During a recent conversation on The Mistress Carrie Podcast, Dream Theater’s famous drummer Mike Mangini talked about his relationship with Eddie Van Halen and praised him for his generosity and kindness.
Mike Mangini is best known as the current drummer of Dream Theatre who replaced founding member Mike Portnoy in 2010. Prior to that, he was a member of Extreme, whose current frontman Gary Cherone spent three years with Van Halen as the band’s lead singer.
As you may recall, Sammy Hagar had a falling out with Van Halen in 1996 and the band was left without a lead vocalist. While looking for appropriate candidates, Van Halen’s manager called Gary Cherone who auditioned for the position of Van Halen’s lead vocalist. Eddie really liked Gary’s performance but he also admired his songwriting and work ethic.
During his time with Van Halen, Mike Mangini and Gary kept in touch even though Extreme had disbanded and Mangini was performing with Steve Vai’s band. As both of them were in Los Angeles, they would meet up at 5150 studios and at some point, Mike had the chance to have a nice chat with Eddie Van Halen.
One day Eddie gave Mangini the codes to 5150 Studios’ gates and told him to come and go as he pleased. As you know, 5150 was Eddie’s recording studio which was built so that Eddie could oversee the recording process more thoroughly and every Van Halen album after 1984 was recorded in that studio. Thus, it was a huge honor for Mangini to have the codes of the iconic studio and come and go as he pleased.
Here’s what Mike Hangini said in the interview:
“When Gary was in the band, we would typically have the same weeks off. I was off with Steve Vai, and he was off too with Van Halen.
So up at 5150 Studios, it was the point where Eddie gave me the codes to the gate, I came and went as I pleased – could you imagine that? Pulling up and getting the codes to the gate? I’ve got some stories from then, oh my gosh, what fun that was.
I was speaking to him, because at one point, I was just there talking to Gary all the time, and we would go to the studio and hang out, and then Eddie was generous enough to give me [access to] the studio.
I had no place to go to practice for two weeks before a tour, and he said, ‘Here, take your stuff, put it in there, and just go and play.’ It was amazing. What he said to me one day was, ‘Yeah, Nuno [Bettencourt, Extreme guitarist], how does he do that? How does he sound like that?’ That is what he said to me.”