HARD NEWS CAFE caught up with DREAM THEATER’s James LaBrie before the band’s show in Salt Lake City recently – they spoke about everything from the band’s past, life on the road, Mike’s playing on the new album and more. You can see some extracts from that interview below:
HNC: You’re four shows into the tour now. How are things working out with new drummer Mike Mangini, and how has the fan response been?
LaBRIE: We did a festival run over in Europe during July and the first week in August. We were over there almost six weeks, and the fan response over there was almost overwhelming. Each and every night, he got a standing ovation. People were up clapping and were quite ecstatic with his involvement. He’s infectious. First and foremost, he’s a phenomenal drummer. Secondly, he’s somebody that exudes such a great and positive energy. He draws you into his vibe, and he has such a great aura and is very charismatic on stage.
I think everyone is naturally drawn to him. Each and every day he goes out there and he pulls it off, does what we knew that he would do. I think the beautiful thing about Mike is that he’s been doing this just as long as any one of us has been doing it. He knows what to do, he knows how to prepare, and he knows it’s not just about playing, it’s putting on a good show. He is all of that.
We’ve done four shows in North America, and the fans have responded exactly the same way. They’ve welcomed him with open arms, and it’s quite encouraging to see this — for him especially. It’s very gratifying to see that.
HNC: His playing is solid on the new album.
LaBRIE: Yes. Wait until you see him tonight. He’s phenomenal! He really is a very unique, one-of-a-kind drummer.
HNC: The other exciting part is that we have a whole new production out with us for the rest of the world tour. A lot of people are going to be blown away, and so far they have been. It’s a big step up for us production-wise.
HNC: What was the most difficult song that you’ve had to perform other than Octavarium?
LaBRIE: That’s a good question. It depends on where you’re at. It depends on your mental state and on your physical state. That’s what puts up the challenge as to how you feel or how you connect to any one given tune. That changes, and is never a constant. I never look at a song like “Learning to Live” and go, “OMG, I’ve got to sing that tonight.” Sometimes yes, depending on if I’m not feeling well or am tired. It can even be a very mellow tune that tends to not connect with me, just depending on where I happen to be. I think that question would always change. I’m feeling great, and am right where I want to be vocally. Everything feels good.
Read the full article over on the HARD NEWS CAFE website. You can pick up a copy of the album and find out more about DREAM THEATER on the band’s profile page.