Eric Martin says that he “might have put the kibosh on” MR. BIG doing something again in the foreseeable future.
The singer made the comment while discussing MR. BIG‘s decision to go on hiatus following the passing of Pat Torpey. The drummer died in February 2018 at the age of 64 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
Speaking to Metal Edge magazine’s “Another FN Podcast With Izzy Presley”, Eric said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “When Pat passed, I was pissed, sad that this happened and I didn’t know what was gonna happen with the band. I was so scatterbrained when that happened.
“Matt Starr was playing with us as [the main] drummer, and Pat was playing a cocktail kit on the side and doing all the background vocals. And he was great. And he passed away, and we had some gigs booked — a tour booked, in Australia with EXTREME. And we also did some clubs and festivals in Europe with FOZZY. And I look back and Pat Torpey is no longer there, and it’s just Matt. And the band sounded so different to me. It was the music, but it’s a different sound to MR. BIG. And then we got off the road and we discussed maybe getting another drummer to do a last tour — the last hurrah. And I suggested this kid — his name is Edu Cominato. He was a great drummer. He played with Jeff Scott Soto and Geoff Tate too. And he was a phenomenal drummer and could sing. And he loved Pat Torpey. And he had his snare drum toned down, the whole bit. And Paul [Gilbert, guitar] actually went to South America and did some clinics or some shows and met with Edu and they had played together.
“I don’t know what happened,” he continued. “I was starting to get phone calls from other drummers. And I love Edu. And he’s probably gonna hear this for the first time. I’m the one who brought him up, and I kind of cockblocked him in a way. Other drummers were coming out of the woodwork saying, ‘Oh, I’d love to play on MR. BIG‘s record.’ And I was thinking record — I was totally thinking Edu to play on the record. But I was also thinking — me and my big mouth — I was saying, ‘Gregg Bissonette.’ ‘Ray Luzier.’ I brought up all these names, and I could totally tell Billy and Paul were just… They were going through the grieving process as well. And I was too much of a scatterbrain. I didn’t have my shit together. I made another bad choice. I thought it was a great choice because it was paying homage to Pat. All the people who Pat loved, and that kid in South America who loved Pat. But I couldn’t make up my mind. And I think Paul and Billy — mainly Paul — just went, ‘Let’s just take a breather.’ And we’ve been taking a lot of breaths for a long time. And then the COVID thing happened, and all I thought about was that. But, yeah, I might have put the kibosh on the MR. BIG gig for a while.”
Eric added: “I would love to do a record because I enjoy making music with MR. BIG and writing with Paul — and Billy as well. I would like to close the door on MR. BIG in a good way. Not, like, ‘Pat passed away and then…’
“I’m not blaming myself completely. I’m just saying I think I might have had a little to do with not moving forward. My intentions were great; they were honorable. I was thinking of Pat, but I thought about Pat so much. I [was], like, ‘We have to have a great drummer. We have to have an amazing drummer, somebody who’s that level.’ And, ugh — me and my Mr. Big Mouth strikes again.”
In May 2020, Sheehan gave an interview to the “Music Mania” podcast in which he claimed that a “mastering problem” with MR. BIG‘s latest album, “Defying Gravity”, which came out four years ago, made the LP “unlistenable.” He went on to say that “the label ruined the record” by insisting on having the album and “putting it out when it’s not ready.” He explained: “If we had another day to get it to proper mastering and get it done right, it would have been fine. ‘Cause I was there for the final mixes — I went in there every day and listened to mixes. Pat was there with us too. We went through the mixes, and they were sounding great. And, unfortunately, we got screwed.
“I’ve seen it before in many other situations with many other bands,” he added. “We’ve got the marketing department and they’re ready to go and they’ve gotta have the record now. And then I’ve also seen other bands just say, ‘No. The record is not done. You’re out of luck.’ And I wish we would have just said that, because I just don’t think the record had the kind of life it had when I heard the final mixes.”
A short time later, Frontiers Music Srl released a statement clarifying that it wasn’t the label responsible for “ruining” “Defying Gravity”, which marked Torpey‘s final recorded appearance with MR. BIG.
“Defying Gravity” was released via Wowow Entertainment, Inc. in Japan and Frontiers Music Srl in most of the rest of the world.
After announcing his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2014, Torpey continued to write, record and perform with MR. BIG, who also recruited Matt Starr to share drum duties.
MR. BIG, formed in 1988, produced numerous hit songs that ranged across a wide array of rock genres — be it ballads, heavy metal, or blues rock. Their hits include “Alive And Kicking”, “Just Take My Heart” and the chart-topping ballad “To Be With You”.
This past February, MR. BIG released a new live set, “Raw Like Sushi Mega Edition – Revive 2017: 2017 Japan Tour Official Bootleg Box”. A complete collection of MR. BIG‘s 2017 performances in Japan, it features all nine concerts which took place between September and October of that year.