New DREAM THEATER Drummer: ‘MIKE PORTNOY Is Not Coming Back’ To The Band

Radio Metal recently conducted an interview with Mike Mangini, the new drummer of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Radio Metal: It is clear in the “Spirit Carries On” documentary that you were the one who wanted to be in the band the most. Do you think that this played in your favor when they had to choose a drummer?

Mangini: Yes, it played in my favor — to a point. It played in my favor because my heart and my mind were aware. In other words, I was very alert. I showed up very prepared and skilled. Because I wanted to be in the band, I learned everybody’s parts. I was very respectful of everybody. Wanting to be in the band was like the seed of a tree. And everything that comes from a good seed is good. So it played in my favor because it made everything else easy for me. Where it did not play in my favor is that the band really could care less if twenty drummers wanted to be in the band, because they needed somebody that could actually play the best. I had a flawless audition, I had no mistakes. I’m the only person that played to that level, I think, and that’s why I was chosen.

Radio Metal: When a new member of a band is introduced to the fans, the reaction can sometimes be negative and even aggressive when replacing a much-loved member. However, according to the forums, it seems that you have been welcomed with much enthusiasm. Why do you think this is?

Mangini: I believe this is because I’m the thing of the fans. I believe they think I’m one of their family. I have demonstrated things to make them believe this my whole career. In other words, when the opportunity of being in DREAM THEATER came to me, I didn’t change the way I was. I’ve always liked Mike [Portnoy, former DREAM THEATER drummer], I’ve always been respectful of him, I’ve always like DREAM THEATER, I’ve always been respectful of them. I’ve always been a lover of drums and drumming, I’ve shared myself with the world. I sign every autograph, I talk to people. And I’ve been doing this for twenty years. So I didn’t become somebody different, and because DREAM THEATER fans are very knowledgeable, and because they appear to be very intelligent to me, I believe they did their research. I don’t have to pretend, they know me already, because I’ve demonstrated this my whole life. I think that’s why they’re comfortable with me.

Radio Metal: Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci [DREAM THEATER guitarist] have stated that it would be impossible for them not to play together again in the future considering the tight bond that links them. Do you feel as though there is an impending threat hanging over you?

Mangini: No, not at all. And the reason why is that I like Mike very much. He’s a friend. I now have new brothers in DREAM THEATER, and when you love somebody, you let them do what they need to do. So I don’t feel like it’s hanging over my head at all. I feel very comfortable I’m in the band for good. Mike‘s not coming back, and that’s the deal. I’m the drummer, and that’s the end of it. I feel confident of that. My confidence doesn’t come from being told that; it comes from the fact that I know I will continue to work hard for them to want me to be there.

Read the entire interview from Radio Metal.