Mr. Big Is ‘Having A Blast’ Preparing To Record New Album
According to Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan’s Instagram account, the band is ready to start recording a new album to coincide with the last shows of their farewell tour!
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On Saturday, December 16, Sheehan shared a picture from Sweetwater Sound, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with the message, “Here we are at Sweetwater Music in their amazing recording studio with ( from left to right) engineer Lindsey, a brilliant Sweetwater Engineer, myself, drummer extrodinaire Nick DiVirgilio, behind him producer/mixer Grand Master Jay Ruston , and the incredible Paul Gilbert ( Eric will be joining us later) Working on a NEW MR BIG record to commemorate our farewell tour. We’re having a blast and playing our BEST for you!!!!”
Mr. Big’s ongoing last worldwide tour is called ‘The BIG Finish”. With the passing of their longtime drummer, Pat Torpey (Parkinson’s disease in 2018), they feel like it’s time to mark the end of a chapter. The first leg of the tour was in Japan and Southeast Asia in July and August. The band’s U.S. dates are coming, starting January 12, 2024 in Houston, Texas. The band’s longtime friend Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard, Big Big Train) is on drums for their final world tour.
D’Virgilio talked to Border City Rock Talk back in April ’23 and told them how he got the gig to tour with Mr. Big, “It stemmed through Sweetwater. I’ve known Paul [Gilbert]; Paul was the one guy I knew most. I met Pat, and I met Billy — Gosh — at a music trade show back in the day. And I was definitely a fan of the band. I listened to a lot of Pat’s drumming way before I ever met him in person. But at Sweetwater, we do a lot of recording workshops and we get artists in to come and people pay to come to the studio and hang in the studio with the artists that come in. Paul does it quite a bit; he’s been there a bunch. Billy was there a while back as well, but Paul’s been there a number of times. And I’ve been able to play as his rhythm section for these recording workshops. And I also had Paul play on a song on my solo record called ‘Invisible’ that I put out in 2020. Through all of this stuff, we got to just jamming some more stuff. And I know Paul through Mike Portnoy and Neal Morse and a lot of circles of musicians. After the last thing we did at Sweetwater, Paul just sent me an e-mail and asked if I would be interested in going on tour with MR. BIG in Asia. Now, this was [in] July , when he first sent me the e-mail, so nine, 10 months ago or so. And I immediately said ‘yes’. I think I said ‘fuck yes’, all in bold letters… So then I went sort of hog wild here in my studio and I videotaped and multi-tracked my drums. I kind of just went hog wild, sending back these demos of me playing and then singing all the parts. So I sang the lead vocal, and then I sang Pat’s parts too. Since [it was an] audition, I figured I’d put my best foot forward. Long story short, they said, ‘Yeah, we’d love to do it. And you’re in,’ basically. So that’s kind of how it all happened. It came out of the blue.”
If you’re lucky enough to make it to one of their final tours, Mr. Big is performing their ’91 album “Lean Into It” from start to finish! And here’s hoping they’ll continue on, and write a new chapter of the band’s legacy!