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Mr. Big – Interview

By • May 30th, 2017 • Category: Artist Interviews

Article by William Simpson

Bursting onto the scene in 1988, Mr. Big had strong vocals, booming bass, and blazing guitar riffs.  The second single off of their second album was released in early 1992 and thrusted them into the worlds spotlight.  That single still poplar today was, “To Be With You” penned by vocalist Eric Martin.  Joining Martin is Billy Sheehan on bass, Paul Gilbert on guitar, and Pat Torpey on drums.

Fast forward almost 30 years and the original four members of Mr. Big are back together and looking to release their 9th studio album entitled “Defying Gravity” on July 9th.  According to Sheehan this album will have a “similar vibe” as to the previous albums.  “Every record has a bit of evolution to it because we live our lives and do our own thing and new music we are involved with but then we come back together” states Sheehan.  One thing the band feels is really special about this album is that they are working with the man that produced their first four albums, Kevin Elson.  Sheehan describes Elson and the union as “an iconic producer, mixer, and wonderful guy and having him back again was really coming full circle for us.”  Once together Mr. Big only had six days to record the record and get everything complete.  Sheehan said the biggest challenge was “stopping reminiscing about the great times we had and get back to work.”

Mr. Big doesn’t write songs to necessarily gain favor with people but they are very happy when the fans like what they have written.  On their hour and a half to two hour set Mr. Big will play “Everybody Needs a Little Trouble” and “1992” and a few others from the new album but they will also play their hits that their fans want to hear live.  After the album comes out and the tour progresses Mr. Big will be adding in more of the new music to their sets.  “We have a lot of records to address but we will do our best to squeeze in as much as possible,” explained Sheehan.

One uncertainty when a band gets back together to make new music is the chemistry of the band members now as opposed to how it was originally. Sheehan explained, “It was unchanged.  It was like we were back in 1987 again.  We have all lived a lot of life since then.  Everybody’s been through a lot, mostly good some bad.”  Back in the day Mr. Big had a hit record and traveled all over the world and really bonded together as people and got to know and respect each other.  The bond was so tight that all these years later the bond is still strong.  “When we have fun onstage we are really having fun onstage,” said Sheehan.

Mr. Big has a great connection with their fans.  There is not much of a record industry anymore and the rock format on radio is mostly classic rock, not much room for a band like Mr. Big.  That’s where the internet come in.  Fans keep up with Mr. Big via the internet and write to the band.  Sheehan and his bandmates write back to the fans personally.  Sheehan didn’t get into the music business “to get rich or famous.  I want to play and if the people are at the show and they are having a great time, there’s nothing better in my life.”  The band always go out after the show to say hello to the fans and hang out to make that connection stronger.

When ask what he is looking forward to most on the upcoming tour, Sheehan exclaimed “Getting on that tour us and playing night after night after night.  I love it.  It’s my life blood.”  To be in a show in front of hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of their best friends and hang out afterwards, then get on a bus and repeat is what drives Mr. Big to make new music and to tour for months on end.

If you are looking for a trivia question, try this one on for size.  Who is the only person in the world never to be a member of Van Halen but has played with everyone that has been a member of Van Halen?  That is correct Mr. Billy Sheehan.

Mr. Big wants the fans to know how much they appreciate people listening to their music and spending their hard-earned money to buy a ticket, or a t-shirt, or a CD. In the words of Sheehan, “I’m forever grateful that people chose to listen to my music and get involved with the bands I have been involved with I am supremely grateful for that as a result every show I do I try to do my absolute best for people that come see us play.”  All the guys from Mr. Big feel the same way.  Whether you are a fan of Mr. Big’s hits in the late 80’s/early 90’s or if you like their new music or if you just like to see world class musicians and one of the best shows you could imagine, this is a tour you should not miss.  Also pick up a copy of “Defying Gravity” on July 7th.

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