According to singer Eric Martin, MR. BIG have close to 13 songs written for their new studio album
In a recent interview on the weekly live radio show “This That And The Other” with Troy Patrick Farrell, Eric Martin, the lead singer of MR. BIG, discussed the band’s ongoing worldwide tour titled “The BIG Finish.” This tour holds particular significance as it marks the conclusion of a chapter in the band’s legacy, especially since their original drummer and co-founder, Pat Torpey, succumbed to Parkinson’s disease back in 2018.
The tour’s initial leg commenced in July and August, spanning Japan and Southeast Asia, where MR. BIG delivered unforgettable performances to hundreds of thousands of devoted fans across 11 sold-out shows, including a notable one at Budokan in Tokyo, Japan.
\When asked why the band feel that the current time is now to pull the plug on MR. BIG, Eric said: “Well, I really didn’t wanna end it. I think we’re gonna be done with it. I would just keep the door open forever. I didn’t wanna ever end something. I hate the end of anything, but Pat Torpey is not there anymore. And that’s kind of taking the wind out of the sails. He was the anchor of the band. And Nick D’Virgilio is a great replacement. He’s phenomenal drummer. He sings just like Pat.
“Nick‘s great. But everybody has so many other projects. I don’t. I really like the MR. BIG project… I have a couple of irons in the fire. But, yeah, it’s over. To me, it’s kind of a bummer. But it’s time. It’s been 35 fucking years, man.”
Martin went on to say that it “feels great” to have a drummer in MR. BIG who can not only reproduce Torpey‘s parts on the band’s classic songs but who also has the voice to harmonize with him during MR. BIG‘s live shows.
“No offense to Matt [Starr],” Eric said, in referene to the drummer who played with MR. BIG prior to Torpey‘s passing. “I thought Matt Starr was great. He was fine. The thing about Matt is that he came when Pat just couldn’t do it anymore. He had this little cocktail kit on the side and he would play drums with us once in a while. Matt did it. It was just too soon for me. I wasn’t ready to give up Pat Torpey. And when Matt did it, Matt has his own style. He’s more like a John Bonham.
“He’s not a Pat Torpey, and I was looking for somebody to play exactly like Pat, because I could. I wanted it, and I was really bummed that Pat couldn’t do it anymore. And Matt did it, and he did a fine job for us. We sounded like a different MR. BIG. Pat Torpey has this finessey kind of things, and he’s like Steve Gadd meets Vinnie Colaiuta meets maybe like a John Bonham. But Matt has got that form, heavy rock [approach], but there’s a lot of finesse in the MR. BIG style — you know, ‘Colorado Bulldog’ and all that.
“And Matt did a great job; he really did. But then, after Matt, we didn’t do anything. COVID thing, Pat passed away first, actually. And then nothing happened. And then when we were gonna get another drummer, we wanted to do a different style — not a different style, but we wanted to find somebody new that could play exactly like Pat. And that’s what we found in Nick. He’s got the same chops and the incredible voice. Matt can sing too. I mean, he was great. But I’m just letting the folks know out there, there’s no bad blood between Matt Starr and MR. BIG or me or anything like that. He’s killer.”
Regarding the possibility of MR. BIG making a new album as the follow-up to 2017’s “Defying Gravity”, Eric said: “We’re doing it now. We’re working on it now. [MR. BIG guitarist] Paul Gilbert and I — I’ve been going back and forth to Portland, Oregon, where Paul lives, and we’ve been writing and recording everything. And so far, I wanna say, [we have] 10, 13 songs so far. And Billy‘s [Sheehan, MR. BIG bassist] got one that he just brought in. And Nick — we said, ‘Hey, Nick, if you’ve got any tunes, man, throw it our way.’ And he’s got four songs that are pretty good.”
Now gearing up to bring “The BIG Finish” to the United States, MR. BIG will kick off the first series of shows on January 12, 2024, starting in Houston, Texas, at the Rise Rooftop. Notably, for this special final world tour, Nick D’Virgilio, a longtime friend of the band associated with acts like SPOCK’S BEARD and BIG BIG TRAIN, will step in on drums, taking on the role left vacant by Torpey.
A distinctive aspect of MR. BIG‘s farewell tour is the performance of their breakthrough platinum-selling 1991 album, “Lean Into It,” in its entirety, presented as a featured highlight within the live setlist.