MR. BIG singer Eric Martin says that no decisions have yet been made regarding the band's future following last year's passing of Pat Torpey. The drummer died in February 2018 at the age of 64 from complications of Parkinson's disease.
Speaking to The Right To Rock, Martin stated about the possibility of more MR. BIG live shows and studio recordings: "When [Pat] had the Parkinson's and it wasn't looking very good, I did an interview and I said, 'I don't think I wanna continue without Pat.' And when Pat died, we had a tour booked with EXTREME. And the guy that had been playing with us for a couple of years, Matt Starr, was playing drums. And all those times, Pat would be with us, but he would be playing like a cocktail kit kind of percussion on the side and singing with me. And not just singing background vocals — doing the same thing he's been doing with me for 30 years. He was Paul McCartney to my John Lennon; we were those harmonies. So when Pat was gone and I'm playing those gigs without Pat and it's just Matt, I'm giving Matt a hard time, going, 'Hey, man, you know those harmonies.' And he's, like, 'Dude, I've got so much to do now.'
"I remember coming home from that tour, going, 'Well, that was fun,'" he continued. "I mean, it was hard, but it was fun. 'Maybe we should do a farewell album.' And I was trying to get all these drummers that Pat liked. And I was just throwing out names, like Ray Luzier, Gregg Bissonette, Mike Portnoy. I heard Pat, many, many times, say how much he enjoyed this guy's playing, and he's such a nice guy. And I thought, 'We'll get all these great drummers, and me and Paul [Gilbert] and Billy [Sheehan] will try to create another album.' God, I already had the name of the tour that we were gonna do. I ran it by my manager, and I think he was, like, 'Yeah, cool. This sounds really good.' And all of a sudden, I think that those two guys got a little overwhelmed, 'cause I was going, 'I know we can do this. We can do that.' … I know the other two guys in MR. BIG were looking at it, going, 'Man, you don't know what you want.'"
According to Martin, he was genuinely interested in pulling the plug on MR. BIG's career in a way that would honor Torpey and would be respectful to the drummer's memory.
"That's how I was grieving," Eric explained. "I couldn't let it go. I didn't wanna sit at home with nothing to do, with a glass of wine or 10, and go, 'Ah, fuck, Pat's dead.' And I just wanted to do something, plan something or have some goal to get all these great people and make it really special, but it was in my head and it was on paper, but I wasn't physically ready to pull it off. And I think the guys in the band knew that and they went, like, 'Eric, man, you're all over the place. Let's just regroup some other time, or never.'
"Now that I've had a little time to reflect, it was the right decision," the singer admitted. "My heart was in the right place, and I wasn't trying to hurt anybody. I just wanted to honor our drummer, and I wanted to go out with some kind of a big farewell — 'The Last Hurrah', as I wanted to call it. I think I wanted to call it 'The Last Hurrah' or 'The Big Finish'."
MR. BIG's latest album, "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 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".