Dream Theater Drum Audition: More Footage

  • Posted on: 2 July 2011
  • By: Sheldon Kreger

Mike Portnoy unexpectedly left from Dream Theater in September of 2010. The remaining musicians held an audition in search of their new drummer. They invited seven of the top percussionists of our time to participate in what is arguably the most high profiile drum audition in the history of mankind. Epic!!!

The Drummers

Marco Minnemann

Virgil Donati

Thomas Lang

Derek Roddy

Aquiles Priester

Peter Wildoer


Who Won the Dream Theater Drum Audition?

Of course, most already know that Mike Mangini won the audition.

The Spirit Carries On

Dream Theater documented the auditions by video. The documentary is called "The Spirit Carries On." It is split into three episodes.

Who Auditioned for Dream Theater?

Mike Mangini

Mike Mangini is the world's fastest drummer. He was the first to break the 1200 strokes using singles (RLRLRL. . . ) in one minute flat. Here, Johnny Rabb (once a WFD record holder) prepares Mike for this unbelievable physical and mental performance.

"I shut my eyes and blacked out . . . "

Not only is Mike a speed drumming champion, he is also a coordination beast. Below is an example of Mangini's boggling layered-pattern beats.

Thomas Lang

Thomas Lang may well be the most physically coordinated individual on earth. His style is very technical and his sound is sophisticated. Thomas exemplifies how the feet can be used to play many instruments - not just bass drums. Lang shares these ideas in the DVD and book package "Creative Coordination and Advanced Foot Technique." The DVD features seven hours of instruction and solo footage across three disks. It also comes with a very, very, very cool poster of the notorious X-Ray kit. The system is based on his "Coordination Matrix," which layers patterns across limbs in a clean, systematic way.

Thomas Lang DVD: Creative Coordination & Advanced Foot Technique

Thomas Lang Book: Creative Coordination & Advanced Foot Technique

Lang's talents also include composition, production, keyboards, bass, and guitar. He plays all instruments for the tracks featured in the DVD - with the exception of guitar leads.

Marco Minnemann

In the third episode, the band explains how they slimmed down their list to Marco Minnemann and Mike Mangini.With so many outstanding individuals to be sorted, decisions are difficult. Each player nailed the songs and, all of the drummers were great to jam with. Personality? The band loved all of them - and had worked with many of them on other projects. What set Marco and Mike, apart was the state of consciousness they achieved while playing, and the energy they brought to the performance.

Petrucci explains, "It's like they reached a new psychic level."

Minneman's joyous playing is displayed clearly in his book "Extreme Interdependence" and DVD "Extreme Drumming."

Marco Minnemann Book: Extreme Interdependence: Drumming Beyond Independence (With Audio CD)

Marco Minnemann: Extreme Drumming DVD

The song comes from Marco'ss solo album "The Green Mindbomb."

Aquiles Priester

A Brazilian power-metal drummer, Priester is best known for his work with Hangar and Angra. Although he was little known before the Dream Theater audition, his playing during the audition was certainly up to par with every other drummer on the scene. Perhaps his playing brought the most raw power to the audition room.

Aquiles released his DVD "The Infallible Reason of My Freak Drumming" in 2010. Here is the trailer, featuring the song "PsychoOctopus Solo." The quality of the sound in this recording is also infallible!

Aquiles Priester DVD: The Infallible Reason of My Freak Drumming

Peter also plays for the band Arcane.

Take a look at his mad polyrhythm skills!

Derek Roddy

Derek really had a great attitude coming into the auditions. He is portrayed as humbly confident, and perhaps the least nervous of the drummers. Although he is known for his intense metal drumming, Roddy explains that this was the last style of music he fell in love with. His wide background really serves him well, as he totally ROCKED the Dream Theater audition.

Derek Roddy floored the band with his outstanding performance of blast beats. This should not have come as much of a surprise to his fans, after his documentation of this niche of drumming. He wrote the book "The Evolution of Blast Beats," created "The Complete Blast Beats Method" CD/DVD/Book package, and developed the DVD "Blast Beats Evolved." But, why settle for just thinking about his playing?

Derek Roddy DVD: Blast Beats Evolved

Not only did Roddy play outstandingly, he really seemed like a very cool guy to just hang out with. He also provides lots of great advice of the Drummerworld forums!
Derek Roddy Book: The Evolution of the Blast Beat

Derek Roddy Complete Blast Beats Method Book/cd/dvd Pack

Virgil Donati

Widely known as one of the greatest percussive artists alive, Virgil Donati appropriately nailed every challenge the band could throw at him. He was able to add in a bit of his own style without bearing over Mike Portnoy's original contributions. Perhaps he mastered this challenge during the time he played in a Dream Theater cover band in Australia.

Like Thomas Lang, Virgil has a complex and unique approach to foot work. He is known for stacking poly-rhythmic phrases across multiple instruments, and playing multiple time signatures simultaneously with different limbs. Here's an interesting view of his playing - a camera on top of his head!

It is clear to see how Virgil has a unique way of bending time. It's no wonder he's played with so many different progressive metal bands, who switch time like you're flying overseas.

Virgil recently released a challenging book called "Bass Drum Freedom."
Virgil Donati: Double Bass Drum Freedom (Book & CD)


Each and every drummer that performed in this audition is at the top of the field. Although all are clearly capable of playing the music outstandingly, the band's choice ultimately came down to the energy the drummer brought to their performances. Not only is this great for the band as they continue their incredible global touring schedule, it will also come through in future albums. Musicians across the globe are excited to see how Mike Mangini's passionate, fiery playing will energize the future of Dream Theater.

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