It's not long until Dream Theater arrive in Australia to play shows in Sydney and Melbourne! It's been a while since we spoke to the guys, so we took the opportunity to have a chat with drummer Mike Mangini about the band's future, playing live vs recorded, what he's looking forward to about visiting Australia, and more.
MANIACS: It’s been 25 years since Images and Words (1992) came out – what’s the plan for the next 25?
Mike: The band will continue to cycle from making music, to touring to doing it over again as long as health allows. The band is so full of song ideas and music that it’ll just keep on moving forward.
MANIACS: Are there any tracks that you play differently now than you did when you first recorded them?
Mike: Not in essence, no. However, I play differently live after I get to hear the vocals and solos. I absolutely would record differently if I had the vocal and solos there already. Additionally, I’d pick up the really wild and cool riffs in the solos by mimicking them on my drum orchestra.
MANIACS: What is something you look forward to about touring in Australia?
Mike: I love a lot about Australia. Firstly, Frank Corniola, his son Damien and many drum community related people have made Australia a great place for drummers. Along with many, many great drummers from the Great and Powerful OZ, one Virgil Donati has set the drumming bar to Neptune! So, I look forward to seeing my friends and the many involved in that drum community come out make some noise. I also am a huge fan of the senses of humor I find inherent there. I also follow a lot of the surfing contestants!! I really like the strength, humor and honesty of the people there, as well as their Australian pride! Great place to play music… and I’d eat 5 of those Bay Bugs a day if I had a choice!
MANIACS: Are there any newer prog bands which you think your fans should check out?
Mike: With honesty, I’ll tell you that I follow sports and other things and don’t keep up with music, with my plate too full for one person. This is due to constant upkeep with Dream Theater responsibilities, sometimes unrealistic expectations put on us all (which isn’t a bad thing and keeps us sharp) and that I am full-time composing, engineering and producing my own music for a solo album to put out in 2018. I also have hearing issues and try not to keep headphones on more than I have to. As you can summarize, I truly have no clue.
MANIACS: What’s your favourite way to wind down when you’re not touring or recording?
Mike: Well, Family is #1. I have a lot of family and friends and love to eat buckets of food with them and laugh a lot. Golf is a Godsend to me ... as much of it as I can. My son and I run (American) football plays at a field for long periods of time. I watch live or reruns of Boston sports and tear up!! Not joking. It is so fun to relive those moments for me as they affect my career more than I can explain. I make a horse trough of popcorn, then, I get ice cold beer, antipasto and various snacks and watch. I also add good sound to it. Old school comedy like the Three Stooges makes it into my downtime.
MANIACS: Is there anything you can tell us about your new record yet?
Mike: The band are starting to collect some very preliminary song seeds. Very excited!
MANIACS: If you were to try writing music for a different genre, what would it be?
Mike: Well, I am doing that for me. Picture a “common time" EDM type of sound, done by a Rock/Metal person... I think.. Genres are changing definitions constantly, so I don’t know.
Dream Theater are playing shows in Sydney and Melbourne this September. Get tickets here.