DREAM THEATER's MIKE MANGINI To Release Long-Awaited Solo Album In August

June 2, 2023

In a new interview with Heavy Debriefings, DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Mangini revealed that his long-awaited solo album will finally see the light of day in August. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There's a reason why it's been taking a while and has gone in steps. I wrote everything. I'm the executive producer, engineer with our DREAM THEATER guy, Jimmy T [James Meslin] that knows my thing inside and out. I wrote the songs, wrote all the parts, wrote the lyrics, did everything, and then found some wonderful people to replay my virtual instruments and most especially to re-sing my horrific vocal guides. [Laughs]"

Last July, Mangini spoke in more detail about his approach to making a solo album during an appearance on the Sarah Hagan Backstage podcast. At the time, he said in part: "It's important to me 'cause of the way it sounds… I actually write notes on a keyboard, because that way I can communicate to people… But for the solo album, I wrote absolutely every single note on the keyboard, virtual instruments or MIDI. I composed absolutely everything and then at one point I turned it over to some players who took it in and occasionally would offer things like, 'Well, that doesn't work on my instrument.' I'm, like, 'I know. I know. It's a keyboard. Go ahead and just do it this way,' or whatever."

He continued: "This album is above and beyond more me than anything, because it's me doing it… It's a long time in the making. And that's how it came to be where it's not ultimately just fully totally me, 'cause Jimmy T's gotta put his little bit of whatever in there. But working together for so long, it's, like, 'This is how I sound.' When I hit the cymbal, I wanna hear it ringing two seconds later… With everything else that I've done, you're working in a group. You're working with people. You have to morph to the group. And when something's out of your control, it's out of your control, which is why it sounds so different… The end result morphs to the person in charge. That's gonna happen every single time. So whatever that result is morphs to that person who is making the call. And sometimes that person spreads the autonomy, and sometimes that person takes it and does everything that they wanna do. It just depends on the situation."

Circling back to his solo LP, Mike said: "I'm excited when it comes out, 'cause it is a solo record, except that now I'm not the one playing every single instrument. But that's okay, 'cause it came out better than my virtual instruments. [Laughs]"

Mangini joined DREAM THEATER in late 2010 through a widely publicized audition following the departure of Mike Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 30 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.

DREAM THEATER won its first-ever Grammy in the "Best Metal Performance" category in the pre-telecast ceremony at the 64th annual Grammy Awards, which was held in April 2022 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. DREAM THEATER was nominated for "The Alien", a track from its 2021 album "A View From The Top Of The World". DREAM THEATER's previous Grammy nominations were for the song "On The Backs Of Angels", from 2011's "A Dramatic Turn Of Events" album, and the single "The Enemy Inside" from 2013's "Dream Theater".

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