SANZ: What/Who inspired you into the world of drumming
Lee: I was a troubled kid and at 14 my parents put me in Regal Crownsmen Drum Corps with my cousins and from the minute I started drumming I loved it.
SANZ: Were you self taught or take lessons
Lee: Drum Corps taught me discipline, perfection and team work and rudiments, I taught myself how to drum on kit until I took lessons from Joe Pet “Joe Perry Project” and Mark Parmet from Brown University
SANZ: How did you guys end up getting the name NRG and is it short for anything
Lee: We went through 100 names, funny enough Les Brown (singer) ex-wife actually came up with it & we all agreed that “NRG” (energy) was it …
SANZ: What would you prefer to do work and record in a studio or perform live?
Lee: In music there is nothing like the feeling performing to a “live” audience, that’s ultimately what music is about, and satisfies both the musician & the audience … well ”hopefully” lololol…sharing your art & music is the Universal Language …
I had a lung removed & 6 screws & a plate put in my neck in 2005 to add to my health issues, so my live performing days ended due to breathing problems, and I decided to focus on my Drum educational program and it is just now getting International response and credibility …
SANZ: what would you say is the best thing about performing live?
Lee: Do you mean besides the woman that love musicians ? … ok … I loved the pressure of a show especially when on a bill with Music HOF artists as Nazareth, Judas Priest, Blue Oyster Cult caliber bands or showcases for record companies, those shows were always most exciting with your future on the line & forces you to put every last ounce of “NRG” into your performance
SANZ: what’s is the best place you've traveled to and played a gig
Lee: The coolest show was performing at a Boston venue in replace of “Judas Priest” for a north east promotional tour because Rob Halford couldn’t make it from Germany , KK Downing & Glenn Tipton showed up in support and loved us, we also learned “Beyond The Realms Of Death” and played it at soundcheck for them and they absolutely loved it that night. We booked another venue just for an after show VIP party with them and audience members … well mostly “woman” … (Ill add picture)
SANZ: If someone told you back when Instruments Of Destruction appeared in the film/on the soundtrack for Transformers that 30 years later this song would still be a big hit what would you have said to that person
Lee: I wouldn’t hesitate to say … “Of course its still popular, what other band or song can historically represent a bunch of “Metal” fighting Decepticons from outer space that Transform into battle gear to destroy Autobots on planet Earth than our song “Instruments Of Destruction” ?...
SANZ: Can you tell us the story/inspiration behind the song Instruments Of Destruction and how it ended up being used in the film
The words in the song were written by Ernie Burns, his girlfriend at the time Robin Ward & friend Steven Serpa, Phil Greene produced it and Ernie & I worked on the music together. NRG recorded “IOD” with Les Brown (vocals) Lee Mangano (drums) Pat Lynch (bass) Ernie Burns (guitar)
The song “IOD” was written and recorded before the opportunity was offered to us by Scotti Brothers/CBS president Johnny Musso through our NY manager Joe Olivieri a friend of his. Mr. Musso actually wanted another song called “Lookin” to appear in Silvester Stallones movie “Cobra” but the recording wouldn’t be ready in time so Mr. Musso suggested that our song “Instruments Of Destruction” would be perfect for the Transformers Movie.
And yes we almost missed that opportunity also having only 48 hours to mix & mastered & ship FedEx overnight test tones & the final mixdown the following night to beat the move soundtrack mastering deadline. Today I personally will never forget and can’t thank Phil Greene enough for getting it done. Phil’s top of the list and “Amazing’ producer and engineer. We just reunited 2014 and recorded 3 songs with Phil and Tony Ricci we are trying to submit for the 2017 Transformer 5 soundtrack. Spread the word .
SANZ: What would be your most memorable moment be in your music career
Lee: After the last few years changing focus in music due to health, I decided to regroup and developed my drum instructional program called “Drum School” starting with my self produced 5 pc instructional catalog
Last month of the millions of drummers in the world, I was accepted as just 1 of 160 exclusive international drum teachers from over 100 countries on Jarrod Faulks www.Drumeo.com voted throughout the drum world the #1 online International drum educational website with 130,000 registered students. I am honored to have the opportunity to teach virtually “Live” in any country on the planet now using drumeo top of the line teaching tools and program along with access to their exposure worldwide
SANZ: is there a least memorable moment you'd like to forget about and can you tell us about it
Lee: Oh you’ll love this one…although its not forgettable and I got through it…we booked a show at our hometown venue “The Living Room” for a showcase for 2 music industry people interested in signing NRG. our our management flew in Patrick Armstrong who worked with everyone from Quiet Riot to Lynard Skynyrd
& Mariah Carey & we flew in Tony Martell CBS record executive signing Ozzy, Stevie Ray Vaughn & George Benson to list a few.
This was as big a ‘make or break’ show and our bands 1st showcase, so the pressure was on … well waiting in dressing room itching to go on, bass player girlfriend was doing make up & hair for us to look good …I “Never” wore make up and she asked me a few time I finally said ‘yea’ and she put this eye liner on…. From the 1st song & sweating it went in both eyes burning so bad I had to play the whole show blind and barely peeking now & then it hurt so bad…
SANZ: If you had a chance to go back in time and repeat your musical career over again would you take that chance would you do anything differently if you did
Lee: No music is it, I couldn’t imagine dedicating myself to anything other career choice, I have ADD (attention disorder) & OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder ) Music is the perfect job for me
SANZ: What are your thoughts on the music industry now compared to the 80s.
Lee: Completely gone, there is no music industry or record companies anymore, music is “Free” now file sharing etc…quality, originality or talent isn’t required in todays music, then again most of todays music sucks & isn’t worth paying for anyway
SANZ: What are your thoughts on movie soundtracks today that are mainly collections of common chart hits vs. songs/music being specifically written for films.
Lee: Pathetic, companies & bands now pay for that exposure & the music has “nothing” to do with the movie or even in it…… every song on the 1987 original TF:TM soundtrack is in a scene in the movie, go ahead listen to the last 4 TF live action soundtracks & see how many of the songs are used in the movie or fit the script ?
SANZ: What are your thoughts on american idol/got talent reality shows
Lee: I love them, some people call it a fast track to the top … but 9 out of 10 of the finalist belong there and deserve the exposure and success…
SANZ: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start playing the drums
Lee: Understand if you want to make a mark in the music world as a drummer,
#1 Dedicate yourself completely to the instrument
#2 Understand you are the back bone of the band & how important that role is
#3 Be a professional and earn respect from everyone you deal with in the industry
SANZ: What are your plans for the rest of 2016
Lee: This maybe my most important year yet at 57 yrs old and maybe my last ditch effort to assure I leave my mark on the drum world. My 2 main goals in 2016 are:
#1 Establish my “Virtual” drum classes in my state & branch out to a global academy
#2 Renew my Hasbro License for my NRG/STX TF drumstick designs & put on market
#3 Submit our “NRG” 3 song new releases to be considered for TF5 soundtrack
Now since the film is turning 30 this year thought we would drop a few questions relating to the franchise in
SANZ: Did you ever watch the series when it came out before Instruments Of Destruction made it to the film
Lee: No I wasn’t a fan but knew of it
SANZ: If not did you check it out after the inclusion of the song into the film
Lee: Of course, but I was never into animation & cartoon stuff…
SANZ: This is a minor crazy little question if you ever did catch the animated transformers series/movie who would your favorite faction be and why
Lee: Bumble Bee because he talks in music …
SANZ: Who would your favorite Autobot/Decepticon be
Lee: Megatron because hes’ cool as shit & looks so rock
1. Drum School Products ~ http://leemangano.wix.com/drumschool
dvd - cd's - books - pdf
2. Drumeo International Virtual Lessons ~ www.drumeo.com
scroll bottom > click "Drum Teachers" > my zip code 02888
3. DS Pre-Berklee Camps ~ http://leemangano.wix.com/drumschool-camp
NRG / Transformers : websites
4. NRG/STX Transformers Club ~ http://leemangano.wix.com/nrgtransformersclub#!store/cff9
Hasbro licensed original designed TF drumsticks - Band - Music - Merchandise -
5. Facebook : NRG TF Club https://www.facebook.com/NrgTransformersClub
6. YouTube : NRG "Instruments Of Destruction" https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=instruments+of+destruction