Swedish musician Peter Wildoer (DARKANE, JAMES LABRIE, PESTILENCE), who was one of seven drummers auditioning for the spot in DREAM THEATER left vacant by the departure of Mike Portnoy, spoke to Nicholas R. Andreas of When Prog And Power Unite about the three-hour October 2010 audition and the preparation that went into trying out for one of the most successful progressive metal bands in the world. You can now listen to the 39-minute chat using the audio player below.
On his approach going into the audition:
Wildoer: "My approach was very much to keep it true to what Mike did, because no matter what I would do, I knew that my personality and my style would probably shine through even though [I was] trying to do what Mike did originally. So my approach was very much to keep it to what it is and keep it like the fans know the songs and how they wanna hear them."
On DREAM THEATER members' comment that two of the other drummers who auditioned, Thomas Lang and Virgil Donati, interpreted the group's songs too much and didn't play them exactly as they were written/recorded:
Wildoer: "That was very much [Lang and Donati's] approach and I totally understand it because they're totally drummer's drummers — they're top league in the world of drummers — and, of course, they wanna [add] their flavor to it. And I know that Virgil has said, 'This is how I sound and this is how I'm gonna present. If it's not fitting, it's not fitting. This is me and this is what I do.' So I totally respect that point of view, of course."
On whether he knew everything was going to be filmed for the three-part documentary series on the audition process:
Wildoer: "I knew that everything was going to be filmed for the documentary. What I knew was that it was going to be released as some kind of bonus DVD for the next DREAM THEATER album, like the auditions, how they went on and stuff. I didn't know that it was going to be a documentary [that was going to be used] as a build-up for the announcement of [Mike] Mangini [as the new drummer for DREAM THEATER]. But I'm totally fine with it. For me, it's been great exposure and I think it was a very cool idea. And I just love watching the other drummers playing; as a drummer and fan of DREAM THEATER, I just love to see those videos. So I was totally happy with how everything turned out with this video."
On how much he knew about the various "tests" (jamming, songwriting) he was going to be put through during the audition:
Wildoer: "As I said in the documentary, I knew they were [going to be putting us through] those tests, but I just knew we were going to do those three songs, and that was pretty much it. I was the last one [to audition], and the day before I met Virgil, after his audition, and he said, 'There are some parts that are really hard.' And that really didn't make me less nervous, I can tell you that. [Laughs] If Virgil thinks it's a bit tricky, then it's very, very, extremely tricky, of course. [Laughs] But I felt very comfortable. I was welcomed so well when I entered the room by all the guys in the band and their management and all the guys that were there. I just felt very, very comfortable right away entering that room, actually."
A little more than a month after Portnoy's sudden departure from DREAM THEATER, the band held three days of auditions in New York City. Over an incredibly productive three-day period, the band played, jammed and spoke candidly and at length with seven of the world's greatest drummers. The remaining members of the band got to know the candidates musically, personally and professionally and thus assessed the fit of each drummer's incredible chops with the band's trademark prog-rock sound.
After intense consideration, the band has unanimously chosen drummer Mike Mangini (EXTREME, STEVE VAI, ANNIHILATOR) to fill the seat behind the kit which was left vacant by Portnoy's departure late last summer.