Mr. Big never tire of playing their same old hits in concerts

Mr. Big comprise (from left) Pat Torpey, Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert.
Mr. Big comprise (from left) Pat Torpey, Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert.PHOTO: SHINING ENTERTAINMENT

Rock band Mr. Big never get tired of performing evergreen classics such as To Be With You, despite having done so thousands of times

Veteran American band Mr. Big are made up of guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert and famed bassist Billy Sheehan, both of whom are known leaders in their individual fields. But even they were surprised by how quickly they recorded their ninth and latest album, Defying Gravity - in just six days.

"It was fast," says Sheehan, 64. "That gave everything a sense of urgency and excitement, lots of energy. It's different (from past albums) in the way that we are all different. We've lived lots of lives, evolved, grown... the music reflects our lives."

The quartet, which also comprise singer Eric Martin and Pat Torpey, will be performing in Singapore at Kallang Theatre on Sunday, three years after they last played here at the same venue.

One could safely assume that the set list would be full of the band's past hits, which include evergreen rock tunes such as To Be With You, an acoustic ballad which went to No. 1 around the world in 1992, as well as their 1993 cover version of Cat Stevens' Wild World.

Sheehan says that he will never get bored of playing songs such as To Be With You, despite having played them thousands of times in the past decades.

"We play that song and the whole audience sings along with thousands of smiling faces. How could you ever get tired of that? It's absolutely wonderful."

Sheehan, a prolific musician known for his work with other notable rock artists including David Lee Roth, Steve Vai and The Winery Dogs, roped in Martin, Gilbert and Torpey to form Mr. Big in 1988.

Like Sheehan, the rest of the members are also proficient musicians who have played with other notable artists ranging from pop singer Belinda Carlisle to metal band Racer X.

Gilbert was replaced by another acclaimed guitarist, Richie Kotzen, from 1997 to 2002, after which the band broke up.

  • BOOK IT / MR. BIG LIVE IN SINGAPORE 2017

  • WHERE: Kallang Theatre, 1 Stadium Walk

    WHEN: Sunday, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $88 to $178 from Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)

In 2009, the original members reunited. The line-up remained the same until 2014, when the band brought in a second drummer, Matt Starr, to back up Torpey in live and studio performances after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Both drummers will be playing at the upcoming Singapore show.

"Matt is doing an incredible job of doing exactly what Pat would play," says Sheehan. "He also adds some of his own incredible drum artistry to make things really sound great."

Playing music around the world has been doing wonders for Torpey, he adds.

"Music is great therapy for anything and Pat's strength and courage are a source of inspiration to so many people who have the same condition, as well as many others facing challenges in life. We are very proud of him."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Still Big on playing their hits'. Print Edition | Subscribe