Zach Shaw of Metal Insider conducted an interview with Mike Leonard, director of DREAM THEATER's web series "The Spirit Carries On", which chronicles the audition process behind the band's search for drummer Mike Portnoy's replacement. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Metal Insider: Out of the seven drummers that auditioned, was there one that particularly stood out to you?
Mike Leonard: "We filmed with Mike Mangini (STEVE VAI, EXTREME, ANNIHILATOR) the night before his audition and both as a person and as a drummer, he impressed me the most. Mike is such an incredibly genuine and nice guy, just like all the members of DREAM THEATER. He's also incredibly meticulous about making sure he does his part and gets all the details right. All of the drummers that we filmed with were incredibly nice and professional, but Mike really made a great impression on me. Then watching him play in real life blew me away — he's a monster. He plays the most complicated things like they're nothing, just incredible. I'll never forget it."
Metal Insider: Are there any plans to release a physical copy of this documentary, maybe along with extra footage?
Mike Leonard: "Yes, I believe there is going to be a DVD release this summer with the new album. We have talked about many different options and I have no idea what is actually going to happen, but I'm sure it will be released at some point and there’s tons of potential for bonus footage."
Read the entire interview from Metal Insider.
A little more than a month after original drummer Mike Portnoy's sudden departure from DREAM THEATER, the band held three days of auditions in New York City. Over an amazing and productive three-day period, the band played, jammed and spoke candidly with seven of the world's greatest drummers, learning about them musically, personally and professionally, and assessing the fit of each drummer's incredible chops with the band's trademark prog-rock sound.
The members of DREAM THEATER have been extremely sensitive to the fact that this is not only a monumental decision in their own lives, but also a critical moment in the lives of their fans around the world. "The departure of our lifelong bandmate and friend was an unexpected and truly heartbreaking blow," says guitarist John Petrucci. "The fact that as a result of that event we'd be introduced to seven infinitely capable and uniquely talented drummers was heartening."
The following seven drummers took part in the DREAM THEATER audition process:
* Aquiles Priester (age 39) (ANGRA, PAUL DI'ANNO)
* Peter Wildoer (age 36) (DARKANE)
* Marco Minnemann (age 40) (KREATOR, NECROPHAGIST, EPHEL DUATH, JOE SATRIANI)
* Virgil Donati (age 52) (PLANET X, SEVEN THE HARDWAY)
* Derek Roddy (age 38) (HATE ETERNAL, NILE, TODAY IS THE DAY)
* Mike Mangini (age 48) (STEVE VAI, EXTREME, ANNIHILATOR)
* Thomas Lang (age 43) (JOHN WETTON, ROBERT FRIPP, GLENN HUGHES)