Mike Mangini started playing the drums at an early age, and by high school he was performing in bands and participating in prestigious All-State and All-Eastern United States ensembles.
After graduating from high school, he put aside his music studies to pursue a computer science major at Bentley University.
In 1991 he joined the band Annihilator, playing drums on several tracks on the album “Set the World on Fire”, and going on tour to support the album until 1994. Then he joined the band Extreme, replacing original drummer Paul Geary. He played on several songs on their 1995 album Waiting for the Punchline.
After Extreme disbanded, Mangini auditioned (successfully) for Steve Vai’s band, and played with Vai from 1996 to 2000. He appeared on the studio albums Fire Garden, The Ultra Zone and the live albm Alive in an Ultra World.
Returning to Boston in 2000, he served as an associate professor at Berklee College of Music. During this period i formed a short-lived band called Tribe of Judah with Gary Cherone and Pat Badger, releasing the album Exit Elvis in 2002. In 2005 Mangini accepted a full time position at Berklee.
He had also started a relationship with James LaBrie, appearing on his two Mullmuzzler albums in 1999 and 2001, as well as the solo album Elements of Persuasion.
He also appeared on two further Annihilator albums: All for you in 2004 and Metal in 2007.