During a conversation with Ultinate Guitar’s David Slavković, Marco Minnemann looked back on auditioning for Dream Theater in 2011 after the departure of the band’s original drummer Mike Portnoy. The gig ultimately went to Mike Mangini, who is still a member of the fold.
UG: You ended up as a runner-up, with Mike Mangini taking the spot, but you were one of the fan favorites, with some of the band’s hardcore fans even being dissatisfied with the final choice. How do you look at this whole thing now, almost a decade after it happened?
Minnemann: “Always a fun thing. To be honest, I never took it that seriously. It was just a thing that happened on the spot. I’m dear friends with Mike Portnoy, and I’m also dear friends with the guys from Dream Theater. With (keyboardist) Jordan Rudess, as you know, I worked on many projects, and still work on some. It was not even considered that I would actually play on the audition, it was just a fun decision, like, ‘Hey, let’s have a fun time jamming!’ I didn’t even know the Dream Theater music; they gave me a few songs, which I just learned and played, and it was just a fun time. But when we played, all of a sudden it became really serious; all of a sudden, they all really liked it (laughs). And I liked it too – I thought, ‘Hang on, we have great chemistry here!’ But I wasn’t the right guy for them.
I told the story many times, but it was the truth. They really liked it, and they said, ‘How many Dream Theater albums do you have?’ And I said, ‘I actually don’t have any of your albums!’ And they said ‘How many songs do you know?’ And I said ‘Well, the ones you just gave me.’ And that was really a big deal for them because they were looking for someone who’d really like to be a part of the band and tour with them all the time. So that’s the history.
If I had been in Dream Theater, I would have given up the most of my activities like The Aristocrats, which are my band and that’s my home. So, these are fine decisions to make for everyone, you know – the bands, the artists – but I’m very pleased to have gotten such a good response (laughs).”
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