Progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER have recruited Mike Mangini — the 48-year-old session artist who has played for ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE and STEVE VAI — as the replacement for the recently departed Mike Portnoy.
In a posting on his official forum, DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci writes, "Well, it's been a very exciting day for all of us in DREAM THEATER and we are happy to finally share the news that Mike Mangini is our new drummer! He is not only a beast of a player but an incredible person as well who truly and fully understands and values everything that we strive to be as a band.
"Thank you for being so patient and incredibly supportive to us throughout the years and especially over the last several months.
"Thank you for your faith in us and your immediate and practically across-the-board acceptance of Mike Mangini as our new drummer.
"Thank you for the positive words about the documentary [three-part web series documenting DREAM THEATER's drummer search] and all of your passion and dedication.
"The movie is our gift and our invitation into something that would traditionally be very private and I appreciate everyone's sensitivity towards that.
"There's a lot of work to be done, so back to the studio.
"John Myung finished tracking bass today and Jordan [Rudess, keyboards] is recording as I type.
"Things are real busy around here.
"Can't wait for everyone to hear the new music and to begin playing live with Mike!"
Mangini previously stated about his addition to DREAM THEATER, "The day that I got the phone call to be in DREAM THEATER, it took my brain a minute to assemble what was going on, and when it sank in, the feeling was just of tremendous relief.
"It means so much to me, I almost felt like crying a couple of times. [Laughs] I didn't know what to do.
"What it means to me to be part of not only such a legendary band, but this band, is a sense of fulfillment and purpose. I feel like a puzzle piece, and with Mike [Portnoy] in particular, I feel really honored to carry on the torch for him; I'm carrying on his spirit."
Mangini is notorious for his technical prowess and holds three out of four World's Fastest Drummer titles. These include the Fastest Matched grip at 1,247 strokes in 60 seconds; Fastest Hands, which he earned by executing 1,203 single-stroke notes in 60 seconds without drumsticks mallets etc.; Fastest Traditional Grip which he earned by executing 1,126 strokes in 60 seconds; and Fastest Single Stroke Foot record, playing 13,222 hits in 15 minutes and 5,222 hits in five minutes.
Mangini has written two books about his drumming techniques. These books, titled "Rhythm Knowledge", are a practice method for deconstructing and simplifying complex polyrhythms and time signatures.
Mangini joined ANNIHILATOR in 1991 and appeared on the band's "Set The World On Fire" album. He toured with the group in support of the CD until 1994 at which point he was asked to play with the Massachusetts band EXTREME, replacing that group's original drummer Paul Geary.
After EXTREME dissolved in 1996, Mike was informed through drummer Jonathan Mover that guitarist Steve Vai was auditioning drummers for his live band. Mike successfully auditioned for Steve Vai's band and relocated to Los Angeles.
From late 1996 to early 2000, Mangini was the highly regarded drummer of Vai's live ensemble, which also included bassist Philip Bynoe, guitar wizard Mike Keneally and (in 2000) guitarist Dave Weiner. Mike also recorded several drum tracks for Steve's "Fire Garden" and "Ultrazone" albums.
In 2005, Mike accepted a full-time teaching position at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and today he is a prominent faculty member in the school's percussion department.
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 20 years ago, abruptly quit the band last summer while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD.
He played on AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, "Nightmare", following the death of that band's drummer, Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, and toured with them in late 2010 .