Mike Mangini

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Mike Mangini
Drummer - Progressive metal, heavy metal

Bands: Dream Theater, John Petrucci, G3, Steve Vai, Extreme, Annihilator, James LaBrie, Tribe of Judah, Shredding the Envelope, Dave Reffett

Drumsticks: Zildjian

Mike Mangini (born (1963-04-18) April 18, 1963 (age 59) in Newton, MA) is an American drummer, and the current drummer for progressive metal band Dream Theater. He has played for Annihilator, Extreme, James LaBrie, and Steve Vai, among others. He was on the faculty at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and is also known for his work as a session musician. At his height from 2002–2005, Mangini was famous for setting five World's Fastest Drummer (WFD) records. He also has written two books titled Rhythm Knowledge about his drumming techniques, a practice method for deconstructing and simplifying complex polyrhythms and time signatures. Mangini appeared on the Discovery Channel show Time Warp, displaying his drum skills for high speed cameras. In 2010 Mangini joined Dream Theater, after the departure of founding drummer Mike Portnoy.

Early life

Mike Mangini started playing the drums when he was two and a half years old. He would practice two to four hours a day and by the time he was nine he was already mimicking Buddy Rich performances. By high school, he was performing in school bands and participating in the prestigious All-County, All-State, and all Eastern United States ensembles.

After graduating from Waltham Senior High School in 1981, Mangini put aside his music studies to pursue a computer science major at Bentley University. After graduating Mike started programming software for the Patriot Missile program. At the same time, he was working on a program that studied the links between the human brain and body.

In 1987, Mangini scored one of his first 'high-profile' gigs - playing drums for the Rick Berlin Band in Boston, where he worked with bassist Philip Bynoe (who would later go on to work with Mike in sessions for Journey's Steve Perry and more notably during Mike's time in the Steve Vai band). He also taught drums privately in Boston during this time.

Recording career

In 1991, Mangini began working for the thrash metal band Annihilator. Mike performed on the drums on several tracks for the studio album, Set the World on Fire. He went on to tour with the band in support of this album up until 1994. In 1994 he was asked to play with the band Extreme, replacing original drummer Paul Geary. Mike Mangini had been friends with noted Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt since the 1980s. His time in Extreme included recording several tracks for their 1995 album, Waiting For The Punchline. During this time, he also made an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. While on tour with Extreme in 1995, Mike recorded songs for Nuno on his 4-track tape machine. Those songs ended up on Schizophonic after Nuno left Extreme to pursue a solo career.

After Extreme dissolved in 1996, Mike was informed through drummer Jonathan Mover that guitarist Steve Vai was auditioning drummers for his live band. Mike successfully auditioned for Steve Vai's band and relocated to Los Angeles. From late 1996 to early 2000, Mangini was the highly regarded drummer of Vai's live ensemble, which also included bassist Philip Bynoe, guitar wizard Mike Keneally and (in 2000) guitarist Dave Weiner. Mike recorded several drum tracks for Steve's Fire Garden and The Ultra Zone albums. He also rehearsed and recorded Alive in an Ultra World while on tour with Steve Vai in 2000.

Following the initial suspension of the South American leg of the Ultrazone Tour in 2000, Mangini moved back home to Boston and began teaching at Berklee College as an associate professor. He began working with former Extreme frontman Gary Cherone and bassist Pat Badger in the short-lived band, Tribe of Judah. He also continued to work with Dale Bozzio (formerly of the new wave band, Missing Persons), and recorded several more records. Among these records was a Rush tribute record (entitled Subdivisions) and a second full-length album with Annihilator titled All for You. He also recorded tracks for artists Sal DiFusco, Bill Lonero and Chris Emerson.

In 2005, he accepted a full-time teaching position at the Berklee College of Music in Percussion Department. He resigned in 2010 to join Dream Theater.

In 2007, he recorded drums on the album Metal by Annihilator.

At the end of 2010, Mike, along with Marco Minnemann, Peter Wildoer, Virgil Donati, Aquiles Priester, Derek Roddy and Thomas Lang, auditioned to replace Mike Portnoy as the drummer for Dream Theater. On Friday April 29, 2011, Dream Theater officially announced that Mike Mangini was to be their new drummer. He has since recorded the studio albums A Dramatic Turn of Events and Dream Theater with the group, as well as the live album Live at Luna Park.

In 2012, he toured with John Petrucci and Dave LaRue for the G3 tour in South America.

WFD Records

  • Bare hands (no sticks) in 60 seconds, which he earned by executing 1,138 single stroke notes in April 2002.
  • Mike was the 1st person in history to break 1,200 notes when he played 1,203 single notes at the 2005 Winter NAMM Session, which had stood for eight years before falling to Tom Grosset (1,208) in 2013
  • Traditional Grip which he earned by executing 1,126 single strokes in 60 seconds in 2003, stood for five years before falling to Matt Smith (1,132) in 2008.
  • Single Stroke Foot record playing 13,222 hits in 15 minutes and 4,555 hits in five minutes, records that stood for two years before falling to Mike "Machine" Mallais (13,309/4,595) in 2007.


Zildjian Mike Mangini Artist Series Drumsticks
A stick that lets you play with reckless precision.

Constructed from an advanced material for this very technical and musical artist. The material allows the drumstick to be weight and density-controlled to meet a heavy weight specification. These sticks have an incredibly smooth and solid feel. The acorn tip produces a clean response. Mike presents his preferred pronunciation with "Laminated Bieerch" print under the Zildjian logo.


  • Category: Artist Series
  • Length: 16-1/2"
  • Diameter: 0.585"
  • Finish: laminated birch
  • Wood type: laminated birch
  • Tip type: wood tip
  • Genre: country, fusion, hip hop, jazz, Latin, pop, R&B, rock, world
  • Skill level: advanced, beginner, expert, intermediate, professional


Buy Zildjian ASMM Mike Mangini Drumsticks
Buy Zildjian Mike Mangini Signature Birch Wood Tip Drumsticks

Mike Mangini Drumstick Collection

Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 10.

(1996) 0642 Mike Mangini - used, signature model Zildjian drumstick, 09/28/1996 Eastman Theater, Rochester, NY.
(1996) 0286 Mike Mangini - used, autographed signature model Zildjian drumstick, 10/20/1996, G3 1996 Tour, with Steve Vai, Dallas Music Complex, Dallas, TX.
0002 Mike Mangini - autographed Zildjian Super 5A drumstick, signed in 2005 for the original owner at a solo gig.
0020 Mike Mangini - used, autographed Vic Firth American Classic 5A drumstick.
0876 Mike Mangini - autographed signature model Zildjian drumstick.
0000 Mike Mangini - unused, retail signature model Zildjian drumsticks.