In a brand new interview with The Mistress Carrie Podcast, Mike Mangini spoke about his departure from DREAM THEATER and the return of the band’s original drummer Mike Portnoy. He said in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “A decision was made that I understood. That’s all it is. ‘Cause when I heard the decision, I understood it. I tried to explain that I understood the parameters of that being a music thing. Anyway, it’s as simple as that. And I’m telling you, I was, like, ‘Okay, ‘I get that.’ The situation made sense to me when I heard it in that — I don’t know, I guess I just skipped out and thought, ‘Oh, that’s an original bandmember going back to a band. Oh, I get that. Okay, I get it.’ And that’s it. I mean, that is literally it.”
The 60-year-old Mangini, who joined DREAM THEATER in 2010, added: “I was with the band for 13 years. It was an unbelievable experience.”
When Portnoy‘s return to DREAM THEATER was first announced on October 25, Mangini said in a statement: “I understand DREAM THEATER‘s decision to get Mike Portnoy back at this time. As was said from Day 1, my place was not to fill all the roles that Mike held in the band. I was to play the drums in order to help the band carry on. My main role of keeping our live show working tightly on a nightly basis was an intense and rewarding experience. Thankfully, I got to experience playing music with these iconic musicians, as well as some fun times laced with humor. I also really enjoyed spending lots of time with the crew. And then there’s the Grammy win, which was amazingly satisfying. To the fans: thank you so much for being amazing to me. I cherish the pictures I have of you all losing your minds and having fun. Finally, I really love the band, crew and management and wish them and the entire organization all the best.”
Portnoy attended DREAM THEATER‘s concert in March 2022 at Beacon Theatre in New York City. It was the first time he witnessed his then-former bandmates perform live since his exit from the iconic progressive metal outfit 13 years ago. Two months later, Portnoy told SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” about what it was like to see another drummer play his parts live with DREAM THEATER: “I’ve always been the type of drummer that just flies [by] the seat of my pants in the moment. Even with my own drum parts, I don’t necessarily stick to them faithfully from show to show, whereas Mangini obviously really studied the drum parts and they had everything programmed out. They’re all about the precision, and that’s surely their thing. And yeah, he killed it. There’s no doubt he’s an amazing drummer and he plays my parts incredibly faithfully.”
Portnoy continued: “I feel bad for him. He and I joked about it. He’s in a horrible situation where he’s damned if he does and he’s damned if he doesn’t. He expressed that frustration to me, and I feel for him; it’s definitely a weird position to be put into. I kind of had it a little bit when I played with AVENGED SEVENFOLD and TWISTED SISTER, coming into the throne of two drummers that have passed away, and I tried to learn those parts as faithfully as I could. When I had a hired-gun gig like that, I spent a lot of attention trying to honor the drummer that came before me — it’s important. I don’t wanna go into a gig like either of those and try to force my style onto it.”
Mangini will release his debut solo album, “Invisible Signs”, on November 11. Accompanying Mangini on the LP are Tony Dickinson on bass, Ivan Keller on guitar, Gus G. (FIREWIND, OZZY OSBOURNE) on lead guitar and former EVANESCENCE guitarist Jen Majura on vocals.
Mangini has released two singles so far from “Invisible Signs”: “Freak Of Nature” and “Not Drowning”.
Mangini joined DREAM THEATER in late 2010 through a widely publicized audition following the departure of Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER 38 years ago. Mangini beat out six other of the world’s top drummers — Marco Minnemann, Virgil Donati, Aquiles Priester, Thomas Lang, Peter Wildoer and Derek Roddy — for the gig, a three-day process that was filmed for a documentary-style reality show called “The Spirit Carries On”.
Mangini made his name in the hard rock world in the mid-1990s when he played with EXTREME, before landing the gig with guitar legend Steve Vai in 1996. Nearly a decade later, Mangini took up a full-time teaching position at the world-renowned Berklee College Of Music.