Michael Anthony Mangini started playing drums when he was two and a half years old, inspired by Ringo Starr. Although he quickly became very proficient in his instrument, he put it aside for a few years, to pursue a computer science major at Bentley University. It would take him a few years to get his big break into the mainstream, and that came in 1991, when he joined the prestigious Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator.
Following a tour cycle with Annihilator, Mangini played with hard rockers Extreme and spent a few years in Steve Vai’s band, having appeared on the studio albums “Fire Garden” and “The Ultra Zone”, and in the live album “Alive in an Ultra World”. In 2005, he accepted a full-time teaching position at the Berklee College of Music in the Percussion Department, but five years later his career would literally undergo a dramatic turn of events. He was selected to join Dream Theater in 2010, after an audition that also included Marco Minneman (The Aristocrats), Virgil Donati (Planet X), Aquiles Priester (Angra, Hangar), Peter Wildoer (Darkane, James LaBrie), Derek Roddy (Hate Eternal, Nile, Today Is The Day) and Thomas Lang (Glenn Hughes, Stork among others).
With Dream Theater, Mike has released five studio albums so far, and recently completed a successful run of shows with Animals as Leaders and Devin Townsend. As the end of 2023 approaches, he’s ready for his most ambitious musical step to date – the release of his first solo album, “Invisible Signs”. The twelve songs on the album showcase a different side of Mike’s musical abilities, with a modern metal edge and perhaps a more straightforward approach to drums than the average Dream Theater fan is used to. He wrote all lyrics to the album, and counted on the help of Jen Majura (formerly of Evanescence) on vocals an a few guitar solos, Tony Dickenson (Trans Siberian Orchestra) on bass, Gus G (Firewind, Ozzy) on lead guitar and Ivan Keller (Dino Jelusick’s band) on rhythm guitar. Some of the highlights of the album include the title track, “Freak Of Nature” and “Habit To Change”.
Sonic Perspectives collaborator Rodrigo Altaf is a lifelong Dream Theater fan, and had the chance to sit down with Mike Mangini for a lengthy interview, discussing his solo album, Dream Theater upcoming plans, his past work with Extreme and Annihilator and much more. Listen or watch to their all-encompassing interview below, and remember that for more interviews and other daily content, Sonic Perspectives is on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Flipboard, where you can be notified about new content we publish on a daily basis.