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 yesterday (Feb. 7) at the age of 64. The announcement on Feb. 8 indicated that the cause of death was complications of Parkinson’s disease. Family, band and management request privacy at this very difficult time. Services are pending.

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

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 chart-topping 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 the band to huge international success and multi-Platinum record sales).

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

Watch the video for “To Be With You”

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

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).

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

Related: Deaths of older rock stars continue to shake us

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