BILLY SHEEHAN Says MR. BIG Fans Will Be 'Very Pleased' When They Learn New Drummer's IdentityFebruary 4, 2023
In a new interview with Sunshine Cantu, MR. BIG's Billy Sheehan was asked about the identity of the drummer who will sit behind the kit for the band's upcoming tour dates. The 69-year-old bassist spoke about while addressing MR. BIG's decision to return to the road following the passing of Pat Torpey. The drummer died in February 2018 at the age of 64 from complications of Parkinson's disease.
Regarding who will be playing drums for MR. BIG at the upcoming shows, Sheehan said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, you have to wait. We will announce it pretty soon.
"MR. BIG, we wanna play together again," he confirmed. "Nothing is really booked yet, but we wanna do a proper farewell — especially having lost our drummer Pat, we would like to give him a tribute on a proper farewell and pay honor to him and his incredible drumming and his contributions to MR. BIG and general musical contributions in so many ways. So we will probably do something this year. Nothing to announce yet."
Sheehan added: "There will be a drummer. A lot of times, situations like this, the drummer has other things that he's dealing with, so we can't necessarily give his name right now until he's prepared for it to be released. But I guarantee you you're gonna be very pleased."
This past December, MR. BIG singer Eric Martin told The Metal Voice that the band's return to the road "is definitely gonna happen. There's no question about it. It's gonna happen in the middle of 2023. And it's gonna be multiple dates. We're working on the U.S. and a possible tour… Paul is involved — obviously, Paul Gilbert, the original guitar player. Billy Sheehan… The spirit of Pat Torpey. And there will be a phenomenal drummer. It won't be Matt Starr [who played with MR. BIG in the past] on this thing. Matt's doing his own thing; I think he's playing with Ace Frehley now."
Regarding the new MR. BIG drummer, Eric said: "I will tell you that he sent an audition video. And I watched it. It was 'Lucky This Time', which is a song that we hardly ever did — mainly me, because it was really hard to sing it. It's on the 'Lean Into It' album. And what he did was he thought he'd one-up the audition, so he played drums on it and he sang the lead and the harmonies on everything. And it was phenomenal.
"I don't wanna mention the guy's name until the press release comes out. But the guy really stepped up," Martin added. "And everybody knows him. And then one really, really cool thing is that he was a big fan of Pat Torpey. And I totally noticed how when he did the video, when he did the drums and the way he tuned the drums, he's got Pat down. When he was playing Pat's snare hit, the crack of the snare, it was definitely Pat Torpey. I think Pat would approve of this new mystery man."
In November, Billy told Conversaciones Necias that there were plans for MR. BIG to return to the road soon. "We wanna play again," he said. "Matt Starr did an amazing drumming job. He's fantastic. He was friends with Pat. When Pat couldn't play his kit but still could tour, he toured together with Matt and they were very dear friends. But we need a guy that has Pat's voice. And Matt's got a great voice but it's a different range. We need a guy [who can sing] way up here," he explained while raising his right hand just above his head. "So we found somebody. We'll let the world know about it soon. And we're hoping to do some shows maybe in the summer 2023."
This past August, Sheehan told Dr. Music about MR. BIG's future plans: "After we did the shows without Pat — the first time after we lost him — again, Matt Starr did a great job. But it wasn't Pat; Pat wasn't there. So I'm glad we took some time — a couple of years — to just kind of lay off of it. But a lot of people write all the time and they really wanna see the band. We would like to play for them too."
MR. BIG's latest album, "Defying Gravity", was released in 2017 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.
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".
In February 2021, 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.
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