MR. BIG  UK tour November 2017 to promote ‘Defying Gravity’ new album on Frontiers

MR. BIG UK tour November 2017 to promote ‘Defying Gravity’ new album on Frontiers

23rd October 2017 0 By John Deaux

Mr. Big play six UK dates in November to promote their new album,‘Defying Gravity’, which was 

released in July. The concluding shows of a headlining European tour on which The Answer and 

Faster Pussycat will also appear, they take place as follows :

16.11.17  NOTTINGHAM Rock City

17.11.17  NEWCASTLE Northumbria Institute

19.11.17  LONDON O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

21.11.17  MANCHESTER Academy

22.11.17  GLASGOW O2 ABC

23.11.17  WOLVERHAMPTON Civic Hall

‘Defying Gravity’ is out on CD, deluxe CD/DVD, LP and digital formats, with a limited deluxe

Collector’s Edition box also made available by the band’s label Frontiers Music srl.

“Possibly the freshest sounding album Mr. Big have made in years. Defiant indeed”


“All the humour and death-defying riffs from Messrs Gilbert and Sheehan that we know and love”


“Here’s a band who still relish bouncing musical ideas around for the buzz of creativity”


“This is a record that’s creatively rich and massive on melody”



‘Everybody Needs A Little Trouble’  

‘Defying Gravity’

The Making Of ‘Defying Gravity’


“OK, we’re rolling.” With those three declarative words (spoken by producer Kevin Elson right after 

the music kicks in on ‘Open Your Eyes’, an instant callback to the start of ‘Addicted To That Rush’, 

the hard-charging lead track on the band’s self-titled 1989 debut), Mr. Big plants the flag between 

past, present and future with ‘Defying Gravity’, the band’s ninth original studio album.

Recorded in just six days at Ocean Studios in Burbank, California, the album reunites Mr. Big with 

the aforementioned Elson (Journey, Europe, Lynyrd Skynyrd), who is back behind the boards for 

the first time since helming the band’s first four albums. ‘Defying Gravity’ deftly showcases that 

patented Mr. Big blend of crunch and melody, from the freight-train ride of ’Open Your Eyes’ to the  

harmony-laden wonderment of ‘Damn I’m In Love Again’ to the nostalgia trip of ‘1992’ (recalling 

the days when the band was flying high atop the singles charts with their international smash 

‘To Be With You’) to the barnstorming slide-blues closing track, ‘Be Kind’. Overall, the album is 

prime evidence that all Mr. Big remains tethered to is their ongoing pursuit of creative excellence.

“It’s inspiring to work with Mr. Big,” observes guitarist/songwriter Paul Gilbert, who penned much 

of the new album. “I know that any ideas I bring into the studio have to go through our long-

established band filter, which means the songs all have to rock, have melody, and put a grin on 

the faces of all my bandmates to make the final cut.” What that means is Gilbert, vocalist Eric 

Martin, bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Pat Torpey all have to agree on the finished product, 

as does touring drummer Matt Starr, who also joined in on the studio proceedings for the album. 

That ‘all for one, one for all’ mentality is one of the main things that fuels Mr. Big to reach for new

heights whenever they are recording. “That’s what makes a band a band,” believes Torpey. 

“I think we all feel that way. It’s not one guy’s vision that the others just follow. We’re always 

kicking ideasaround to come to some kind of consensus. That makes Mr. Big music what it is.”

Adds Sheehan, “I like recording with a sense of urgency. Put a mic in front of us, roll tape, and 

that should sound like what you’re hearing from us live. When you can create that kind of pressure 

in the studio in a short amount of time, it makes for better songs — and better performances.”

Once Martin got in sync with Gilbert, the album took shape in a relatively short amount of time. 

“My music tells you more about me than I can actually tell you myself,” the vocalist admits. 

“‘Defying Gravity’ is about ignoring everybody who tells you it can’t be done, that it’s impossible 

to do what you love. You have to stand your ground whenever someone tells you to give up your 

dream to do anything your heart desires in favour of a life that’s safe and conventional.”

Mr. Big couldn’t be more pleased to be working with Elson again. “Kevin Elson is really good at 

steering the ship through rough waters and making it seem like they’re not,” notes Gilbert. 

“He’s a very even-keeled guy — mellow, but he still gets it done.” Sheehan concurs: “It was  

glorious and fantastic. Kevin creates an atmosphere of ease and creativity. He’s full of so many 

ideas. Really a wonderful man.” Torpey adds, “We’ve got a lot of history with him. He’s a great 

guy, super-talented. It’s not like having a dictator for a producer, just somebody who barks 

commands. He’s got so much experience, history and pedigree — and he’s also a really good 

friend, so the vibe in the studio was perfect.” Sums up Martin, “I always loved Kevin because of 

his musical sense, and I love singing in front of him. Kevin has a different approach that’s more 

cerebral. He has lot of ideas like a musician and songwriter would. He is a huge piece of our 

recording puzzle. He’s a musician’s friend. He gets good sounds, and I trust his insight and 

criticism. He has the golden touch, and knows how to make great voices sound even greater.”

One of the key tracks on the album, ‘1992’, harkens back to the glories of much headier days 

for Mr. Big, albeit with tongue planted firmly in cheek. “That was an incredible period in our lives, 

right when the rumblings of grunge were starting to happen,” Gilbert points out. “So here I am 

writing about and tweaking something that was so positive in just about every way, but it did 

open the world to us. Suddenly, we were playing stadiums in Indonesia, just going all over the 

place. And to this day, whenever we start a  tour, we end up going all around the world. 

That whole era, back when we all still had giant hair(!), really opened the door for us. 

Thankfully, people still gravitate toward the thing that is still important, and that’s the music.”

Sheehan adds his own spin: “It’s a song about its own history. It reminds me of Deep Purple’s 

‘Smoke on the Water’, a song where a band looks back and talks about how it all went down in 

clever way. ‘1992’ certainly pops for me from a philosophical point of view.” Muses Torpey, 

“Who would have thought we would actually be talking about something like this 25 years later? 

But I’ve had those thoughts myself. It’s really interesting to reflect back like that and actually 

have it come out in a song. It’s an epic kind of song that’s got the classic rock stuff, the crazy 

guitar-and-bass stuff, and the big vocals from Eric. It’s a Mr. Big song, no doubt.”

Speaking of the band’s inherent instrumental virtuosity, there is plenty of it on display during the 

middle section of ‘Mean to Me’, where Paul and Billy trade a score of hot licks back and forth. 

“That song came about very quickly,” Gilbert reports, “and the solo was a first take with no 

overdubs at all; it was done live with the band. The delay I used helped make it twice as fast, 

but you still have to be dead-on accurate, and play the notes super-staccato so that it doesn’t 

get sloppy. Billy, however, does it all for real where no effects were necessary. He battles my 

technology-aided solo with the pure fire from his hands.” Observes Torpey, “The songs 

themselves are always important, but we always want to come up with the right vehicle to have 

some gymnastics between those twin towers of rock, Billy and Paul. That’s a big part of what 

we do, and we utilise it. I hope the fans like it.”

Martin is proud that ‘Defying Gravity’ showcases the best of what Mr. Big has to offer. “There’s 

something about this band. We’ve been through a lot of stuff together,” he notes, “but there’s a 

spiritual bond we all share, no matter what. And that raises you up to give the best performance 

you can for a record that came together so quickly, like this one did.” Adds Sheehan, 

“This record really seems to fit in with some of my favourite times in music, which were right 

around ’68 to ’74. The other thing is, Mr. Big is really a singing band, and I love the fact we 

have that here with the background vocals we were able to add to some of the songs.”

For his part, Gilbert is very much looking forward to bringing ‘Defying Gravity’ to life for Mr. Big 

fans the world over: “We’re aware that we’re going to be playing this music onstage, and we’re 

no longer just going to be looking into each other’s eyes — we’re going to be looking into the 

eyes of the audience. We know our audience quite well, and we’re looking forward to seeing 

their reactions to the album.”

Torpey has the final word: “The title says it all: ‘Defying Gravity’. We’re still here, and we’re still 

keeping the ball rolling down that hill. We’re still doing it. The album has a positive message, 

and that’s what I like about it. We can still fly, even after all these years.”

Indeed, Mr. Big’s keen combination of their virtuosic nature with a DNA-infused sense of 

melody continues to enable listeners the ability to sing along to every word they hear. Not a lot 

of acts can do that as deftly as Mr. Big does, and ‘Defying Gravity’ finds this still-hungry band 

collectively leaning into it to push their music into new stratospheres. Climb aboard.


Eric Martin – Vocals
Paul Gilbert – Guitar
Billy Sheehan- Bass
Pat Torpey- drums
with Matt Starr –- drums

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