The plan was to have an interview with Mr. Big at Alcatraz 2018, on the day of their performance there, but due to lack of time we did the interview by email.
None other than Eric Martin, the vocalist and one of the founding members of Mr. Big, was kind enough to take some time to answer these questions.
I just saw your show at Alcatraz Metal Festival and I absolutely loved it! Did you yourself enjoy it as well? Did you like the crowd?
I’ve played Alcatraz festival with Avantasia in 2016 right after Twisted Sister’s final show. What a great night that was, but with that band I sing maybe 5 songs because of all the singers involved. It was such a thrill to play a full set with Mr. Big this year. Granted It was a little warm and I felt the sun beating down on my face like the hammer of the Gods, but it was worth it.
Mr. Big has been around for 30 years now. I can imagine you had to cope with a lot of changes in the music scene. Did it change how you make songs, or do you just keep on doing whatever feels right to you, and hope the fans feel the same and love it too?
In the beginning, circa 1989, we put out a record every couple years till 1996 ( studio & live records) because of our crazy touring schedule. Paul left to pursue a solo career around that time and we got Richie Kotzen to play on a handful of records till 2001. Unfortunately we all parted ways until 10 years later. Paul came back and we put out “What if” in August of 2011. We were so lucky that our fans kept the torch burning for us all these years… if that wasn’t the case we probably wouldn’t have stayed together .
The last time I saw the band live was at Monsters of Rock Cruise 2016 (=”Monsterwood”), on the pool deck I believe. So now I was wondering: Do you prefer certain types of gigs, or is it all the same to you whether you play a normal concert, a festival, or the cruise for example, as long as the crowd is enthusiastic?
I’ve done that MORC a couple times (solo band) but for Mr. Big we were virgins on the high seas. That was probably a one time thing , we all enjoyed the show but Paul is deathly afraid of the ocean. I was too after seeing the movie Jaws a hundred times when I was a kid.…but I love it now, the MORC is one of the best festival settings around. We have played to 100,000 people headlining a festival in Sao Paulo Brazil to tiny shows at the legendary Mason Jar in Arizona back in the day …that place probably held 80 people. It really doesn’t matter where we play but personally I think that our band shines on the bigger stages.
Now, aside from the type of gig, I also heard from other US-based Rock and Metal bands that they are actually a bit jealous of us Europeans, saying that we have a lot more, better festivals around. Especially for the bands; that the bands get treated better at European concerts and festivals, than in the US. Have you experienced the same?
There’s more places to play in Europe that’s for sure. There are maybe 4 or 5 big rock festivals in the USA, but even the club and theatre work in Europe is superior to the USA …that’s for the Rock & Metal though.
Mr. Big released a new album last year, called “Defying Gravity“. How do you feel about it yourself? Did it end up exactly how you wanted it to be, or were there some more songs finished that regrettably had to get cut from the album?
Ha… I wish we had more time to write more songs for that record. That record was a real rush job , we only had a 6 day window to write, arrange and record and another week to sing and mix. Luckily Paul brought in 7 tunes, Billy wrote a couple and I had 2 or 3 that I had written. That was a tough one to make, I was really bummed for Pat that he felt too weak to record his drums , so he ended up coaching Matt ( our touring drummer Matt Star filled in on Defying Gravity ). All in all it turned out pretty good but I’ve heard mixed reviews , some people love it, some people think the mix is a bit muddy and some say (believe it not) that it’s one of the best records we put out since the first one. Now….who can argue with that?
Are there already plans for a next album, or will you take the time to let Defying Gravity sink in more with the fans?
The Defying Gravity campaign is pretty much over and it’s time to get some new material going as far as I’m concerned. I’m trying to write as much as I can so when our management books a date for a new record I’ll be ahead of the game. I hope we do make a new recording but I’m pretty sure it will be our last one.
Do you have a message for your Belgian fans?
Thank you my brothers and sisters for keeping our BIG dream alive and Kickin’ all these years…We hail you!!