Heart of Steel: Interviews

Interview by Keith McDonald

Most hard rock fans remember Eric Martin as the former lead singer of the band Mr. Big. With a string of hits and millions of records sold, Mr. Big was a mainstay on radio and MTV for a short time. After the break-up of Mr. Big, Eric carried on with his new project TMG. I recently caught up with him and got the lowdown of his new project. You can check out his website at www.ericmartin.com.

How did the TMG project get started? 

About 6 months ago I received a phone call from an assistant of Tak Matsumoto (Legendary guitarist for mega Japanese rock group the B'Z) asking me was I interested in singing lead vocals on Tak's solo album and if I had Jack Blades phone number. The two of us went to a B"Z show in San Francisco, met with Tak and finalized the deal. So for the last 4 months Tak, Jack, and I wrote and recorded 14 songs in LA with the help of Brian Tischy on drums (Pride & Glory.



How would you describe the music? 

It's like a rock and roll stew. 1 part Perfect Circle, 1 part Rush, a smidgen of Night Ranger, a dash of Mr. Big, a half-cup of Japanese seasoning. Serves thousands. (I could go on but I am starting lose consciousness with all this wacko humor…. kill me now. What can I say? It rocks! Hell it's a lot heavier than anything else I have ever done. No animals were slaughtered in the making of this record.



Will the new album be available here in the US? 

A couple weeks ago we had John Kalodner (Head master at Sanctuary) at the studio for a listen. We have had a few other American labels interested as well.



How great is it working with Jack Blades and Tak? 

Jack is the man. His bass tone sounds great. Low end brothers and sisters, exactly how it's supposed to sound. Not many people know this but way before Night Ranger and Damn Yankees the boy was in an awesome funk band called Rubicon. He knows his shit. The thing that I admire most about Tak Matsumoto is his motivation. He writes, he shreds, he sings, he scores! Tak is an icon in his country. Wait to you hear this guy, you'll crap yourself.



What caused the demise of Mr. Big? I

I don't think anybody really cares about that anymore.



Do you still speak with any of the guys? 

Nope. That's not true…I E-mail Paul Gilbert from time to time. But other than that " No speakinzy".



Will there be a solo album and tour? 

I would love that but I am really busy right now with TMG.



What are the tours plans for TMG? 

Ahh Hah! The question I have been waiting to answer! TMG will be on tour in Japan from July to September. We are in the talking stages of a possible tour of other countries as well.



Would you ever consider reuniting with Mr. Big? 

I am pretty sure that Mr. Big has had its day in the sun. I could be wrong, a new and improved Mr. Big could be coming to a town near you but I probably won't be invited to join that adventure. (Eric chokes back the tears when speaking of the dear departed 80's and 90's.)



Why did Atlantic Records keep Mr. Big on their roster when they had dropped so many of the bands from your era? 

Because we still sold a shit load of records. At the time we were the biggest American band overseas that Atlantic Records had on its roster. In the immortal words of our manager Herbie Herbert, "Its not the money…. it's the fucking MONEY".



Is the Japanese market still as strong for melodic rock? 

Oh God, it kicks ass on everybody, melodic, hard rock, old punk, Metal, Glam etc. They take Rock & Roll very seriously.



What lies ahead for you? 

Well my wife and I are expecting twins in December so I figure that after a few months of touring I will be knee deep in diapers.

Eric Martin: www.ericmartin.com