Mr. Big's Eric Martin talks Long Island, new "Defying Gravity" album & more
If you listened to the radio a lot in 1992, Mr. Big was inescapable, thanks to hits like "To Be With You" and "Just Take My Heart." But the success of the members of Mr. Big goes back to the 1980s and continues well into the 2010s. A supergroup of sorts, all of the members of Mr. Big had plenty going on before Atlantic Records signed them in 1989. Billy Sheehan played bass for David Lee Roth and Talas, Paul Gilbert was a hotshot guitarist in Racer X, Pat Torpey was the drummer for Belinda Carlisle and The Knack, and frontman Eric Martin was part of both 415 and The Eric Martin Band. And when Mr. Big went on hiatus from 2002 through 2009 -- 2001's Actual Size was the band's fifth consecutive Top 10 album in Japan -- all four of its members stayed active with solo careers and side projects.
Following a 2009 reunion tour in which Mr. Big sold out the legendary Budokan arena in minutes, the quartet got back into the studio for 2010's What If... album. Another Japanese Top 10 release followed with 2014's ...The Stories We Could Tell, and now July 2017 is set to bring Defying Gravity. While the band's original lineup is still in tact, Pat Torpey's health issues have led the group to also include drummer Matt Starr for its touring and recording sessions.
No Place Like Long Island had the pleasure of conducting Q&A with Eric Martin. Wikipedia lists Eric as a native of Long Island, but as it turns out, he originally hails from Queens. In spite of that, he was a good sport when asked questions about the Island. Eric and the rest of Mr. Big can be seen live in the area on June 10 when they play at Manhattan's B.B. Kings Blues Club. More on Eric, Paul, Billy and Pat can be found at www.mrbigsite.com.
Where on Long Island did you live?
Eric Martin: Kew Gardens, Queens. I lived there for only a few years, but I had family in the area and went back to visit a few times when I was younger.
Is there anything you miss about living in New York?
Eric Martin: I don’t really remember my early years, but I do remember my parents being so happy and loving to each other. There are so many more pictures of them smiling than all the other black and whites in the family photo album.
Did you ever play a gig on Long Island before?
Eric Martin: Yeah, a few back in the day. I can’t remember the names. "Hammer something" was one of them.
Do you have a favorite restaurant on Long Island?
Eric Martin: I seem to recall my parents talking about some German restaurants that they used to go to.
What's coming up for you after this upcoming tour wraps? Any solo recording or solo band touring?
Eric Martin: Hopefully this tour, which I hear is going to be close to five months, will carry on into 2018. That’s the way we used to tour. Rock until we dropped. When we first got back together in 2009, we decided to have everything we do stress-free and painless -- even though I had some panic writing moments making this new record. (laughs) So we haven’t toured like maniacs in a long time. I’m ready, willing and able to get maniacal.
Finally, is there something you wish more people knew about Eric Martin?
Eric Martin: I’m not the accident I used to be. I’m worse. I miss the bliss, can I get a witness? I’m falling for this wicked addiction. Everybody needs a little trouble.