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MR. BIG Drummer Pat Torpey Dies Aged 64
February 9th, 2018

Pat Torpey, drummer and founding member of Los Angeles, California-based hard rock group Mr. Big, died on February 7th, 2018 at the age of 64 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. Services are pending, with family, bandmates and management requesting privacy.

Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan commented: “Pat Torpey has been my closest friend in music for over 30 years. He passed away yesterday from complications as a result of Parkinson’s disease.

“Pat was one of the finest human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, and the honour of working with. All of us in Mr. Big had nothing but the highest respect and admiration for him. He is loved by anyone and everyone who ever met him. And surely one of the finest rock drummers the world has ever known.

“Please keep his sweet wife and wonderful son in your prayers.”

“I love you, Pat. You made the world a better place. We will miss you. We will never forget you. Rest in peace, my brother.”

Former Mr. Big guitarist Richie Kotzen stated: “So saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and former bandmate Pat Torpey. We spent years touring the world, making music, family holiday gatherings, and even remodelled a house together. Pat’s sense of humour, wit, and smile lit up any room the moment he walked in.

“I am grateful and thankful to have had you as an incredibly important friend and influence in my life. You will be missed beyond words. With love and tears… Rest in peace, my friend.”

Mr. Big was formed in 1988 by bassist Billy Sheehan, lending its name from a composition by Free.
Sheehan had been a former member of David Lee Roth’s inaugural post-Van Halen solo group. Rounding out the band were vocalist Eric Martin (of the namesake Eric Martin Band) and guitarist Paul Gilbert (of Racer X), as well as Torpey. Torpey had toured with the likes of Tina Turner, Belinda Carlisle and The Knack, which attracted the attention of Sheehan and Gilbert.

A self-titled full-length studio album was released in July 1989 via Atlantic Records, which was recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California under the direction of producer Kevin Elson.

March 1991 follow-up Lean Into It was also recorded with Elson, charting at position 15 on The Billboard 200 and subsequently earning platinum certification. Lean Into It featured the single ‘Lean Into It’; issued in December 1991, the single charted at position one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Third studio record Bump Ahead arrived in July 1993, including a cover interpretation of the track the outfit was named after. January 1996 jaunt Hey Man marked the last Mr. Big affair to feature axeman Paul Gilbert until 15 years later.

March 2000 effort Get Over It marked the first of two Mr. Big LPs to feature guitarist Richie Kotzen, known at that time for being a one-time member of Poison. Pat Regan helmed production, the first without Kevin Elson sitting in the chair. Sixth record Actual Size was released in August 2001, Mr. Big disbanding in 2002 following a farewell tour.

Paul Gilbert performed at the House Of Blues in Los Angeles on May 13th, 2008, and was joined onstage by Pat Torpey, Richie Kotzen and Billy Sheehan for renditions of Humble Pie’s ‘30 Days In The Hole’ as well as the original Mr. Big number ‘Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy’. This would culminate in a reunion between the original members.

A February 1st, 2009 announcement signalled Mr. Big’s reunion, marking the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut. Reunion album What If… was recorded between September and October 2010 in the Los Angeles area with producer Kevin Shirley, arriving in December 2010 in Japan. European release took place in January 2011 via Frontiers Music Srl.

Torpey was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014, preventing him from playing drums on the final two Mr. Big albums released in his lifetime.

Torpey acted as a drum programmer on September 2014’s …The Stories We Could Tell, Ace Frehley sticksman stepping behind the drumkit for the corresponding tour commitments. Starr played on Defying Gravity, with Torpey acting as a drum producer.

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