Mr Big – …The Stories We Could Tell

The Stories We Could TellWhen I first heard about Mr Big just before the release of their self titled debut album back in 1989, I was totally convinced that they would sell millions and millions of that album without even hearing a note of it. I mean, how could they not? They had Billy Sheehan, fresh out of David Lee Roth’s band (also in Talas) on bass and dammit, they had Paul Gilbert (Racer X) on guitar. They were both awesome so what could go wrong? I didn’t know much about Eric Martin at all and the only thing I knew about Pat Torpey was that he had played drums on an album by a Yngwie Malmsteen-clone called Impellitteri, but that didn’t matter – they had Billy and Paul!!!! That’s how naive the 21-year old me was. The album was fantastic, but didn’t exactly made them an arena band. They came close because of 1991’s follow-up Lean Into It and the smash hit ballad “To Be With You”, but it didn’t take long for their popularity to fade despite a couple of brilliant albums more (Bump Ahead 1993 and Hey Man 1996). Grunge made sure of that. After a few failed attempts to make it with Richie Kotzen (ex Poison) as a replacement to they fleeing Paul Gilbert and some internal fights, the band decided to split in 2001 and that was that. No more Mr Big – or so we thought. For 8 years all attempts to get that band together again had failed – they just didn’t want to play together anymore, but a spontaneous jam when Billy Sheehan, Pat Torpey and Richie Kotzen joined Paul Gilbert on stage in 2008 changed all that. Sheehan, Torpey and Gilbert decided to contact Eric Martin to see if he would fancy a Mr Big reunion tour and in 2009 they were on the road again. But you can only tour so long for nostalgic reasons before you have to make a decision – either split again, be uncreative and be a nostalgia act like Poison or move forward as a band. Luckily for us, the guys decided to do the latter and once that was decided, a new album wasn’t that far off.

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