Progressive metal giants Dream Theater have recruited Mike Mangini, 48-year-old session artist who has played for Annihilator, Extreme, James Labrie and Steve Vai as the replacement for the recently departed Mike Portnoy.
Guitarist John Petrucci writes on his official forum, “Well, it’s been a very exciting day for all of us in Dream Theater and we are happy to finally share the news that Mike Mangini is our new drummer! He is not only a beast of a player but an incredible person as well who truly and fully understands and values everything that we strive to be as a band. Thank you for being so patient and incredibly supportive to us throughout the years and especially over the last several months. Thank you for your faith in us and your immediate and practically across-the-board acceptance of Mike Mangini as our new drummer. Thank you for the positive words about the documentary (three-part web series documenting Dream Theater’s drummer search, which featured all the drummers audtions who tried out. You can find it on roadrunnerrecords.com) and all of your passion and dedication.
“The movie is our gift and our invitation into something that would traditionally be very private and I appreciate everyone’s sensitivity towards that. There’s a lot of work to be done, so back to the studio. John Myung finished tracking bass today and Jordan (Rudess, keyboards) is recording as I type. Things are real busy around here. Can’t wait for everyone to hear the new music and to begin playing live with Mike!”
The band members also had this to say about hiring Mike:
Jordan Rudess (keyboards): “The thing that stands about Mike Mangini is that he [plays] with such intensity and direction and power, and that was very engaging. It was hard to totally decide; you can’t just say, ‘OK, it’s him and write off some other guy, because they’re both incredible.”
John Petrucci (guitar): “We unknowingly used a method that we use when we write music, which is, ‘Just hear out my side.’ During that discussion, we kind of came to some conclusions, we hashed things out, and at the end of the discussion, it was clear. We made a decision.”
John Myung (bass): “A lot of it was just how felt with each particular drummer. It turned out that we were kind of all on the same page as to who we needed to carry on. I think it was meant to be.”
Mangini spoke about his addition to Dream Theater, “The day that I got the phone call to be in Dream Theater, it took my brain a minute to assemble what was going on, and when it sank in, the feeling was just of tremendous relief. It means so much to me, I almost felt like crying a couple of times. (Laughs) I didn’t know what to do. What it means to me to be part of not only such a legendary band, but this band, is a sense of fulfillment and purpose. I feel like a puzzle piece, and with Mike [Portnoy] in particular, I feel really honored to carry on the torch for him; I’m carrying on his spirit.”
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.
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.