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Mr. Big interview 

Mr. Big
Submitted by Arie van der Graaf on 2017-07-31
Mr. Big just released their new album Defying Gravity.
Bassplayer Billy Sheehan is the founding member of this great band which gave us hits like "To Be With You" and "Wild World".
Billy talks about his beloved bass guitar "The Wife", his past, and off course also about the new album which he considers more cohesive compared to the previous release.
How are you doing Billy?

Answer: Great!

First some general questions i'd like to ask.
Which song by another artist would you have liked written yourself?

Answer: “If I Fell” by the Beatles

Name three albums you would like to take to a deserted island (with a mobile power supply)?

Answer: Red by King Crimson; AC/DC Back in Black; Daphnes et Chloe by Claude Debussy

What are your thoughts about the music climate these days?

Answer: It’s fantasic!

Busy times i suppose with the new release, but before we get to that, let's first go for a journey back in time.
Who or what got you started in wanting to play an instrument, and how old were you?

Answer: Joe Hesse—a neighbor who was (is) a bass player. I was 10 or 11

“The Wife” as you call your retired bass guitar.
This instrument is special for you, tell us something about it

Answer: That’s the bass I grew up with and did all the gigs in my early years on. Probably 3000 gigs. It’s a heavily modified 1968/69/70 (?) P bass

Who were your idols in your youth?

Answer: Too many to list

How do you look back at your early years as a bass player?

Answer: Fondly

If you knew back then what you know now, what would you have done differently regarding your career?

Answer: Almost nothing different

Can you name any new bands which you consider might make it big regarding talent?

Answer: I haven’t had time to pay attention. Sorry

Can you tell us something about the the time with Talas, which was an unsinged band somehow?

Answer: We played all over the place constantly. Thousands of shows. It was a wonderful experience

How did Mr. Big get together as a band?

Answer: I chose the three best guys I could find and started a band

One of the coolest features you guys still have is the the solo on “Daddy, Brother, Little Boy” aka “The Drill Song”.
Van Halen and Mr. Big both experimented with using an electric drill.
Who actually came up with the idea to use an electric drill to play an instrument?

Answer: Jeff Martin—singer in Racer X. Van Halen never played his guitar with a drill. He used an electric screwdriver to make its electrical interference noise through guitar pickups. Van Halen never used a drill and never played guitar with it. And we did it years before.

Lets make a leap forward in time.
These days many artists combine playing in more than just one band.
Currently you play with The Winery Dogs and Mr. Big.
How hard is it to combine this regarding tour and studio planning?

Answer: We just adjust schedules accordingly. It’s nice to play with many different people.

How would you desribe the sound of The Winery Dogs compared to Mr. Big?

Answer: Winery Dogs are more improvisational live and more jamming. Mr Big has many hits.

Can you give the bass enthousiasts a peek into your current gear, what setup do you mainly use live and what gear did you use on Defying Gravity?

Answer: Same in studio as live. Many Many Many video gear explanations on YouTube

What is your fav. Song from the new Mr. Big album Defying Gravity album and why?

Answer: Be Kind. I love that message for a troubled world

On the new album you worked with original Mr. Big producer Kevin Elson.
Can you tell us why you decided to work with him on this album?
Is it because you wanted to create the same vibe from the early days?

Answer: He’s a great producer and a dear friend. We tried to work with him many times, but our schedules never allowed. This time it was possible.

Can you tell us what the difference is between the previous album “The Stories We Could Tell” and the new album “Defying Gravity”?

Answer: This one is more cohesive. Better songs too.

You guys recorded Defying Gravity as live as possible.
Personally i love when bands do this, there is nothing bet
ter than creating a live vibe.
Can you explain how this recording process took place?

Answer: We were all in the studio together performing. Simple as that. Many new ideas and inspirations.

What can you tell us about the different characters in Mr. Big?

Answer: We are all dedicated to our fans, and we all have great respect for each other

What is the funniest thing that ever gone wrong during a live performance?

Answer:Many times. Too many to list

What can we expect now the album is released, will you guys take the world by storm with an extensive tour?

Answer: Of course.


Did you know that?

Temple of the Dog was an American rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. It was conceived by vocalist Chris Cornell of Soundgarden as a tribute to his friend, the late Andrew Wood, lead singer of Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone. The line-up included Stone Gossard on rhythm guitar, Jeff Ament on bass guitar (both ex-members of Mother Love Bone), Mike McCready on lead guitar, Matt Cameron on drums, and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) providing some lead and backing vocals.

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