Mike Mangini So Far?

BenjaminCamelot

Senior Member
So it's been about 6 or 5 years since Mike Mangini replaced Mike Portnoy so I thought I'd share my thoughts on how he's been so far in Dream Theater. Just from watching him play, I notice his open handed technique is very unique because given the massive setup he has, he probably has to do that but whatever. I know people say Mike is better than Mike but I remember watching some Dream Theater video and someone said in the comments that Mike is like Shawn Drover, he plays the stuff straightforward but doesn't have any emotion when playing but I think it's probably because Mike isn't a huge showman when it comes to playing. Sure he's won I don't know how many WFD (World's Fastest Drummer) records but what do I think of him overall? I think he's a great drummer but he isn't Mike Portnoy but Mike Mangini has his own approach towards the music I guess you could say. Let me know what you guys think of him so far?
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Mangini is a monster behind the kit. I think his drumming fits the music well, but I dont care for the music any more. Its not because of his drumming though. Its the structure of the songs, the awkward key and timing changes that get made and the general direction the music is moving towards, which is strangly sci-fi, theatrical and over the top.

Lots of the musical direction came from Portnoy who kept it more grounded in a heavy prog rock style. But with Portnoy gone you are left with Petrucci and Rudess to go crazy. Granted both of these guys are musical virtuosos, but its too much crazy and really needs to get grounded back to its heavy prog rock roots. This latest "rock-opera" album is neither rock, nor opera. Its awful.

Lets get back to something like Train of Thought. That was a fantastic album! If they want to get "proggy" try writing songs like When Dream and Day Unite, or make another album like Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance if you want the concept style album with "balls and chunk" (to use a DT term).
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Mangini is a monster behind the kit. I think his drumming fits the music well, but I dont care for the music any more. Its not because of his drumming though. Its the structure of the songs, the awkward key and timing changes that get made and the general direction the music is moving towards, which is strangly sci-fi, theatrical and over the top.

Lots of the musical direction came from Portnoy who kept it more grounded in a heavy prog rock style. But with Portnoy gone you are left with Petrucci and Rudess to go crazy. Granted both of these guys are musical virtuosos, but its too much crazy and really needs to get grounded back to its heavy prog rock roots. This latest "rock-opera" album is neither rock, nor opera. Its awful.

Lets get back to something like Train of Thought. That was a fantastic album! If they want to get "proggy" try writing songs like When Dream and Day Unite, or make another album like Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance if you want the concept style album with "balls and chunk" (to use a DT term).
I'm not a fan of DT but I can see how this happens. Even Emerson, Lake, & Palmer would be totally weird if Keith Emerson had his way. Greg Lake helped to balance that out and the group was grounded with a couple of hits.
 

blinky

Senior Member
Even Emerson, Lake, & Palmer would be totally weird if Keith Emerson had his way. Greg Lake helped to balance that out and the group was grounded with a couple of hits.
This is arguable and anyway Keith is sadly no longer with us.
 

mkidd053

Member
Mangini is a monster behind the kit. I think his drumming fits the music well, but I dont care for the music any more. Its not because of his drumming though. Its the structure of the songs, the awkward key and timing changes that get made and the general direction the music is moving towards, which is strangly sci-fi, theatrical and over the top.

Lots of the musical direction came from Portnoy who kept it more grounded in a heavy prog rock style. But with Portnoy gone you are left with Petrucci and Rudess to go crazy. Granted both of these guys are musical virtuosos, but its too much crazy and really needs to get grounded back to its heavy prog rock roots. This latest "rock-opera" album is neither rock, nor opera. Its awful.

Lets get back to something like Train of Thought. That was a fantastic album! If they want to get "proggy" try writing songs like When Dream and Day Unite, or make another album like Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance if you want the concept style album with "balls and chunk" (to use a DT term).
Couldn't agree with this more. There is no bigger DT fan than me and I can't listen to the latest "Abomination". Ruddess is a fantastic musician but their songs went downhill once he joined.

I loved Portnoy in DT but I am so glad he left because it opened my eyes to Mangini. I recall everyone wringing their hands over his departure but I was excited because I knew they would bring in someone who was at least as good. Boy did they ever.
 

BenjaminCamelot

Senior Member
Ruddess is a fantastic musician but their songs went downhill once he joined.
I haven't really noticed a big change since I only have stuff from Images and Words to Black Clouds and Silver Linings but Im not a hardcore DT fan like some people but I even thought some songs after Metropolis Pt. 2 sounded I guess a little bit brutal metal sounding and not very prog
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
This is arguable and anyway Keith is sadly no longer with us.
True, it's arguable. However, if you didn't have Greg Lake's Lucky Man on that first album, would they have gotten to Tarkus?

Watching a ELP historical documentary, Emerson was always pushing the musical boundaries, which I think is a great thing. But, I think if ELP just followed Emerson, they would've lost much of their audience which may have shortened the lifespan of the band, I think anyway.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've seen DT with Portnoy maybe 20 times and with Mangini twice

As far as drumming goes, Mangini > Portnoy and it's not even close.

But
Ruddess is a fantastic musician but their songs went downhill once he joined. .
1000% agree.

I think Rudess joining the band was the worst thing that every happened to them. Funny enough it was a move pushed for by Portnoy.

I do agree with Tommy D that Train of Thought is fantastic.

I don't agree that it was Portnoy who kept it more grounded. It was musical direction from Portnoy;s leadership that started it. It was Portnoy that pushed for not using outside producers, it was Portnoy who went to the record company and said the band should be able to do whatever they wanted (with him as leader) or else, and it was Portnoy who insisted the band stop writing songs in advance and always write on the fly in the studio.

I actually though Portnoy quitting might make the band go back to writing songs, and they almost did that on their first album without him, before going back to jamming on 100 minute long guitar and keyboard solos and calling them songs.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I love Dream Theater, but I really only love the Kevin Moore-era albums. It's clear to me that when Moore left the band lost someone good at crafting songs as opposed to riffs and solos separated by a chorus.

It's also clear that Portnoy assuming a stronger leadership role didn't mean he was really contributing anything musical, he just wanted more control and the heavy riff-driven sound gave him plenty of opportunity to overplay and protect his prog rock drummer slot in the Modern Drummer polls.

Mangini's skills are more than a match for Portnoy's, so as far as I'm concerned the drums are the least of my worries. I feel like Dream Theater is still finding their way as writers again but even without Portnoy getting in the way they still need better songwriting. All of the post-Portnoy albums are good enough, but lacking any real creative spark like Images and Words and Awake had. If anything they sound a little like a band trying to copy the sound of those albums without really quite understanding how they made those albums in the first place.
 

AllenimIptWP

Junior Member
Mike Mangini So Far

Mike James is a classic example of why winning is important to a players overall value and ranking.

People on here like to
 

blinky

Senior Member
True, it's arguable. However, if you didn't have Greg Lake's Lucky Man on that first album, would they have gotten to Tarkus?

Watching a ELP historical documentary, Emerson was always pushing the musical boundaries, which I think is a great thing. But, I think if ELP just followed Emerson, they would've lost much of their audience which may have shortened the lifespan of the band, I think anyway.
Hi Matt Bo,
you're probably right in this, it was just my personal preferences that came out. And I do love Greg's voice, and some of his songs too, I just feel that it was Keith who made that band what it was. I also love the Nice, Keith's band prior ELP, and they had a fantastic drummer too. Not to knock down in any way on CP but the Nice had "groove" for lack of a better word.
Sadly now mr Lake is not longer with us, 2016 has been rough on some great artists!
Now I'm going to put on "Moonchild" with Greg Lake and King Crimson!!!
Merry Xmas everybody from Sweden.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
One thing i loved bout watching the audition videos is how quiet and nice mike is. then as soon as he gets behind the kit he's a monster... as far as DT.. never heard a song other than whats in the show. I preferred the way the band sounded with the ex-kreator drummer..
 

BenjaminCamelot

Senior Member
One thing i loved bout watching the audition videos is how quiet and nice mike is. then as soon as he gets behind the kit he's a monster... as far as DT.. never heard a song other than whats in the show. I preferred the way the band sounded with the ex-kreator drummer..
I always thought the toms in his audition sound like cannons.
 
I studied with Mike (Mangini) for a year at Berklee. To me he is easily the most technically proficient drummer out there. His coordination, chops and ability to count and play polyrhythms is absolutely insane. People can debate all day about musicality but I'm talking about from a pure technical level.

And yes he's also a super nice, helpful, humble, self-deprecating person. On the contrary though he is INCREDIBLY serious about his instrument and really opened my eyes on what it takes to truly be prepared for a gig.

I don't listen to Dream Theater (outside of occasional drum videos) but I was really happy to hear he got the chair... he totally deserves it and is the perfect drummer for any prog/rock/metal band.
 

BenjaminCamelot

Senior Member
I studied with Mike (Mangini) for a year at Berklee. To me he is easily the most technically proficient drummer out there. His coordination, chops and ability to count and play polyrhythms is absolutely insane. People can debate all day about musicality but I'm talking about from a pure technical level.

And yes he's also a super nice, helpful, humble, self-deprecating person. On the contrary though he is INCREDIBLY serious about his instrument and really opened my eyes on what it takes to truly be prepared for a gig.

I don't listen to Dream Theater (outside of occasional drum videos) but I was really happy to hear he got the chair... he totally deserves it and is the perfect drummer for any prog/rock/metal band.
It's cool you got to study with him and I've heard somewhere he's won some World's Fastest Drummer awards or records but I don't remember if that's true or not.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
It's cool you got to study with him and I've heard somewhere he's won some World's Fastest Drummer awards or records but I don't remember if that's true or not.
Mangini and Johnny Rabb used to go back and forth year after year winning fastest single strokes in a minute competitions. Some kid has the record now, I believe. Mangini is likely too busy working in DT to be bothered with worlds fastest competitions.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Just wanted to resurrect this thread to add to the chorus of praise that Mike Mangini has received.

I saw Dream Theater at an especially good venue (The National Arts Center in Ottawa, Canada) last night and was blown away by so many aspects of the show. Man, did it sound GOOD for a rock concert!

Mangini's playing was a revelation for me and the most refreshing thing I've seen for years.

I'll be honest; I was taken aback by Mike's unorthodox cymbal setup at first and it took me a couple of songs before I could wrap my head around what I was seeing and hearing but after that, it was pure bliss.

For those that don't know: Mike's cymbals are angled steeply and mounted way, way above his head - like 7 or 8 feet by the looks of it. Nonetheless, they sound amazing and really cut through the mix. That, and they are HUGE. I was close enough to the stage to hear those monsters clearly - something I have rarely, if ever, experienced at a rock concert. His cymbal setup was fascinating.

Anyway, I just wanted to chime in to express my appreciation for what I witnessed last night. I've seen many, many of the greats in concert and Mike Mangini's performance ranks right up there with the best of them. I'll run out of adjectives describing how jaw-droppingly good it was.

I took just the one photo and should have zoomed in as it's difficult to see the topmost cymbals, especially to the left and rear, but they're HUGE.

Cheers

20191110_195141.jpg
 

rebonn

Senior Member
Mangini is a monster behind the kit. I think his drumming fits the music well, but I dont care for the music any more. Its not because of his drumming though. Its the structure of the songs, the awkward key and timing changes that get made and the general direction the music is moving towards, which is strangly sci-fi, theatrical and over the top.

Lots of the musical direction came from Portnoy who kept it more grounded in a heavy prog rock style. But with Portnoy gone you are left with Petrucci and Rudess to go crazy. Granted both of these guys are musical virtuosos, but its too much crazy and really needs to get grounded back to its heavy prog rock roots. This latest "rock-opera" album is neither rock, nor opera. Its awful.

Lets get back to something like Train of Thought. That was a fantastic album! If they want to get "proggy" try writing songs like When Dream and Day Unite, or make another album like Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance if you want the concept style album with "balls and chunk" (to use a DT term).
I agree 100%. I liked the music much better with Portnoy. Now it seems they just try to make things as sophisticated as they possibly can losing the good music in the process. I'm not sure it has much to do with Mangini though.
 
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