Back in the days Mr. Big was one of the few "shredder" hard rock metal bands that prized song craft as highly as virtuosity. The seeds for the group’s formation were sown when bass player extraordinaire Billy Sheehan (ex-David Lee Roth band, Talas) began piecing together a new outfit with former Racer X guitarist Paul Gilbert, drummer Pat Torpey (Ted Nugent, Impellitteri, Robert Plant), and singer Eric Martin, the latter of who had issued a couple of solo releases in the mid 80’s. By 1989 the band inked a recording contract with Atlantic, resulting in the release of a self-titled debut the same year. The album was a success, especially in Japan, and it included the MTV hit singles "Addicted to That Rush” and ”Wind Me Up”. Their sophomore album LEAN INTO IT was released in 1991 and it was a bigger worldwide success with the help of the mega hit ballad "To Be with You". Their third album BUMP A HEAD came out in 1993 and although it included another hit single "Wild World" (a cover of an old Cat Stevens classic), it failed to reach its predecessors sales figures. During next month’s years Mr. Big did a lot of touring including a tour with Aerosmith in Europe, they had three sold out headline shows in Tokyo’s classic Budokan arena, and played a show in Sao Paulo in front of 100 000 people. HEY MAN was released in 1996 but soon after everybody in the band started to concentrate more and more on other stuff than Mr.Big and as a result the band was on hold for nearly two years. In 1999 Mr. Big decided to reform but at that point Paul Gilbert refused to come back so Mr.Big decided to continue with a new guitarist Ritchie Kotzen (ex-Poison) and later on they released two more albums: GET OVER IT (2000) and ACTUAL SIZE (2001) before they called it quits after a farewell tour in 2002. In February of 2009 it was announced that the original line up of Mr. Big would do a reunion tour in the summer in Japan to celebrate its 20th anniversary of their debut album. As expected, that tour proved to be highly successful and they decided to continue the tour outside of Japan. A twenty-date European tour started on the 9th of September in Tallinn, Estonia. On the next day the band arrived in Helsinki and I had a chance to sit down and talk with Mr.Torpey about the past and possible future of Mr.Big amongst other interesting topics. Read and learn on!
INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
TRANSCRIPTION BY ANTAURA ZED