I always felt the list of auditioners who *seriously* entertained joining DT was rather short. I mean, no way in hell can you tell me that Virgil Donati would essentially stop what he's doing and play Mike Portnoy fills day after day.
I think quite of few them would have been open to touring with them for an album or two, but too many of them were such a hot commodity that they weren't going to consign themselves to be a replacement drummer for the rest of their career.
I think you are grossly underselling the role as DT's drummer. But that said, yeah, there is definitely something to that. All of those guys were in demand within their own niches, and none of them were just sitting around looking for work. But other than Roddy, who I think was pretty clear about not wanting to officially join, I would hate to speculate about any of their true intentions. We just don't know for sure. I'm not trying to downplay the fact that the audition videos had an obvious bias in the presentation. But at the end of the day, we just don't really know too much about what any of these guys were actually thinking, other than what they have said.
Here is my personal speculation (and it is only speculation), just based on the audition videos and my very vague (and perhaps faulty) recollection of what little snippets we found around the Internet afterward:
-Mangini: Really wanted the gig. Was perhaps chosen in advance, or at least the band was leaning that way.
-Priester: Appears to have really wanted the gig. At the very least, was happy to get the exposure. Unless I am missing something, you don't cancel a couple of gigs and travel halfway around the world if you aren't serious.
-Wildoer: Appears to have really wanted the gig and would likely have taken it if offered. But he is in an interesting position. He obviously has a great relationship with James and was very enthusiastic about working with the DT guys. But abandoning Darkane and likely relocating to the U.S. would have entailed a HUGE life change. Hard to say if he really
would have taken the gig if offered, or if he was just putting his best foot forward for the exposure. Or maybe doing it with the mindset of, "I'm really comfortable where I am, but no harm in testing the waters and going for it, and if by chance I am offered the job, I can make the decision at that point." A lot of us in the working world make similar choices when we are relatively happy with where we are and an unexpected opportunity comes our way.
-Minneman: He is hard to figure out. Despite being briefly outspoken shortly after the footage was released, he is hard to read for me. His comments after the fact seemed to say he would not have taken the gig. But I remember feeling like there were other comments indicating he might have if everything fell into place in a way that made sense for him. So I think maybe he was also kind of in the mindset of "I'm really comfortable where I am, but no harm in testing the waters and going for it, and if by chance I am offered the job, I can make the decision at that point," but maybe not exactly for the same types of reasons as Wildoer might have been. I think he was perhaps more in the "I don't think this is a direction that will ultimately work for me, but let's just go in open minded, give it a shot, and see what happens." I could be off, but that is my best guess.
-Lang and Donati seemed to me to have similar mindsets in terms of something along the lines of, "Eh, probably not the direction that will be best, but it's a good opportunity, so let's give it a shot and see what happens."
-Roddy, like Mangini and Wildoer is fairly easy to figure out because he told us in detail what he was thinking going in, so there is little mystery there.
Anyway, those are my best guesses. But like anyone else's, a lot of it us pure speculation and "feeling" more than being fact-based. I could be overly optimistic in my assessments in terms of whether any of these guys outside of Mangini was truly interested. But ultimately, we know so little about these guys' private lives and their decision making processes that all we can do is guess based on the scantest of information.