Drummer Pat Torpey Of Mr. Big
photo credit William Hames

Hey, everyone, Pat Torpey here! Do you remember me? I’m the drummer of Mr. Big, and we have a new CD/download (or whatever you like) out that’s ready for your perusal. It’s all the original members—Billy Sheehan, Eric Martin, Paul Gilbert, and me. We decided to title it What If… because doing an album seemed to be impossibility just a few short years ago.

We’ve all been busy with other projects over the last decade, and not necessarily music related. I took a bit of time to raise my son. I didn’t want to miss all the “first times” in his life, so I made an effort to stay close to home. I did do a little travel here and there, as well as a few clinic tours in Southeast Asia and Europe, but mostly I stayed off the road.

In the ’90s Mr. Big toured extensively all over the world, opening for Rush, Aerosmith, and Bryan Adams, to name a few. We also did many headlining shows, riding on the success of our number-one single “To Be With You.” We became very popular in Japan and other Southeast Asia countries.

It’s amazing to me how much the music industry has changed, but the one thing that has stayed pretty much the same is that being able to play well live is a musician’s most important asset. Getting together with other people and jamming is the center of the universe when it comes to making music. I’m asked for advice by young drummers all the time, and the first thing I tell them is to get together with a bass player or a guitar player and make some noise. Mr. Big is a live animal, and nobody can take that away from us. Even with the death of “brick and mortar” music stores, playing live will always be a pathway to having a music career.

What If… is a genuine band effort. We all share in the writing of the songs, always with a watchful eye and ear towards the live stage. What I mean by this is that we imagine what a song will feel like when it’s performed in front of a live audience, and then we keep that vibe in mind when the red recording light goes on in the studio. I like to call it “red light fever.”

We recorded together in the same room as well, to capture performances. There were very few overdubs, and even the lead vocalist sang as the song was going down. That’s the great thing about being the drummer in a real band: I’m involved in all the creative ingredients that make the band what it is. I feel so lucky to be involved in a band like Mr. Big. The other three guys are masters at what they do and inspire me every day to be better player and bandmate.

Right now we’re rehearsing for a world tour, going to Southeast Asia, Europe, South America, and Japan. We hope to be playing the U.S. this summer, so be on the lookout.

It’s great to have this opportunity from Modern Drummer—my favorite mag—to touch base with all of you. Always be good, and give it all you’ve got. Cheers!

For more on Pat Torpey and Mr. Big, go to www.mrbigsite.com.