Mr. Big


13 Novembre 2017


Blaster Of Muppets

Interview Eric Martin (by email)

A short message before reading : this interview was sent to the band by email a few days after their concert in Paris last November. But sometimes emails get lost or forgotten... and this one just came back at the end of March. As Eric Martin answered these questions after the European tour a few months ago, before Pat Torpey passed away, you won't find anything related to that matter. Enjoy!

Hi guys, how is this European tour so far? Any highlights?

Hi ! Eric here, the European tour just ended and it was super fantastic. For me the highlights of the tour was doing a live DVD in Milan and singing the old Humble Pie hit "30 Days In The Hole" with Cormac Neeson, the incredible soul belter for our support act The Answer.

The concert in Paris was a blast… what a pleasure to see you all together. It seems that you’re still having a lot of fun on stage… how do you keep it fun after all these years and all these gigs?

Life is easier now with Mr. Big… no stress , no record company pressure... and we genuinely love to play... Paris was a magical night...

What about The Answer? Did you know this band before the tour and did you have anything to do with their presence on the bill? Same thing for Faster Pussycat…

I never saw Faster Pusscat back in the day... I met Tamie a few times at MTV award shows but never saw the band... they were the ultimate Hollywood party band. I love those guys, Chad, Tamie, Danny, Christian and Ace. They gave me a boost , a spark , made me let down my hair sort of speak. This tour was so much fun having them around..ha… never a dull moment.  The Answer could have easily headlined or share the headlining bill. They are by far one of the best Rock & soul bands that I have seen in years. I think that they made us all step up to our A game. I love their songs...

Talking about live performances, you must be one of the few bands that released more live albums than studio albums, should we expect a live recording from this tour?

We recorded a hot and sweaty live DVD at the Live Club in Milan Italy in November. We’re working on the album package now.

With Paul’s return, I assume it seemed logical to play songs from the albums you recorded with him, but would you consider playing a couple of tunes from the records you did with Richie Kotzen in the future? There are some very good songs there too even though these albums may not be regarded as classics by some…

I have been pushing for the Richie Kotzen era songs for years, tunes like "Superfantastic", Shine", Lost in America", " How does it feel", "Electrified", "Static" etc.  But it always lands on deaf ears. It's ironic, when Kotzen was in our band he had to play Paul Gilbert's tunes. Those tunes would sound amazing and the audience would absolutely love them... oh well.

I really like when you guys go acoustic. Would you like to try a full acoustic tour, like what you did for “Live From The Living Room” but not just for Japan this time?

Again I would jump at the chance to do an acoustic tour... but most folks want to hear Paul & Billy do their hard and heavy solos.

Back to the new album now : “Defying Gravity” came almost as a surprise… No news for some time, and suddenly, a new album ready to be released… is it the will to surprise your fans or just that you didn’t expect to come up with an album in such a short period of time?

We had a small window of opportunity to work with our first producer Kevin Elson. He only had a little over a week to give us because he had committed to doing another project. I thought just like always we would have more time but we didn’t. It was crazy as hell but a challenge to come up with tunes on the spot. I'm not in favor of this type of work schedule but in the long run it turned out pretty damn good.

How was it to work with Kevin Elson (who produced your four first albums) again?

It was too short of a reunion , we didn’t spend a lot of time in pre-production but Kevin is a great arranger and knows song structure. He knows where to cut the bullshit and where the meat of the song is... I wish I would have spent more time with him, he's got great ideas and incredible feel.

How satisfied are you with the result, in terms of sound? The way “Defying Gravity” sounds has resulted in mixed reactions on the net because of its rawness…

Songs like " Everybody Needs A Little Trouble" sound killer in that raw earthy low end, dark tone and some songs just don't fit in that dark sound. I was hoping that my LV had a little bit more shine to it as well as a high crack in the snare and drums... but the record was mixed dark and hard and that's that... I would have liked a more brighter master mix.  

It’s really great to see you going together with Pat Torpey and Matt Starr beyond the drums! It really is an emotional moment when Pat appears on stage in your show, I was sincerely moved when I saw him get on stage in Paris last week… When he was diagnosed with Parkinson disease, did you first think it was going to be the end of Mr. Big?

There was a moment when he wasn’t coming out with us and we thought about calling it quits....  But Having Pat out on the road has had a spiritual effect on all of us... he's our brother and friend and I don't know what I would do without him.

Billy Sheehan seems quite busy with his other bands (The Winery Dogs and now Sons Of Apollo), Paul Gilbert also releases solo albums from time to time, you have toured with Avantasia… are there any other projects on the side coming up soon?

I'm working on an acoustic tour in South America/Europe for the end of the year... Mr. Big will be doing festivals in the USA and Europe in the Spring/Summer. 

With all this, would you say that Mr. Big is still a priority to you?

Yes... absofuckinglutely

It’s probably a bit too soon to talk about that but I couldn’t help but notice that Mr. Big is going to turn 30 in a couple of years… Have you thought about something special you’d like to do for the occasion?

Live through it...

The last word is yours, anything thing you’d like to say:

I still love what I do... I love singing on stage. I'm home now Jonesing to get back on the road again... this last tour was great, there wasn't a lot of breaks or days off but I loved hanging with the band, crew, the support bands and all the fans who came to see us. I love that circus atmosphere of the road and all the craziness that goes with it. I live for this life.