MR. BIG bassist Billy Sheehan says that no decisions have yet been made regarding the band’s future following the passing of Pat Torpey. The drummer died in February 2018 at the age of 64 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
Speaking to FOX17 Rock & Review about MR. BIG‘s legacy, Sheehan said (see video below): “It was quite a band. We had incredible success with the band, especially internationally, which worked out really nice for us, ’cause right around the mid-’90s, the world went grunge — well, the U.S. and Europe kind of went grunge, but everywhere else, it didn’t, so South America, Southeast Asia and all those places, we could still sell out shows and do really well.
“We had a great run,” he continued. “We still exist, but, as you know, sadly we lost our drummer, and we don’t have any plan at this point for anything. We’ll just let nature take its course. At some point, maybe we’ll do something again. We don’t know. Maybe me and Paul [Gilbert, guitar], maybe me and Eric [Martin, vocals], maybe Eric and Paul, maybe us with a different drummer — it could be anything — but we have not discussed it at all, and we’re just kind of letting it go.
“It was tough for us [to deal with Pat‘s death]. The four component parts had to be there in order for it to be MR. BIG. But we appreciate [the support]. I still get a lot of e-mail every day regarding MR. BIG and our songs. Some amazing e-mails from people that, you begin to realize how you touch people around the world. Some little girl in Pakistan is having a hard time, and she listens to our music, and now everything’s okay again. [It’s] pretty amazing.”
This past May, Sheehan gave an interview to the “Music Mania” podcast in which he claimed that a “mastering problem” with MR. BIG‘s latest album, “Defying Gravity”, which came out three years ago, made the LP “unlistenable.” He went on to say that “the label ruined the record” by insisting on having the album and “putting it out when it’s not ready.” He explained: “If we had another day to get it to proper mastering and get it done right, it would have been fine. ‘Cause I was there for the final mixes — I went in there every day and listened to mixes. Pat was there with us too. We went through the mixes, and they were sounding great. And, unfortunately, we got screwed.
“I’ve seen it before in many other situations with many other bands,” he added. “We’ve got the marketing department and they’re ready to go and they’ve gotta have the record now. And then I’ve also seen other bands just say, ‘No. The record is not done. You’re out of luck.’ And I wish we would have just said that, because I just don’t think the record had the kind of life it had when I heard the final mixes.”
A short time later, Frontiers Music Srl released a statement clarifying that it wasn’t the label responsible for “ruining” “Defying Gravity”, which marked Torpey‘s final recorded appearance with MR. BIG.
“Defying Gravity” was released via Wowow Entertainment, Inc. in Japan and Frontiers Music Srl in most of the rest of the world.
After announcing his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2014, Torpey continued to write, record and perform with MR. BIG, who also recruited Matt Starr to share drum duties.
MR. BIG, formed in 1988, produced numerous hit songs that ranged across a wide array of rock genres — be it ballads, heavy metal, or blues rock. Their hits include “Alive And Kicking”, “Just Take My Heart” and the chart-topping ballad “To Be With You”.