Dream Theater drummer Mike Mangini was interviewed by Mike Bax of Lithium Magazine a couple of weeks ago, and you can read their whole conversation at this link now. Mike talks about leaving his teaching job at Berklee to join Dream Theater; writing with the band; working with John Petrucci as producer; and more.
Says Mike about Berklee, "[If] you get a job as a college professor, especially a music one, then they don't want you off doing all of these other things, unless its the summer and completely time off. They don't want you to leave during the semester. They don't want to have to get a substitute teacher in, or have to make up the classes while you are gone; even that is a fight. It's just real difficult. So when the opportunity came up, you could see the smoke coming off the back of my sneakers. I just wanted to get back out on the stage because I felt like I was being withheld. And I want this to come out right, meaning I really enjoyed the job. If I was the boss there, I wouldn't want all of the teachers scooting off. If I signed up for a class, I wouldn't want the teacher going to be there only a short amount of time, you know what I'm saying? But within reason and for a good reason sometimes if someone gets a real high profile opportunity everybody benefits. So there should be a little bit of flexibility there as long as the students get what they pay for in the course material, then I think it's great."
Regarding the band's working methods in the studio, and how he fit in, Mike says, "I literally looked at the other guys a lot. I looked at their mannerisms and I could get a vibe off of that. I also look at my drum set, otherwise I'll miss things. I'll hit the rims and split my knuckles open if I'm not careful with that drum kit. So seriously, my eyes were wide open. I used my peripheral vision and I tried to keep my mouth shut first, and then speak...I just wanted an open mind and clear thoughts, so that if we needed a certain drumming angle, I could just pull it off and throw it in there."
Dream Theater's guitarist John Petrucci produced the band's upcoming self-titled album; says Mike, "This was one of the few times with a producer situation where I didn't see the producer at odds with the band members. Everybody was in sync. So, being a good person; being in sync with everybody anyway, and especially having the feeling that we wanted to create the best thing ever - I don't know how it could have been a better experience. It was just amazing. Awesome."
Dream Theater (the album) will be available everywhere September 24; pre-order it now in the Roadrunner webstore!