MR. BIG vocalist Eric Martin was interviewed by Michelle Livings of Total Rock prior to the group’s November 19 performance in London, England.
On why the group’s new album, “Defying Gravity”, was recorded in just six days:
Eric: “It wasn’t my idea, trust me. Those other guys are going to say, ‘Oh yeah, what a challenge it was. It was fantastic.’ And they work under pressure — they do other records as well. They’re really good in the studio. Me, I like to take my time. It’s like making love, or something. I like to have a little bit more pre-production, spend time with my lyrics, my melodies and my music, and all that. We just got thrown right into the lion’s cage, or the baboon cage, or whatever cage. Our management got a hold of our producer Kevin Elson and we’d been waiting for him to get off of tour for a really long time. We had a small window of opportunity; we got it; and all he had was six days to cut our tracks.”
On the song “1992”, which was inspired by the year in which the group topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart:
Eric: “Paul [Gilbert] wrote the song, kind of a tongue-in-cheek spin on what happened in 1992. We had the breakthrough album; ‘To Be With You’, the gift that keeps on giving and put us on the map. He wrote this whole idea about how the record company kind of chased after, like, ‘Oh, you have ‘To Be With You’ — give us another ‘To Be With You’. Or else — [runs hand across throat] — curtains. We were constantly chasing our tail, like everybody back in the ’80s and ’90s, maybe even the ’70s — it’s not just about the one song. It’s about longevity and a career — like, come on, take a chance on us, like you took a chance on LED ZEPPELIN, like you took a chance on Aretha Franklin. But that song’s about how the fans kind of pushed us and kept us going, and actually brought us back together.”
On the contributions of drummer Pat Torpey, who is battling Parkinson’s disease:
Eric: “He’s the strongest guy I know. He’s such a strong personality, very smart, great rock n’ roll drummer, and this thing has taken apart his nervous system. Once in a while, he’ll play a few songs with us. Our last tour, he played half the songs, and Matt [Starr] played the other half. On this tour, Matt plays the full drum kit, and then we call it a cocktail kit, but it’s a percussive kit, and he’s to the left of Matt and plays all the percussion and sings all the stuff. Spiritually, he’s our driving force behind the band. Every time he goes, ‘Oh, man, I don’t know if I can do this,’ I don’t know about the rest of the guys, if he bows out, I’m going to bow out with him.”