The following story by Andrew Lentz has been reprinted with permission from DRUMmagazine.com.
After enduring a six-month-long gag order, Mike Mangini has finally come clean about the DREAM THEATER audition process and the hoops he jumped through to land the coveted drum chair. With Mangini going up against the world’s most ridiculously dexterous drummers, the competition was fierce to say the least. We reached the world’s fastest drummer and former STEVE VAI sideman last Friday, at his home in Boston, only hours after Dream Theater revealed Mangini as their new drummer. He graciously squeezed in our extended conversation while celebrating the good news with his family – so here is the very first long-form interview Mangini granted following the band’s announcement.
DRUM!: What did you have that Thomas Lang (JOHN WETTON, ROBERT FRIPP, GLENN HUGHES), Marco Minneman (KREATOR, NECROPHAGIST, EPHEL DUATH, JOE SATRIANI), Virgil Donati (PLANET X, SEVEN THE HARDWAY), Derek Roddy (HATE ETERNAL, NILE, TODAY IS THE DAY), Aquiles Priester (ANGRA, PAUL DI’ANNO) and Pete Wildoer (DARKANE) didn’t?
Mangini: “I may have been chosen for the way that I hit those drums with respect to meshing the pre-existing drum parts with embellishments of them at times when I wanted to orchestrate something I was hearing one of the other bandmembers playing. I don’t know of any other reason it could be because every one of those drummers can do something uniquely ’the best.’ By the way, I think of this as wanting to be in a marriage, not a ’gig’ in the normal sense of that term. With regard to my sound, I took time to examine what I sound like from outside of myself on the drum set via a video camera. Based on what I didn’t like that I did and what I could now do as the result of a repaired right knee, I’ve been working on to strike with more power than it appears I am and how to not rush figures like I used to. Those things must have added up into what works for Dream Theater. I was a step ahead of everything I was asked to do. Everything. I got all those tests straight off after writing them on a piece of scrap paper – bang! – and I played every note in every song (to the best of my knowledge) along with also knowing every note everybody was playing. In addition to jamming and getting all the tests very naturally, one difference between everyone and me may have been the fact that I played Portnoy’s parts with the infusion of the others’ parts. I played the beats Mike recorded, but I also added a triplet here and there if Rudess or Petrucci played a triplet. The core of it all is that I love what Dream Theater recorded. I still want to play the song as it is recorded. It is like preserving Mike’s legacy and I take that very seriously.”
It has been just revealed in Part 3 of DREAM THEATER’s web series, The Spirit Carries On – which chronicles the audition process behind the band’s search for drummer Mike Portnoy’s replacement – that drummer Mike Mangini (STEVE VAI, EXTREME, ANNIHILATOR) is the band’s new drummer!
Says Dream Theater James LaBrie – “This is one of the most important decisions in our career and sorry to have to make you wait and I’m sure it’s been extremely stressful. Nonetheless, we have some news for you and we would like to welcome you to the family.”
Check out the video below:
Mike Leonard has been directing the web series, The Spirit Carries On and he says there is going to be a DVD release of the series available with the band’s new album.
The drummers in contention were Aquiles Priester (ANGRA, PAUL DI’ANNO), Peter Wildoer (DARKANE), Virgil Donati (PLANET X, SEVEN THE HARDWAY), Derek Roddy (HATE ETERNAL, NILE, TODAY IS THE DAY), Thomas Lang (JOHN WETTON, ROBERT FRIPP, GLENN HUGHES), Marco Minnemann (KREATOR, NECROPHAGIST, EPHEL DUATH, JOE SATRIANI) and Mangini.
Dream Theater live:
4 – Rome, Italy – Ippodromo Capanelle
5 – Verona, Italy- Villafranca Castle
6 – Winterthur, Switzerland – Eishalle Deutweg
8 – Metz, France – Sonishpere
9 – Loreley, Germany – Night Of The Prog Festival
10 – Weert, Netherlands – Bospop Festival
12 – Moscow, Russia – Crocus City Hall
13 – Kiev, Ukraine – Sports Palace
17 – Porto, Portugal – Coliseum Of Porto
19 – Tel Aviv, Israel – Exhibition Grounds
22 – Doncaster, UK – Doncaster Dome
23 – Wolverhampton, UK – Wolverhampton Civic
24 – Victoria Park, London, UK – High Voltage Festival
27 – Vienna, Austria – Gasometer
28 – Katowice, Poland – Spode
29 – Mala Skala, Czech Republic – Enatska Noc Festival
According to Eddie Trunk — co-host of the VH1 Classic television program “That Metal Show” who has a long-running radio show, “Friday Night Rocks”, on New York’s Q104.3 FM — Mike Mangini, the 47-year-old session artist who has played for ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE and STEVE VAI, is strongly rumored to have joined DREAM THEATER as the replacement for the recently departed Mike Portnoy.
Mangini is notorious for his technical prowess and holds three out of four World’s Fastest Drummer titles. These include the Fastest Matched grip at 1,247 strokes in 60 seconds; Fastest Hands, which he earned by executing 1,203 single-stroke notes in 60 seconds without drumsticks mallets etc.; Fastest Traditional Grip which he earned by executing 1,126 strokes in 60 seconds; and Fastest Single Stroke Foot record, playing 13,222 hits in 15 minutes and 5,222 hits in five minutes.
Mangini has written two books about his drumming techniques. These books, titled “Rhythm Knowledge”, are a practice method for deconstructing and simplifying complex polyrhythms and time signatures.
Mangini joined ANNIHILATOR in 1991 and appeared on the band’s “Set The World On Fire” album. He toured with the group in support of the CD until 1994 at which point he was asked to play with the Massachusetts band EXTREME, replacing that group’s original drummer Paul Geary.
After EXTREME dissolved in 1996, Mike was informed through drummer Jonathan Mover that guitarist Steve Vai was auditioning drummers for his live band. Mike successfully auditioned for Steve Vai’s band and relocated to Los Angeles.
From late 1996 to early 2000, Mangini was the highly regarded drummer of Vai’s live ensemble, which also included bassist Philip Bynoe, guitar wizard Mike Keneally and (in 2000) guitarist Dave Weiner. Mike also recorded several drum tracks for Steve’s “Fire Garden” and “Ultrazone” albums.
In 2005, Mike accepted a full-time teaching position at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and today he is a prominent faculty member in the school’s percussion department.
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 20 years ago, abruptly quit the band last summer while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD.
He played on AVENGED SEVENFOLD’s latest album, “Nightmare”, following the death of that band’s drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, and toured with them in late 2010 .
Ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy has revealed that he made a recent attempt to rejoin his former bandmates but was rebuffed by the group he formed and led for 25 years. Writing on his official forum, Portnoy states, “Just for the record, this is indeed true..
“Fairly recently, I reached out to the guys to try and make amends and offered to reconcile for the sake of having peace back in our lives… (plus I know how much it meant to a lot of the fans…)
“I figured it was still possible to try and save us, because they hadn’t made any announcements yet or begun any public activity with another drummer… but sadly, they declined my offer (well, actually their lawyer did… they didn’t even tell me themselves….)
“Sorry, gang, I honestly gave it my all…
“So now the fans on my Twitter and Facebook can please stop asking me to go back to DREAM THEATER… I tried, and the door is now shut… The ball is now in their court, not mine…
“I’m not crying or looking for mercy by posting this… I am merely trying to set the record straight as that is always the most important thing about my relationship with you guys… No BS, no spins, nothing to hide… and for better or for worse, I tell it like it is… I’ve also recently seen some people accuse my online activity of ‘looking for attention or media coverage,’ or ‘looking for sympathy,’ but it’s honestly none of the above… I merely value having an open and active communication with my fans… Always have, always will… It is the cornerstone of everything I’ve done since day #1 with DREAM THEATER…
“This was posted here FOR YOU GUYS to know about… here on MY message board on MY website… If it ends up on Blabbermouth or wherever else, that is THEIR choice to spread, I did not request it or send out a ‘press release’…
“Anyways, onward and upward…
“I’ve got a lot of great music and ideas waiting to come out of me and alot of exciting collaborations in the works….so goodbye 2010…bring on 2011!”
AVENGED SEVENFOLD issued a statement late on Friday (December 17) regarding the dismissal of Portnoy, who played on the band’s latest album, “Nightmare”, and toured with them during the past year following the death last December of original drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. The band’s statement read in part, “For the past few months, we’ve been blessed with Mike Portnoy‘s talent and humanity. When Mike agreed to tour with us, it was only through the end of 2010. We always knew we’d need to find another solution for 2011 and beyond. And it’s time for us to take that next step.”
As for why Portnoy himself was not their man, the statement said, “[Portnoy] is a brilliant writer, producer and, of course, drummer. Because of that, the world and we would always see it as AVENGED SEVENFOLD with Mike Portnoy. We take a lot of pride in AVENGED SEVENFOLD being about something greater then any individuals.”
Portnoy himself broke the news via his Facebook page on Thursday, following several days of rumors about his status.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD frontman M. Shadows told The Pulse Of Radio that the band was not happy about the public way in which Portnoy‘s split with DREAM THEATER was played out, which may have soured Portnoy‘s relationship with AVENGED. “We were actually a little more shocked,” M. Shadows said. “We felt that maybe both parties could have handled it a little more internally without being so press release-happy about what had happened between them. Because we’re a band that, really, when it comes to news all over web sites or this or that about bands, you know, we don’t tweet much, we don’t try to put ourselves out that much, and all the drama and controversy wasn’t something that we wanted at all.”
In an interview over the weekend with LA Weekly, AVENGED manager Larry Jacobson said, “The plan had always been for Mike Portnoy to play with the band through 2010. Nothing changed there but it was confusing (because) Mike gave interviews suggesting he may be touring with the band beyond 2010.”
DREAM THEATER vocalist JAMES LABRIE has issued the following update:
“It is very difficult for what I am about to say. The Static Impulse tour has been cancelled due to some unfortunate, unforeseen difficulties with securing work visas for a couple of the guys. It would be virtually impossible for us to have these visas processed on time to begin the tour let alone the rehearsals which were scheduled for the week prior to the first show.
I don’t know what to say other than we are all in shock and can only hope we can make this a reality at some point in the near future. I am really sorry to everyone who has gone out and purchased the meet and greets and show tickets. This totally sucks and I’m sure you’re all quite upset and have every right to be. I can only ask for your understanding and forgiveness and assure you that when we are in a position (hopefully in the near future ) to tour all of this will have been taken care of well in advance or it just won’t happen.”
The aforementioned North American tour had been scheduled to run November 26th to December 20th.
On the heels of the release of his latest opus, ‘Static Impulse’, JAMES LABRIE has finally announced his return to the stage as a solo artist and will embark on a North American tour this winter! The DREAM THEATER vocalist has released two releases in a side project dubbed MULLMUZZLER and two solo releases including 2005’s ‘Elements of Persuasion’ and the latest masterpiece ‘Static Impulse’ which was released last week via InsideOut Music.
LABRIE comments: “Hello Everyone, Matt, Marco, Peter, Ray and I are extremely psyched to announce a tour in support of the new album ‘Static Impulse’. Everyone that played on the disc will be on stage. This is going to be a very powerful and memorable evening. Just us and the fans doing what we both love doing. You will hear songs from MullMuzzler, EOP and of course the latest, Static Impulse. Come out and support this US/ Canada tour and let’s have a blast. We will hit you like a sledgehammer, but I promise it won’t hurt… See you out there. Goooooooooo!!!!! James.”
Tickets for the trek go on sale today exclusively via EnterTheVault.com where fans can purchase both regular and VIP tickets for the trek. VIP packages include entrance to the venue 1-hour early, a meet-and-greet with JAMES LABRIE and a signed tour poster!
Longtime collaborator MATT GUILLORY added: “James, Marco, Ray, Peter, and myself are all really excited about touring the US and Canada in support of our new album Static Impulse. The response we’ve been getting since the album was released has been so amazing. We can’t wait to play this stuff live. This is going to be a lot of fun. We look forward to seeing everybody on the road!”
‘Static Impulse’ was produced by LABRIE and GUILLORY with mixing and mastering being handled by the mighty JENS BOGREN (OPETH, KATATONIA). Fans can download a free MP3 of the song “Mislead” as well as purchase the album at the following location: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/specials/jameslabrie/
A special, limited edition version of ‘Static Impulse’ and t-shirt are available via CMDistro.com.
TOUR DATES Nov 26 – Charlotte, NC – Tremont Music Hall
Nov 27 – Raleigh, NC – Volume 11
Nov 29 – New York, NY – Gramercy Theater
Nov 30 – Philadelphia, PA – The Trocadero
Dec 02 – Montreal, QUE – Club Soda
Dec 03 – Toronto, ONT – Opera House
Dec 04 – Detroit, MI – Blondies
Dec 06 – Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s
Dec 07 – Chicago, IL – Reggie Rock Club
Dec 08 – Minneapolis, MN – Station 4
Dec 10 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
Dec 11 – Portland, OR – Berbati’s Pen
Dec 14 – Los Angeles, CA – Key Club
Dec 15 – Ventura, CA – Ventura Theater
Dec 16 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theater
Dec 18 – San Antonio, TX – Backstage Live
Dec 19 – Dallas, TX – Trees
Dec 20 – Houston, TX – Scout Bar
Toronto native James LaBrie is regarded as one of the most influential prog metal vocalists of the last 20 years. His significance as the commanding front man of progressive giants Dream Theater, is without question. He joined the trailblazing fivesome in 1992 and has since recorded eleven studio albums with the band.
Besides being in the spotlight for the prog rock force from New York, LaBrie has launched an impressive solo career. Static Impulse is his first solo effort in over five years, and this latest masterpiece is by far his heaviest to date, revealing astonishing new facets of LaBrie’s music and sure to please his legion of die-hard fans while winning over many new devotees in the process.
LaBrie’s musical inspiration comes from many different genres, including such artists as Sebastian Bach, Metallica, Ludwig van Beethoven, Nat King Cole, Queen, Sting, and Muse. One listen to Static Impulse and it becomes quickly apparent that LaBrie’s influences run far and wide and that he’ll be entertaining us all for years to come.
1. One More Time
2. Jekyll Or Hyde
5. Over The Edge
6. I Need You
7. Who You Think I Am
8. I Tried
9. Just Watch Me
10. This Is War
12. Coming Home
Dream Theater’s JAMES LABRIE is easily one of the defining, elite and naturally talented vocalists the world has to offer and after selling over a million albums worldwide he further challenges himself with an aggressive and dynamic new solo effort. Go to http://www.insideoutmusic.com/specials/jameslabrie/ to get a FREE MP3 of the song “Mislead” from JAMES LABRIE’s new album, Static Impulse. All you have to do is spread the word via Facebook or Twitter and the song is yours! The album comes out on September 27th in the UK/EU and September 28th in North America.
LABRIE states: “The track ‘Mislead’ was a sleeping giant for Matt Guillory (keyboards) and I. Most of the parts came quickly, but seemed to be missing the key elements or ingredients that would keep you in its grip the entire ride. We kept playing with the interaction of the instruments and vocal melodies. Matt kept working his magic with the interplay of the keys, bass, guitar and drums. It wasn’t until I was almost ready to lay my vocals that Matt and I felt it had all that it needed, but we wouldn’t see the proof in the pudding until after both mine and Peter’s vocals were laid.
“Peter’s vocals were done before mine which enabled me to feed off his energy and really nail the attitude and personality needed for this song. What began as one of the maybe, maybe not tunes for this disc. It ultimately ended up being one of our favorites. The lyrics I wrote deal with the ever present corruption and oppression in far too many governments. I know lighten up right, I’m light; it’s them who need to chill out. Enjoy.”
Guillory further comments: “In the writing process, ‘Mislead’ ended up being more of a challenge than the other songs. It’s got all the right ingredients though; dense syncopated riffing, atmospheric keyboards, melodic hooks, and over-the-top vocals. In the end, we’re really pleased with the way it turned out. I absolutely love the contrast between James’ crystal-clear lead vocal delivery and Peter’s melo-death screams.”
The much anticipated new full-length offering, Static Impulse, also marks LABRIE’s first solo effort in over five years and is sure to please his legion of diehard fans, as well as win over many new devotees in the process. A special pre-order package is now available exclusively through CMDistro.com where fans can pre-order the album along with an exclusive t-shirt. Click on the link below to purchase now. http://www.cmdistro.com/Item/James_LaBrie_-_-Static_Impulse-_CD_+_Shirt_-PRE-ORDER-/PKG000453
Static Impulse also features the immensely talented longtime songwriting partner and keyboardist Matt Guillory. Another notable performance is Peter Wildoer from metal titans DARKANE on drums and screaming vocals. The group is rounded out by Marco Sfogli on guitars and Ray Riendeau on bass. Static Impulse is set for a September 28th release on InsideOut Music and was mixed and mastered by the renowned Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia).
For additional information feel free to visit www.jameslabrie.com
DREAM THEATER have issued the following statement in the wake of the earth-shattering news that drummer Mike Portnoy has elected to leave the band:
“To all of our loyal fans and friends: It is with profound sadness – regret – we announce that Mike Portnoy, our lifelong drummer and friend, has decided to leave Dream Theater. Mike’s stature in the band has meant the world to all of us professionally, musically, and personally over the years. There is no dispute: Mike has been a major force within this band.
While it is true that Mike is choosing to pursue other ventures and challenges, we can assure you that Dream Theater will continue to move forward with the same intensity, and in the same musical tradition, that you have all helped make so successful, and which is truly gratifying to us. Fans and friends: File this episode under ‘Black Clouds and Silver Linings.’
As planned, we begin recording our newest album in January 2011, and we’ll follow that with a full-on world tour. ‘The Spirit Carries On.’
All of us in Dream Theater wholeheartedly wish Mike the best on his musical journey. We have had a long and meaningful career together. It is our true hope that he finds all he is looking for, and that he achieves the happiness he deserves. He will be missed.” Read the rest of this entry »
DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy has posted on Facebook that he has left the band.
His post reads as follows:
“I am about to write something I never imagined I’d ever write:
After 25 years, I have decided to leave Dream Theater….the band I founded, led and truly loved for a quarter of a century.
To many people this will come as a complete shock, and will also likely be misunderstood by some, but please believe me that it is not a hasty decision…it is something I have struggled with for the last year or so.
After having had such amazing experiences playing with HAIL!, TRANSATLANTIC AND AVENGED SEVENFOLD this past year, I have sadly come to the conclusion that I have recently had more fun and better personal relations with these other projects than I have for a while now in Dream Theater.
Please don’t misinterpret me, I love the DT guys dearly and have a long history, friendship and bond that runs incredibly deep with them, it’s just that I think we are in serious need of a little break.
Dream Theater was always my baby and I nurtured that baby every single day and waking moment of my life since 1985 24/7, 365, never taking time off from DT’s never-ending responsibilities (even when the band was “off” between cycles), working overtime and way beyond the call of duty that most sane people ever would do for a band.
But I’ve come to the conclusion that the DT machine was starting to burn me out and I really needed a break from the band in order to save my relationship with the other members and keep my DT spirit hungry and inspired.
We have been on an endless write/record/tour cycle for almost 20 years now (of which I have overseen EVERY aspect without a break) and while a few months apart from each other here and there over the years has been much needed and helpful, I honestly hoped the band could simply agree with me to taking a bit of a “hiatus” to recharge our batteries and “save me from ourselves.”
Sadly, in discussing this with the guys, they determined they do not share my feelings and have decided to continue without me rather than take a breather. I even offered to do some occasional work throughout 2011 against my initial wishes, but it was not to be.
While it truly hurts for me to even think of a Dream Theater without Mike Portnoy (hell, my father named the band!!), I do not want to stand in their way, so I have decided to sacrifice myself and simply leave the band so as to not hold them back against their wishes.
Strangely enough, I just read an interview that I recently did that asked me about the future of DT and I talked about ‘always following your heart and being true to yourself’ – sadly I must say that at this particular moment, my heart is not with Dream Theater and I would simply be ‘going through the motions’, and would honestly NOT be true to myself if I stayed for the sake of obligation without taking the break I felt I needed.
I wish the guys the best and hope the music and legacy we created together is enjoyed by fans for decades to come. I am proud of every album we made, every song we wrote and every show we played.
I’m sorry to all the disappointed DT fans around the world. I really tried to salvage the situation and make it work. I honestly just wanted a break (not a split) but happiness cannot be forced, it needs to come from within.
You DT fans are the greatest fans in the world and as you all know, I have always busted my ass for you guys and I hope that you will stay with me on my future musical journey, wherever it may lead me….(and as you all know my work ethic, there will surely be no shortage of future MP projects!)
Dream Theater’s JAMES LABRIE Unveils His New Static Impulse Solo Release; Announces Players and Release Info
Dream Theater’s JAMES LABRIE is easily one of the defining, elite and naturally talented vocalists the world has to offer and after selling over a million albums worldwide he further challenges himself with an aggressive and dynamic new solo effort. The much anticipated new full-length offering, Static Impulse, also marks LABRIE’s first solo effort in over five years and is sure to please his legion of diehard fans, as well as win over many new devotees in the process. Be sure to stay tuned to www.jameslabrie.com for new information.
Static Impulse also features the immensely talented longtime songwriting partner and keyboardist Matt Guillory. Another notable performance is Peter Wildoer from metal titans DARKANE on drums and screaming vocals. The group is rounded out by Marco Sfogli on guitars and Ray Riendeau on bass. Static Impulse is set for a September 28th release on InsideOut Music and was mixed and mastered by the renowned Jens Borgen (Opeth, Katatonia).
LABRIE states: “Hi everyone. The release of Static Impulse is one that the whole band is psyched about. This is modern Metal and as heavy and relevant as any other band out there going in a similar musical direction. There are riffs that will blow your head off and melodies both musically and vocally that are hypnotic. Get in the driver’s seat and let the ears bleed. Enjoy and see you out there with a tour to follow up and support this release.”
Guillory further comments: “One year and two months in the making and we’re finally done. I’m really pleased with the way this record came out. James sounds fantastic, as well as the rest of the guys. Without a doubt, it’s our heaviest record thus far yet at the same time, it’s also our most melodic. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
In addition to Dream Theater’s numerous studio and live releases, LABRIE has also appeared on releases by Fates Warning, Redemption, Trent Gardner’s Explorer’s Club, Leonardo The Absolute Man, Frameshift, Ayreon’s TheHuman Equation, as well as tribute albums to Rush, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Queen.
American progressive metal masters Dream Theater arrived once again Finland to please its constantly crowing fan base. Although band has recently released new album BLACK CLOUDS AND SILVER LININGS this current tour was advertised under banner Progressive Nation 2009.
I don’t know if it’ s something to do with the recent revival of older metal/hard rock on the scene – initiated by the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Mötley Crue but it seems that metal is more popular than ever. Almost every concert in Finland is selling pretty well and tonight Dream Theater had the sold-out crowd head banging in wild abandon for the duration of their two-and-a-half-hour set. It’s quite impressive when we talk about a band which plays heavy, complexed and hard-driving hybrid of metal and progressive rock.
Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment Intervied Jan. 1999 by David Lee.
The term “Supergroup” is one that has its origin in the seventies when groups like EMERSON, LAKE and PALMER and BLIND FAITH ruled both the airwaves and concert stages. Since that time the concept and term have been used endlessly with less and less justification to do so. Finally, with the release of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT, the progressive rock world has put together a group which is justifiably and demonstrably a “Supergroup.”
Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci of DREAM THEATER, Jordan Rudess of THE DREGS and Tony Levin who has played with everyone from PETER GABRIEL to YES came together for five days to hammer out an extemporaneous recording that only professionals of their ability and experience could have even attempted. The record has been called a “stroke-fest” by some but if what is contained in these 70 minutes is pure pomp the circumstance for it are perfect. Every number on the disc is pure adrenaline just this side of extreme. There are no singers and no ballads, just straight ahead virtuosity and passion. It is just what the music scene needs right now.
I spoke with LTE’s motivating force, Mike Portnoy about this project and about the state of progressive rock in general.