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ERIC MARTIN: why I won't tour with MR. BIG anymore


In a new interview with Tulsa Music StreamMR. BIG frontman Eric Martin addressed the announcement that that the group’s ongoing “The BIG Finish” farewell will in fact mark the last time he and his bandmates hit the road together. He said: “I’m sure everybody in the band has different reasons for calling it quits. Obviously, the big reason in the beginning was because of (late MR. BIG drummer) Pat Torpey. And then it was just kind of, it ran its course. And we didn’t tour that much when we got back together in 2009. We made a record and toured a little bit, and then another year would go by, and then we do another one, and maybe two years would go by.

“When we got back together in 2009, we decided that we were gonna make everything painless and not freak out and have to do exactly what the record company wanted and have to tour, have to make a record,” Eric explained. “But now we have been touring for all this time, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun and it’s rewarding. I don’t know if it’s a novelty or not, but all the shows have been sold out. We’ve traveled.

Billy (SheehanMR. BIG bassist) always used to say this, and it’s kind of apropos, but we put a lot of stamps in the passport. This is actually my fourth passport with MR. BIG. So we’ve done a lot of traveling, a lot of good stuff. But yeah, this tour, it couldn’t be any… This is the best way to go out, too — go out with a bang. Everybody loves each other. It’s a brofest. And everybody’s sounding good.”

Asked to elaborate on MR. BIG‘s reasons for calling it quits, Eric said: “I think Pat Torpey, in the beginning, was our thing where we were, like, ‘Well, why should we just keep going on without Pat?’ But we have.

“I can’t tour like this anymore,” Martin explained. “It’s tough on me. God, man, I’m, like, ‘Boohoo.’ I know so many great lead singers, like Jeff Scott Soto who’s diehard doing it, and he sings like a bird and he’s doing great. He loves being out on the road. So do I, but I don’t like the really long, long tours anymore. I don’t think I can handle it anymore… It is a little tough. I’m not 30, 40, 50… I feel like I’m pushing myself to the limit.”

MR. BIG will release its tenth studio album, “Ten”, on July 12. The LP features 11 new original tracks written by Martin and guitarist Paul Gilbert, along with André Pessis and Tony Fanucchi. In a tribute to Pat TorpeyMartinGilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan have enlisted the exceptional talents of Nick D’Virgilio on drums for “Ten”, which was produced by Jay Ruston and MR. BIG.

MR. BIG recently completed the European leg of “The BIG Finish”, which sees the veteran band performing MR. BIG‘s 1991 album, “Lean Into It”, in full, along with other cuts from the group’s history. 

When MR. BIG announced “The BIG Finish” tour last year, the bandmembers said that it was “time to mark the end of this chapter of their legacy” after Torpey lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease in 2018. The first leg kicked off in Japan and Southeast Asia in July and August 2023, where the band performed for hundreds of thousands of loyal fans at 11 sold-out shows including Budokan in Tokyo, Japan.

As a session musician and touring artist, Nick has worked with many different kinds of artists and bands, from TEARS FOR FEARSSheryl Crow and Kevin Gilbert to Peter Gabriel and Eric Burdon and the ANIMALS. In 1996, Nick took Phil Collins‘s place in GENESIS and played on their “Calling All Stations” album. He has also carved out a major presence in the progressive rock world with his bands, SPOCK’S BEARD and BIG BIG TRAIN.

Before joining the Sweetwater team, Nick spent almost five years touring with Cirque Du Soleil‘s “Totem” as drummer, vocalist, and assistant bandleader.


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