Author Topic: I guess Mike Mangini is kinda tired of the questions about feeling vs technical  (Read 1861 times)

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Offline Madman Shepherd

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I agree with Mangini.  It reminds me of discussion people used to have about who was a better (or personal favorite)  guitarist in Judas Priest.  Some people would rely on the old trope that "KK Downing plays with more feel and Glenn Tipton was more technical."  That's bullshit.  You want to hear a Judas Priest solo with the most feeling (in my humble opinion, of course)?  Beyond the Realms of Death or even Touch of Evil.  Glenn Tipton plays with a shit ton of feel. 

I feel the same way about Mangini.  He plays with a ton of feel. 

Offline bosk1

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I agree with Mangini.  It reminds me of discussion people used to have about who was a better (or personal favorite)  guitarist in Judas Priest.  Some people would rely on the old trope that "KK Downing plays with more feel and Glenn Tipton was more technical."  That's bullshit.  You want to hear a Judas Priest solo with the most feeling (in my humble opinion, of course)?  Beyond the Realms of Death or even Touch of Evil.  Glenn Tipton plays with a shit ton of feel. 

I feel the same way about Mangini.  He plays with a ton of feel. 

Agreed.
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Online Ben_Jamin

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Damn....it's sadly hit that point where artists have to publicly state that?
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Offline bosk1

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Damn....it's sadly hit that point where artists have to publicly state that?

I think, more to the point, it's hit that point where artists are interviewed every other week and things are posted about them on social media every other minute, so every little thing gets asked.
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Offline rumborak

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What an odd video. I felt that by the end he was contradicting what he had said at the beginning.

I also disagree with his overall point there. Just because people have a hard time articulating something they innately perceive, does not negate the existence of what they perceive. There are a lot of things in this world we all innately know but can't communicate well.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 05:03:52 PM by rumborak »
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Offline bosk1

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Oh, wow.  There are actually 8 separate videos that are different parts of that interview.  A couple of cool ones:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MMDTXL0se8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5nHyUN_7ek


There's also a cool series with Petrucci:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvsofPTTnkU
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Offline gzarruk

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He must be tired of people saying he has no feel or that he is a drum robot, but I don’t think he sounds upset or frustrated here, just this is the way he expresses himself. Just hope there comes a day when people stop complaining about Mangini for not being Portnoy.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline Bertielee

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He must be tired of people saying he has no feel or that he is a drum robot, but I don’t think he sounds upset or frustrated here, just this is the way he expresses himself. Just hope there comes a day when people stop complaining about Mangini for not being Portnoy.

They will. When hell freezes over...

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Offline jammindude

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What an odd video. I felt that by the end he was contradicting what he had said at the beginning.

I also disagree with his overall point there. Just because people have a hard time articulating something they innately perceive, does not negate the existence of what they perceive. There are a lot of things in this world we all innately know but can't communicate well.

I feel like I created an entire thread around this very idea.....and was completely lambasted for it.   But, ironically enough....maybe I just didn’t commicate well. 
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Offline Herrick

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3:37 like that guy said it's feel in a different way.

I think "feel" is a nonsense word a fan will use when a musician uses an instrument in a way that particular doesn't connect to. Just because it doesn't do anything for you doesn't mean that musician plays with no emotion or "feel".
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Offline Madman Shepherd

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3:37 like that guy said it's feel in a different way.

I think "feel" is a nonsense word a fan will use when a musician uses an instrument in a way that particular doesn't connect to. Just because it doesn't do anything for you doesn't mean that musician plays with no emotion or "feel".

This x1000. 

A lot of the musicians people claim play with more feel give me no sense of feel but I don't waste time debating it because feel is probably the most subjective and, yes, nonsense word that could possibly be used. 

Also, a lot of people have criticized Dream Theater in general for playing with no feel.  To them it doesn't matter if it's Mike or Mike, the band is robotic and has no feel.  I say screw'em. 

Offline gzarruk

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3:37 like that guy said it's feel in a different way.

I think "feel" is a nonsense word a fan will use when a musician uses an instrument in a way that particular doesn't connect to. Just because it doesn't do anything for you doesn't mean that musician plays with no emotion or "feel".

This x1000. 

A lot of the musicians people claim play with more feel give me no sense of feel but I don't waste time debating it because feel is probably the most subjective and, yes, nonsense word that could possibly be used. 

Also, a lot of people have criticized Dream Theater in general for playing with no feel.  To them it doesn't matter if it's Mike or Mike, the band is robotic and has no feel.  I say screw'em.

Nailed it.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline erwinrafael

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What an odd video. I felt that by the end he was contradicting what he had said at the beginning.

How so? His point in the end is that swing is generally in triplets. So if you are playing it with sixteenth notes, then you are not doing swing. It doesn't mean that what you are playing is not musical. It's just a different musicality.

Offline rumborak

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That's not what I meant. When he talks about swing, he essentially says "the beats are intentionally delayed, but you can't directly describe it as sixteenths or whatever", and then gives a verbal example of that style. Which seems to indicate that he exactly knows what all those people mean actually. Which then seems to contradict the whole "what is 'feel'? What does that even mean?" thing at the beginning.
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Offline Thoughtspart3

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3:37 like that guy said it's feel in a different way.

I think "feel" is a nonsense word a fan will use when a musician uses an instrument in a way that particular doesn't connect to. Just because it doesn't do anything for you doesn't mean that musician plays with no emotion or "feel".

Sorry, but just don't agree.  "feel" is not just a nonsense word.  What are people perceiving then?  Do you think people are just being a pain in the rear for kicks?  Many of these people are dedicated DT fans.  I doubt they WANT to dislike aspects of the bands musical style.  I have been a fan since 2000 and have noticed a pretty big change in the drumming.  "Feel" is not exact but I totally know what people mean.  I "feel" it too.  I still love DT and like MM but just don't find myself enjoying his drumming style as much.  Something is definitely different and "feel" while vague seems to hit the mark for me.  The challenge is for us to actually describe that in musical terms. 

Offline rumborak

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I feel you could just as well replace the word "feel" with "love", i.e. another term that everybody innately understands but can not adequately describe. You can try to describe love in terms of physiological responses, but everybody will immediately agree that those responses aren't the essence of being in love. At the same time nobody would try to argue that love doesn't exist.
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Offline Herrick

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Sorry, but just don't agree.  "feel" is not just a nonsense word.  What are people perceiving then?  Do you think people are just being a pain in the rear for kicks?  Many of these people are dedicated DT fans.  I doubt they WANT to dislike aspects of the bands musical style.  I have been a fan since 2000 and have noticed a pretty big change in the drumming.  "Feel" is not exact but I totally know what people mean.  I "feel" it too.  I still love DT and like MM but just don't find myself enjoying his drumming style as much.  Something is definitely different and "feel" while vague seems to hit the mark for me.  The challenge is for us to actually describe that in musical terms.

Yes there has definitely been a change in drumming but I think it's simply a matter of Mangini having a different style than Portnoy.

I feel you could just as well replace the word "feel" with "love", i.e. another term that everybody innately understands but can not adequately describe. You can try to describe love in terms of physiological responses, but everybody will immediately agree that those responses aren't the essence of being in love. At the same time nobody would try to argue that love doesn't exist.

Good point Rumborak. I didn't mean to imply that "feel" doesn't exist in music but to say Mangini has "less feel", "no feel", "no emotion", or "robotic playing" because his style doesn't resonate with a particular fan doesn't make any sense to Herrick.

To use love as an example: say I was wildly in love with someone and I got dumped. Then I met someone else who doesn't make me feel what I felt for the ex.  Would we say that new boyfriend/girlfriend has no love or less love than the ex?
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Offline gzarruk

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Sorry, but just don't agree.  "feel" is not just a nonsense word.  What are people perceiving then?  Do you think people are just being a pain in the rear for kicks?  Many of these people are dedicated DT fans.  I doubt they WANT to dislike aspects of the bands musical style.  I have been a fan since 2000 and have noticed a pretty big change in the drumming.  "Feel" is not exact but I totally know what people mean.  I "feel" it too.  I still love DT and like MM but just don't find myself enjoying his drumming style as much.  Something is definitely different and "feel" while vague seems to hit the mark for me.  The challenge is for us to actually describe that in musical terms.

Yes there has definitely been a change in drumming but I think it's simply a matter of Mangini having a different style than Portnoy.

Exactly. And it would've been the same case if they got Minnemann or Wildoer or whoever else. They could've got Neil Peart and people would still complain about him not playing like Portnoy. Some people just don't realise that getting a new band member will always mean a different approach or style (no matter how subtle) because it's another human being playing the instrument.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline Herrick

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Sorry, but just don't agree.  "feel" is not just a nonsense word.  What are people perceiving then?  Do you think people are just being a pain in the rear for kicks?  Many of these people are dedicated DT fans.  I doubt they WANT to dislike aspects of the bands musical style.  I have been a fan since 2000 and have noticed a pretty big change in the drumming.  "Feel" is not exact but I totally know what people mean.  I "feel" it too.  I still love DT and like MM but just don't find myself enjoying his drumming style as much.  Something is definitely different and "feel" while vague seems to hit the mark for me.  The challenge is for us to actually describe that in musical terms.

Yes there has definitely been a change in drumming but I think it's simply a matter of Mangini having a different style than Portnoy.

Exactly. And it would've been the same case if they got Minnemann or Wildoer or whoever else. They could've got Neil Peart and people would still complain about him not playing like Portnoy. Some people just don't realise that getting a new band member will always mean a different approach or style (no matter how subtle) because it's another human being playing the instrument.

And I've no problem with someone liking one drummer's style over another. I like Portnoy's playing more than Mangini's because Portnoy has more memorable parts for me. To be fair, Portnoy had a lot more to do with the music & he played on 10 out of 13 albums. It's the whole "insert musician has no feel" comments I'm criticizing.
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Offline Madman Shepherd

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Sorry, but just don't agree.  "feel" is not just a nonsense word.  What are people perceiving then?  Do you think people are just being a pain in the rear for kicks?  Many of these people are dedicated DT fans.  I doubt they WANT to dislike aspects of the bands musical style.  I have been a fan since 2000 and have noticed a pretty big change in the drumming.  "Feel" is not exact but I totally know what people mean.  I "feel" it too.  I still love DT and like MM but just don't find myself enjoying his drumming style as much.  Something is definitely different and "feel" while vague seems to hit the mark for me.  The challenge is for us to actually describe that in musical terms.

Yes there has definitely been a change in drumming but I think it's simply a matter of Mangini having a different style than Portnoy.

I feel you could just as well replace the word "feel" with "love", i.e. another term that everybody innately understands but can not adequately describe. You can try to describe love in terms of physiological responses, but everybody will immediately agree that those responses aren't the essence of being in love. At the same time nobody would try to argue that love doesn't exist.

Good point Rumborak. I didn't mean to imply that "feel" doesn't exist in music but to say Mangini has "less feel", "no feel", "no emotion", or "robotic playing" because his style doesn't resonate with a particular fan doesn't make any sense to Herrick.

To use love as an example: say I was wildly in love with someone and I got dumped. Then I met someone else who doesn't make me feel what I felt for the ex.  Would we say that new boyfriend/girlfriend has no love or less love than the ex?

I think using the word "love" is a pretty good example.  Nobody would debate your love for you significant other or your ex.  It was very personal to you.  Someone's definition of "feel" is much the same way.  Kind of pointless to debate but no less real to that person. 

Sadly I think a lot of people just start throwing out the word "feel" without really thinking about or truly understanding the volume of that word.  Not all, but a lot.

Offline Anxiety35

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To me as a drummer (and I know this is relative and theoretical) "feel" is a beautiful imperfect perfection with dynamics. It's playing on or around the time signature and on or around the notes while still being musical and fitting the song. It can be loose, but it's not sloppy because it's still in time.

I wouldn't say Mangini has no feel. Listen to his work pre-DT. For example, there's a lot of "feel" moments from Mangini on JLB's Elements of Persuasion record. I say he is precise more than feel. To me, Portnoy had more "feel" in DT. But I can see why Mangini may be tired of the questions because he's an extremely precise drummer. When I first heard him in DT, I felt he was too choppy. Some called it robotic. But man is he tight with the music. What may be his greatest strength as a drummer is his biggest complaint from fans.

"Feel" is difficult to define with words. You can probably think of many drummers across genres who play with "feel." Not to say they aren't technical too. Here's a few...

Steve Gadd
JR Robinson
John Bonham
Chad Smith
Dennis Chambers
Jeff Porcaro
Bernard Purdie
Gene Krupa
Dave Lombardo

Here are some drummers who I would classify as more precise (not that they don't have feel either). Here's a few...

Thomas Lang
Neil Peart
Matt Gartska
Virgil Donati
Buddy Rich
George Kollias
Aquiles Priester

I don't know where to put Vinnie Colaiuta. He's right in between both to me.

Offline rumborak

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I think using the word "love" is a pretty good example.  Nobody would debate your love for you significant other or your ex.  It was very personal to you.  Someone's definition of "feel" is much the same way.  Kind of pointless to debate but no less real to that person. 

Sadly I think a lot of people just start throwing out the word "feel" without really thinking about or truly understanding the volume of that word.  Not all, but a lot.

Most people, i.e. non-musicians, perceive music on a very visceral level. They either like it, they connect with it, or they don't. I think when people talk about "feel", or lack thereof, it is their attempt at giving a reason *why* they don't like it.

I get the impression MM sees this "sloppy" type of playing as undesirable and that while he possibly could play that way, he chooses not to. I wish he said it just like that, "listen guys, I know exactly what you are referring to, but it's not my style of play. Deal with it."
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Offline Samsara

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Most people, i.e. non-musicians, perceive music on a very visceral level. They either like it, they connect with it, or they don't. I think when people talk about "feel", or lack thereof, it is their attempt at giving a reason *why* they don't like it.

I get the impression MM sees this "sloppy" type of playing as undesirable and that while he possibly could play that way, he chooses not to. I wish he said it just like that, "listen guys, I know exactly what you are referring to, but it's not my style of play. Deal with it."

I agree with you, generally, Rumbo, but I don't think it is a matter of Mangini "choosing not to." I think it relates to his connection to the music he is playing.

Personally, I do get a more "clinical" vibe from Mangini's drumming style - as if he is slightly detached from the emotion of the song, and more focused on playing the parts. Whereas with Portnoy, probably because he helped shape the songs in some fashion (and in some cases wrote lyrics), always had a bit more emotion in his playing, and slight variance, because of his connection.

It's a very fine line to distinguish, and I think you sort of have to be a hardcore fan (like all of us here) to hear/feel it.

It doesn't mean Mangini isn't as good, or isn't capable of delivering that same "warmth" or emotional effect on what he plays, I just think he has been such a nomad over the years, and not very involved with the creation of the music, that he naturally just focuses on performance, not the connection emotionally to the song itself, if that makes sense.
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Offline Bertielee

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Most people, i.e. non-musicians, perceive music on a very visceral level. They either like it, they connect with it, or they don't. I think when people talk about "feel", or lack thereof, it is their attempt at giving a reason *why* they don't like it.

I get the impression MM sees this "sloppy" type of playing as undesirable and that while he possibly could play that way, he chooses not to. I wish he said it just like that, "listen guys, I know exactly what you are referring to, but it's not my style of play. Deal with it."

I agree with you, generally, Rumbo, but I don't think it is a matter of Mangini "choosing not to." I think it relates to his connection to the music he is playing.

Personally, I do get a more "clinical" vibe from Mangini's drumming style - as if he is slightly detached from the emotion of the song, and more focused on playing the parts. Whereas with Portnoy, probably because he helped shape the songs in some fashion (and in some cases wrote lyrics), always had a bit more emotion in his playing, and slight variance, because of his connection.

It's a very fine line to distinguish, and I think you sort of have to be a hardcore fan (like all of us here) to hear/feel it.

It doesn't mean Mangini isn't as good, or isn't capable of delivering that same "warmth" or emotional effect on what he plays, I just think he has been such a nomad over the years, and not very involved with the creation of the music, that he naturally just focuses on performance, not the connection emotionally to the song itself, if that makes sense.

What you say there Samsara is very interesting and I am of the same opinion. Seeing videos of Mangini or hearing him play on record, I always get the same impression of emotional detachment. Would that change if he was given more say as far as composition goes, I don't know. Three DT albums in with Mangini behind the drumkit, I'm beginning to feel rather uninterested in the drums parts, which is a shame because I was always looking for them before.

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Offline Samsara

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B.Lee,

Then again, the other difference is DT now plays to a click, I believe. Whereas with MP, they did not. That contributes to the "feel" change as well...
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Offline Bertielee

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B.Lee,

Then again, the other difference is DT now plays to a click, I believe. Whereas with MP, they did not. That contributes to the "feel" change as well...

Yeah, you're right as well. I, for one, do not think that MM doesn't play with feel, but I have difficulty hearing it. MM's preciseness is , for me, both his best asset and his worst drawback. At the same time, I'm not a musician, so that may explain my lack of understanding thereof.

B.Lee
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Offline Adami

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B.Lee,

Then again, the other difference is DT now plays to a click, I believe. Whereas with MP, they did not. That contributes to the "feel" change as well...

But MP played to a click on every single studio album which no one said had no feel.

Plenty of drummers play with clicks and keep a ton of groove/feel/love/je ne sais quoi.

I would expect a novice drummer to play very robotic with a click. But any pro should be fine.
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Offline gzarruk

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I think many criticize Mangini because his playing looks/feels "robotic" compared with Portnoy (who can be a bit sloppy sometimes). It's more of a comparison/perspective issue than anything else.

For example, I find someone like Virgil Donati to play in a much more "robotic" way than Mangini, but I don't think he has no feel/groove, he's just so technical that his playing is not that accesible as other drummers. This isn't good or bad, it's just their approach to drumming, but the problem is when we start comparing one with the other. Don't know about you, but I'm quite happy DT got someone with his own approach to drumming, as opposed to just an MP clone.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline rumborak

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One thing that's a good clue I think is, in the video itself, he talks about how "being technical just means you're playing even". I think he has spent great effort and training in being as even and on the mark as possible. I remember a home video when he was stuck in snow in Boston where he was analyzing his hits on the computer, working to be as precise as possible.
I get the impression he gets frustrated when he doesn't see the appreciation of that skill, and when he gets asked essentially to play - what he perceives - to be imprecise drumming. In my opinion here, I think he doesn't get that there's precision in that imprecision, that a drummer with great feel uses those imprecisions to great effect. In the end that's what all those classical Italian words like Allegro and Rubato aim at, the subtle modification of the rhythm to convey a state of emotion.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 05:48:34 PM by rumborak »
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Offline Progmetty

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I agree with Mangini but I'm also impressed with how well he explained that, none of the interviews I've seen of him before gave me the impression that he's this well-spoken and articulate, I guess cause the interviewers before were never musicians and he had to dumb it down for them. Hell I casually play guitar but I know nothing of music theory so I don't consider myself a musician per-se, yet I understood everything he said and it made perfect sense to me. I'm fanboying over Mangini as usual but oh well.
I get that weird inexplicable sense that Mangini isn't going to be in Dream Theater for much longer.
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Offline Anxiety35

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I get that weird inexplicable sense that Mangini isn't going to be in Dream Theater for much longer.

I've recently had those thoughts also. No reason why, just something I "feel." (horrible pun)  But seriously, maybe 1 more album & tour is what I'm thinking. I'm not an MM hater and I'm not in the "bring MP back" camp.

Anyway, back to the topic. The interview allowed MM the opportunity to explain where he is in how he does what he does. Very candid, very good explanations. I don't think the guys in the car were expecting his reaction to the idea of feel. Just watch their faces.

Online Lethean

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You guys could be right, but I really hope not.  I think he's a perfect fit for Dream Theater and I love to watch him live.