As any touring musician knows, the road can be grueling. There's travel by air and bus, hotels, meals on the go, soundchecks, interviews – so much for that notion of partying every day. And if you're Dream Theater's drumming master Mike Mangini, there's also that not-so-small matter of playing three hours a night of some of the most technically advanced prog-metal music ever written.
During a brief moment of downtime on the mighty DT's An Evening With Dream Theater world tour, Mangini sat down to answer a batch of questions from MusicRadar readers. (For all Dream Theater tour dates, click here.)
Do you ever get in a rut with your drumming, and if so, how do you break out of it? – Mike Zantis
“My chops don’t really veer too far one way or the other. When I’m off of my A-game, however, I practice extremely slowly or go golfing.”
What was the last breakthrough you had with your playing? – Dan E. Stoller
“It was adjusting my velocities and realizing that I don’t have to smash everything, with the perception that hitting harder gets you a better sound. Hitting hard enough gets the best sound, yes. Over-smashing is hard not to do, especially when you’re an excitable person, so I’ve learned to control the velocities – to make them strong but not go below a certain point.
“That’s a ton of work, though, because it forces you to redo your own protocalls, your operating system. It’s a big, big behavior change.”