Feb 7, 2018: Pat Torpey, Founding Member of Mr. Big, Dies

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Pat Torpey in 2017 (Photo: William Hames; used with permission)

The drummer and founding member of Mr. Big, Pat Torpey, died February 7, 2018, at the age of 64. The announcement indicated that the cause of death was complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Less than one year earlier, Mr. Big (Torpey, Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan, and Paul Gilbert) had released their ninth original studio album, Defying Gravity, on July 21, 2017.

Before joining what would become Mr. Big, Torpey had performed with such artists as John Parr, Belinda Carlisle, and then Robert Plant on his Now and Zen tour.

Mr. Big, formed in 1988, produced numerous hit songs that ranged across a wide array of rock genres – be it ballads, heavy metal, or blues rock. Their hits included “Alive and Kicking,” “Just Take My Heart” and the ballad, “To Be With You” (#1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 and a chart-topper in 15 countries for many weeks in 1992), propelling the band to huge international success and multi-Platinum record sales).

Their album, Lean Into It, released on Atlantic Records in 1991, reached #15 and was certified Platinum in the U.S.

For their 2017 release, original members Martin (lead vocals), Gilbert (guitars), Sheehan (bass) and Torpey (drums) reunited with producer Kevin Elson (who was behind the boards for the band’s 1989 self-titled debut, 1991’s Lean Into It and 1993’s Bump Ahead).

Mr. Big (L-R): Paul Gilbert, Eric Martin, Pat Torpey, Billy Sheehan

With Torpey unable to perform some of the songs on Defying Gravity due to his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Matt Starr had been filling in for him on a majority of the album. Starr had also been touring with the band, with Torpey able to play a couple of songs at each performance.

Related: Musicians we lost in 2018

Torpey was born in Cleveland on Dec. 13, 1953.

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