Other Side Projects

  1. How did Mike end up being the drummer for John Petrucci’s band on the 2001 G3 tour? faq id: 106
  2. Is there a spat going on between Mike and Neil Peart? What happened and what was said? faq id: 128
  3. How did Mike get involved with the Rush tribute? faq id: 431
  4. How did Mike determine which tracks should have gone on the Rush tribute? faq id: 464
  5. What was Mike's involvement with the ELP tribute?
    What drum set up did Mike use on the ELP tribute? What drum set up did Mike use on Andy West's album?
    faq id: 465
  6. Why didn't Mike play during the G3 jams? faq id: 466
  7. What kind of side project would you like to be involved in next? faq id: 467
  8. How does Mike feel about how his drum tracks sound when playing (as a guest) on someone else's album? faq id: 468
  9. Since Mike didn't get to work with Daniel Gildenlow in OSI, would Mike ever try to working with Daniel on a future side project? faq id: 469
  10. Would Mike ever consider working with Geoff Tate or Chris DeGarmo in the future? faq id: 470
  11. Would Mike ever consider working with Steve Vai on a project? faq id: 471
  12. What is Yellow Matter Custard? What is the Beatles connection? faq id: 472
  13. Why wasn't Ty Tabor involved in Yellow Matter Custard? faq id: 473
  14. What songs were covered at the Yellow Matter Custard shows? faq id: 474
  15. Will the Yellow Matter Custard show at BB King's ever get released? faq id: 475

Questions and Answers

  1. How did Mike end up being the drummer for John Petrucci’s band on the 2001 G3 tour? faq id: 106
    MP: Well, um, my end of it came about just by John simply asking me to do it! (laughs) You know? John's involvement came about by Joe (Satriani) and Steve Vai asking him to do it. It is that simple. Basically, John was offered the gig. He took it. And then John offered me the gig, and I took it. You know, I actually am very flattered that John asked me to do it, to be honest. Because, he could have very easily have gone out and done this on his own and not been willing to share the spotlight with any Dream Theater members. Like I said, I'm flattered and I admire the fact that he feels such a close connection with me musically, and personally, that he would not mind sharing the spotlight with me. And for me it was a really different role because I was really…almost like a hired gun on this thing. As soon as John asked me, I said “Look, if you want my opinion, if you want my input just ask for it.” But I said, “If you don't ask for it, I'm not going to give it”. Because it's not going to be like Dream Theater where I'm totally in control of every aspect. I didn't want to step on his toes with this thing. It was his gig. So, I'm went along as a drummer. I didn’t write the set list, I didn’t write the music. I didn’t do anything. I just played the drums and, for me, it was a refreshing change of pace.

  2. Is there a spat going on between Mike and Neil Peart? What happened and what was said? faq id: 128
    Answer: Neil was one of Mike's biggest influences, but Mike read an interview on-line where Neil made some less-than-possitive remarks about the Rush tribute that Mike was strongly involved in. Mike is not one to mince words and shared his feelings on Neil's reaction in a number of publications and websites, such as Metal-Sludge's 20 Questions and the now-defunct Rush fanzine "A Show of Fans." You can find Neil’s interview here. Mike’s 20 Questions at Metal Sludge is here.

  3. How did Mike get involved with the Rush tribute? faq id: 431
    MP: Well, it started in December of 95 and I guess I was the first person called. Originally Magna Carta asked if I would be interested in doing this with Billy Sheehan. It definitely interested meon two levels. First, playing with Billy was a really cool opportunity. I've always been a fan of his playing, so to do a project with him was exciting for me. And then I figured if there was any band I would want to be part of a tribute to, it was Rush. They were always a huge, huge influence for me and also for the rest of the guys in Dream Theater. And if there was any drummer I'd tip my cap to, it would be Neil. He was a big influence for me when I was younger. Once I agreed to get involved, it became obvious that I was a big, big Rush fan and had the best grasp of their career out of anybody involved. So Magna Carta gave me a certain amount of creative input in terms of picking the songs, maybe gathering some of the musicians, a lot of that kind of stuff. I had limited time, so I could only be involved so much. In fact, there's things on the CD that I definitely would have done differently if I had more time to be involved.

  4. How did Mike determine which tracks should have gone on the Rush tribute? faq id: 464
    MP: Well, when it came time to pick the tracks, I decided to focus on ther period of theirs which was the biggest influence for me. Basically, the period between 2112 and Signals. Like '76 to '83. So when picking the songs, I naturally chose from that period and I wanted to choose some of the more classics for the older fans and some of the obscure for the newer fans. Stuff like Jacob's Ladder, Natural Science and By-Tor. I didn't want to pick the stuff they still do in their setlist, like Tom Sawyer, Spirit of Radio and YYZ. I wanted to stay away from some of the more obvious ones. One big one that I really wanted to be on the album, and it ended up not getting done was The Camera Eye.

  5. What was Mike's involvement with the ELP tribute?
    What drum set up did Mike use on the ELP tribute? What drum set up did Mike use on Andy West's album?
    faq id: 465

    MP: I did it in one afternoon at Joe Franco's studio in Manhattan. Joe plays Premier and Zildjian, so that's what I'm using on that recording - not that I'm endorsing them, but that's what I used for that and for the Andy West's album. I was just strictly a "hired gun" so I didn't even deal with my own drums. I was sent all of Trent Gardner's tracks and I chose from two from the five or six that I was sent. Trent had the songs programmed with a click track and a guide keyboard, so I had to sort of play to that, but I liked what I played on those two tracks because Trent changed the arrangements so much that I wasn't at all confined to playing Carl's parts. I was able to play as if it was an original piece of music, so it was fun.

  6. Why didn't Mike play during the G3 jams? faq id: 466
    MP: I did get to play on the last 3 US shows and it was AWESOME, but on that tour, I had to swallow the harsh reality that I was only a "D" in the world of "G"s. And the jam was really JP's spotlight so I was cool with that...disappointed yes....but I understood it was a "G" thang...

  7. What kind of side project would you like to be involved in next? faq id: 467
    MP: I would LOVE to do a very heavy project next - something with NO keyboards....just for a change.

  8. How does Mike feel about how his drum tracks sound when playing (as a guest) on someone else's album? faq id: 468
    MP: With my projects, I'm so controlling that I can see it through every step of the way, but with something like that, I just play my parts and leave, and then six months later when I hear the final product, I'm never as pleased as I am with my own projects, since the drums could have been louder or whatever.

  9. Since Mike didn't get to work with Daniel Gildenlow in OSI, would Mike ever try to working with Daniel on a future side project? faq id: 469
    MP: I would love to do something with Daniel. I think he's an amazing talent and I really respect him as a talented musician.

  10. Would Mike ever consider working with Geoff Tate or Chris DeGarmo in the future? faq id: 470
    MP: Yeah I would. As much as I don't like what they've done musically in the last 10 years, I do have a lot of respect for them. It's obvious what they are capable of. So if I was to work with them, I'd try to 'help' the direction so that it would make me more musically satisfied. But I really admire both of those guys as musicians. I would welcome a collaboration any time.

  11. Would Mike ever consider working with Steve Vai on a project? faq id: 471
    MP: I would LOVE to work with Steve Vai. He is one of my favorite guitar players and someone whose musical abilities and backround (Berklee & Zappa!!) I really admire.

  12. What is Yellow Matter Custard? What is the Beatles connection? faq id: 472
    Answer: It's from the Beatles song I Am the Walrus: "Yellow Matter Custard Dripping from a dead dog's eye... "

  13. Why wasn't Ty Tabor involved in Yellow Matter Custard? faq id: 473
    Answer: His schedule touring in King's X did not allow for his to be a part of it.

  14. What songs were covered at the Yellow Matter Custard shows? faq id: 474
    At Modern Drummer's festival on May 17th, 2003: Magical Mystery Tour Dear Prudence You Can't Do That When I Get Home Nowhere Man Rain While My Guitar Gently Weeps Ticket To Ride (with Nick D'Virgilio on tamborine) Wait (with Nick D'Virgilio on tamborine and maracas) I Want You (She's So Heavy) I Am The Walrus A Day In The Life Dream Theater: Instrumedley -------------------------------------------------------------- At BB King's Club on May 18th, 2003: Magical Mystery Tour Dear Prudence Dig A Pony She Said She Said I Call Your Name You Can't Do That When I Get Home Nowhere Man Rain Free As A Bird Come Together I Am The Walrus While My Guitar Gently Weeps (impromptu version of) The End Baby's In Black I'll Be Back No Reply The Night Before You're Gonna Lose That Girl Ticket To Ride Everybody's Got Something To Hide (Except Me And My Monkey) Oh Darling Think For Yourself Wait Revolution I Want You (She's So Heavy) encore: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) Lovely Rita Good Morning Good Morning Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) A Day In The Life

  15. Will the Yellow Matter Custard show at BB King's ever get released? faq id: 475
    Answer: Mike has hinted that it is possible - the show was recorded and filmed, although the video footage is not professional. If it is released, it will likely be some sort of bootleg, but it will NOT be released through Ytsejam Records (which only will handle Dream Theater releases).