“Mr. BIG” (interview with Eric Martin) by Andrea Bermúdez

Previous to his presentation next 24 of august in Montevideo, Uruguay I had the opportunity to talk with Eric Martin, the lead singer of the great band Mr. Big!!

It´s a really pleasure to have you with us for Metalheads Forever Magazine from Canada and Cooltivarte.com from Montevideo, Uruguay.

First of all thank you for your time and for taking our questions!

We have the chance to see Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan in Latin America a few months ago with their solo projects but this will be the first time Mr. Big play in Montevideo, Uruguay!

What can we expect to see during this world tour, in which you are going to present your ninth studio album Defying Gravity, which was released on July 7 via Frontiers Music Srl.?

We are having fun, we like what we are doing and we hope you feel the passion same way as we do !! It´s been nothing but good times on the first leg we just did through USA!

For this album you count with your original producer, Kevin Elson, who recorded all of your original classic albums from the ´80s and ´90s, in which way working with him has influenced in the final product?

Kevin Elson helped create this band’s signature sound. He produced our most popular albums, as well as a host of multi-Platinum-selling artists like Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Europe. So to watch Kevin taking control of the board again…well, it was pretty special. He definitely has the magic touch.

How the process of songwriting took place and where do you get your inspirations for the songs on this album or even the entire concept?

I had about a week and a half to come up with songs to bring the band. Billy, Pat & Paul sent me some riffs and song ideas. My songwriting partner, Andre Pessis, and I wrote a few tunes out of it and had a couple more that I had written on my own.

We all got together in a Hollywood,with Kevin Elson, and showed each other our songs from demos that we made. I had sung my songs live for the band. We had about 12 tunes. One song didn’t make the cut and 11 tunes were tracked in six days. Pretty damn quick. I sung all my guide vocals live with the group and then re- recorded most of it with my engineer, Chris Manning (bassist for the band Jellyfish) back home in the San Francisco bay area.

In which way songwriting is a cathartic process for you?

No way ! When you are in a band you need songs, and everybody is waiting for your lyrics, it is stressful ! But I like it !

In the past, before Mr. Big, you had the chance of being part of Van Halen?

I was at Capitol Records doing a solo álbum back in 1985 and I got a call from Eddie Van Halen, he said, hey Kid I love your voice, but I hate your record, come down to LA and hung out, you know.., and then I was in LA and just met Sammy Hagar and he said he got the gig in Van Halen and I just …well … you know.. anyway Eddie called me to the hotel I was staying at and I just said no, I was like a chicken, couldn’t do it, couldn’t audition … I went back home … and like a year later I got a call from Billy Sheehan to be in Mr Big so I don´t know, things worked out!

Do you agree if I said that time cures everything, and in certain way it has made possible that Mr. Big came back together?

Yes, well back in the day we were only ¨working¨ as a band, not having fun … but time went by we ate older guys and we are cool !

Every time you toured in Japan you did a live album, also in 2009 you started your reunion touring there, from this tour we have the DVD “Back to Budokan”. Why do you think you are so successful and massive in Japan?

They love Mr Big ! I don’t know the reason to be honest, they just love us !! And that´s so great for us, we love playing in Japan !

Do you remember the first time you get on a stage, you still keep the same feeling of your early days?

I’m older, but yes ! Actually we toured U.S.A. recently and I was kind of nervous … yes ! I got the passion, I got the flame burning !

Which was Mr. Big best show in these 29 years and why do you remember it?

Can’t pick one ! There were thousands !!

You composed the song “To be with you”, when you were 16 years old. What do you feel when fans all around the world still love and sing this song during Mr. Big shows as the first time?

I’m honored ! The song belongs to the fans … it´s not ours anymore …!

Could you define the time Mr. Big is living now with three words?

Peace, Music, Love

In closing, any words or advice for your fans?

Come see us, let´s sing the old ones and have fun with the new songs !! See you soon Uruguay!

Thanks again for your time, see you soon in Montevideo, Uruguay!

Andrea Bermúdez/MHF Magazine

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