ERIC MARTIN Says He 'Didn't Really Care For' MR. BIG's Latest Album, 'Defying Gravity'
April 25, 2020
In a brand new interview with the "Music Mania" podcast, MR. BIG singer Eric Martin was asked how he looks back on the band's latest album, "Defying Gravity", which came out nearly three years ago and marked late drummer Pat Torpey's final recorded appearance with the group. He responded (hear audio below): "I didn't really care for the record that much. I liked a couple of the songs. The best part of it was hanging together, 'cause we hadn't [done] anything for about six months or a year. So the hang was great. We did a little surprise birthday party for Billy [Sheehan, bass], and that was a good moment. There was good moments, and just the hang.
"Musically — I feel like a whiner here, but I don't have the same experience as Billy and Paul [Gilbert, guitar] does," he continued. "They enjoyed the pressure and [being] thrown against the wall to hurry up and do this, but I didn't care for the process of going in… We only had, like, six to 10 days to write, record and mix it, because of some… I don't know why. Maybe some of the guys had some tours that they had to go on, or the producer had some other projects, but it was…
"I really like the song 'Defying Gravity'. Paul wrote it. I put lyrics and melody on it, with my partner André Pessis. Paul didn't even remember the song. It was one of those ones that were on a cassette — like a sniglet thing that we wrote years ago. And some kind of a cool, Middle Eastern, funky, LED ZEPPELIN kind of thing. And [I asked him], 'Remember that?' And Paul goes, 'Not really.' And I go, 'Remember this?' And he goes, 'Holy shit! We've got a song. All right. This is great.' So [the song] 'Defying Gravity' worked. Another one was called 'Everybody Needs A Little Trouble'. That was fun — real simple, bluesy, marchy kind of blues song. And then the other one was… It was so quirky and kind of corny when I first heard it, but it was a song called '1992' that Paul wrote. And Paul writes those quirky songs, like 'Green-Tinted Sixties Mind', the lyrics and all that. And when I first heard it, I was, like, 'Oh my God.' It was so cheesy to sing it. And I only sang it once, and then it was recorded. And it was really low for me a little bit, but when I got on the road and I sang with the guys, we perfected it. After pre-production of that record, after we did it so many times, I love the tune. Three months into being on the road together, singing all that 'Defying Gravity' record stuff, I was, like, 'Okay, now I'm ready to go in the studio.' But it was already done. But our best fans, our biggest fans, they go, 'Oh, man. I love that record.' So who am I to shoot myself in the foot? I just felt a little pressured."
Martin also once again addressed the possibility of MR. BIG carrying on following the passing of Torpey. The drummer died in February 2018 at the age of 64 from complications of Parkinson's disease.
"MR. BIG is on a permanent hiatus at the moment," Eric said. "Billy says 'never say never' [about doing more stuff]. I say 'yes' to every freakin' phone call that comes in. So whatever the other two guys wanna do. I'm available to do MR. BIG. I'd rather do MR. BIG than pretty much anything. But since there is no MR. BIG at the moment, I had tons of irons in the fire. Especially with this rock opera that I've been a part of for about six years; it's called AVANTASIA."
"Defying Gravity" was released in July 2017 via Frontiers Music Srl.
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".