! [laughs] People are not going to believe how great he is.”
“But what’s really special about him is, he’s not just a technician,” Rudess added. “Yes, he plays his parts perfectly, but he comes at everything as a total musician. Everything he does has real soul and a depth of feeling.”
When asked how not having Mike Portnoy in the recording and writing process changed the band dynamic, Petrucci replied, “It was a lot quieter. [laughs] Mike Mangini‘s playing style is different. He plays very hard, but he’s got a very deep groove. He almost plays behind the beat just a little bit — even through he’s right on the money. He’s extremely locked in, but if he does do something technical, he’s still right there.”