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MR. BIG ‘Everybody Needs A Little Trouble’

MR. BIG

‘Everybody Needs A Little Trouble’

video for new single available now

http://bit.ly/2s8c60k  

taken from the forthcoming album ‘Defying Gravity’

[Frontiers Records]

‘Defying Gravity’ – new album out July 2017 

“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 beginning 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 opening cut ’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 the only thing Mr. Big remains

tethered to is their ongoing pursuit of achieving creative excellence.

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

material on 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

of mybandmates to make the final cut.” What that means is Gilbert, lead vocalist Eric Martin, bassist Billy

Sheehan, and drummer Pat Torpey all have to agree collectively on the finished product — as does touring

drummer Matt Starr, who also joined in on the studio proceedings this time around.

That tried-and-true “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 other guys all just follow. We’re always kicking ideas around to

come to some kind of consensus. And that makes Mr. Big music what it is.”

Adds Sheehan, “I like recording with a sense of urgency. Put a mike 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. “And ‘Defying Gravity’ is

about ignoring everybody in life 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 — whether it be as a musician, painter, dancer, or whatever you want to be — in favour of a

life that’s safe and conventional.”

To a man, 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 rough waters,” Gilbert notes.

“He’s a very even-keeled guy — mellow, but he still gets it done.” Concurs Sheehan, “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 a lot of ideas like a musician and a

songwriter would. Kevin’s a huge piece of our recording puzzle. He’s a musician’s friend. He gets good

sounds, and I trust his insight and his criticism. Kevin has the golden touch, and he knows how to make

great voices sound even greater.”

One of the key tracks on the album, ‘1992’, hearkens 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 underlying 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 a clever 

way. And ‘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.

MR. BIG

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

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