There is so much that can be said about the talent of Mr. Big’s drummer Pat Torpey. The Los Angeles band formed in 1988 and was one of the most popular bands from the 80s genre. As for the many bands of that era, they were undoubtedly one of the best. True and talented musicians, their hits included To Be With You, Addicted To That Rush, Just Take My Heart and their remake of Wild World just to name a few. Band members Eric Martin (vocals), Billy Sheehan (bass), Paul Gilbert (guitar) and Torpey recently reunited in 2010 with a world tour and new album, What If… In a recent interview with Torpey, he talked about his career in music and what Mr. Big has in store for their fans across the world.
When Torpey was around the age of eight, he saw a polka band perform. He remembers sitting on the railing behind the drummer and being in awe of the drums. Many of his earliest musical influences came from the music that his older sister was listening to. His influences included The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra and Rush. As with any talented artists, his musical tastes range across several genres.
Torpey is a very productive person. He said his secret to his productivity is “his desire and passion for music…you have to have the drive and desire. That’s the most important thing.” He is also a very seasoned traveler, having gone all over the world with Mr. Big. Seeing different parts of the world has definitely changed the way that he looks at things. “I’m so much more tolerant of different ideas…I’m much more accepting. It’s a good perspective because we are so lucky in the United States. I’m very appreciative.”
One of Torpey’s biggest influences was Led Zeppelin, and he was able to do something that every musician has dreamed of; he toured with Robert Plant in what was one of his most treasured memories. “Robert Plant was one of my heroes; he was so influential to me. It was a dream come true. When I was in high school I saw Led Zeppelin perform in Tucson, Arizona. I ended up playing that same venue with Robert 25 years later. I never took it for granted…Robert’s a great guy,” he said. His favorite song to perform live was Communication Breakdown and it’s an experience that he will never forget.
As for new music, Torpey tends to stick with more classic tunes. He loves blues music and is a big Stevie Ray Vaughn fan. Vaughn is one musician who he would have loved to have the chance to perform with. He also listens to a lot of Paul McCartney and Sting because “it has a certain jazziness that I love,” he said. For musicians who are hoping to make it in the business world, Torpey has some great advice, “You have to play with other people and you really have to learn that way…jam, gig with anyone you can.”
When Mr. Big reunited in 2010, it was a special moment for both the band members and their fans. Of the reunion, Torpey said, “It was fantastic to have all the original guys. It was a real joy…like a fine wine. Those songs are in my DNA.” Mr. Big is known for their long line of hits. Even though his favorites change from time to time, he really loves performing American Beauty, To Be with You, and the most recent ballad Stranger In My Life, which he believes is an “epic song, with a really great dynamic.”
The new album and tour was a great success, and the band is currently talking about the next thing on the horizon. To the excitement of Mr. Big fans all over the world, there will definitely be more things to come in the near future.