Mike Mangini Reveals How Mike Portnoy Reacted to His Dream Theater Audition, Blasts ‘False’ Accusations on How He Joined

It’s been a while since Mike Portnoy left and Mike Mangini joined Dream Theater. And, at this point, all the people involved in the drama, both the band and two drummers, are at peace with it. In fact, earlier this year, Portnoy attended one of the Dream Theater shows, enjoying his time watching the show along with the fans.

But some fans still won’t let things go. In a recent interview with Sarah Hagan, Mike Mangini addressed some of the accusations regarding the auditioning process itself. First reflecting on how the audition and recruitment affected his relationship with Portnoy since the two were friends, he replied (transcript via Ultimate Guitar):

“We were friends before I got this job. I mean, literally – he’s in my place in LA, we’re hanging out, he was the one that invited me to all the Dream Theater shows. He was the person I was closest with [from Dream Theater]. He said all kinds of nice things about me all the time to people in magazines.”

“And so, the audition thing happened and he had left, and our relationship kind of just went into a holding pattern. And that was that.”

“You know, whatever that means. It just might have been awkward for him or whatever – I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Addressing the claims of nepotism and that he only got the gig because he was friends with other Dream Theater members, Mangini said:

“But what’s interesting with my audition, I wasn’t friends with [Dream Theater]. I knew James [LaBrie] because I had done three records with him and would consider him a friend, you know, to a point, but we didn’t yap other than that. Portnoy was the one that was my friend. So the guy that left was the person I was closest with.

“And even for the audition, James had his current drummer, Peter Willdoer, [at] the Dream Theater audition. So, I kind of had no… anything that suggested I was friends with them and I was just given the job, or anything like that – because it’s totally not true. Totally false, totally made up by whoever wants to make things up.”

Mike Mangini drum solo (Dream Theater live@luna park)

“But it’s funny, because I’ve explained this numerous times, and I don’t get listened to. It’s like, I was there. It’s me. I’m saying exactly what happened. And there’s plenty of, ‘Oh, no, no, no, that’s not how it went. That’s not what I heard.’

“All I know is that I didn’t do anything that was a mistake to the point that it was noticed… What I mean is I didn’t make any [mistake that] caused us to stop. Nothing was out of place. I got every single test the first time, the jam was pretty good as fun. I played the songs correctly, and had zero stops. It was that kind of thing, like, nothing was out.”

Photo: Carlos Delgado (Mike Mangini – 01), Rodrigo Della Fávera (Mike Portnoy playing the drums (Rio de Janeiro, 2006))

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.