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What happened to the band Mr.Big?

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January 30, 2007 2:57PM

Mr Big was a 1970s and 1990s UK band, formed by Jeff Pain (aka

Dicken) and perhaps best known for their 1977 top 5 hit Romeo. The

band was active from 1972-1978 and again from 1990-1998. Mr. Big

was a United States rock band. They were formed in 1988 and are

best known for their 1991 acoustic hit, "To Be With You". Mr. Big

combined two popular musical trends of the rock scene in the 1980s:

a particular brand of hard rock, focused on melodies and

listener-friendly choruses, and impressive technical proficiency,

then called shredding. The seeds for the group were sown when bass

player Billy Sheehan (among rock music's most prominent artists,

and present day bass guitarist for guitarist Steve Vai) left David

Lee Roth's solo band (also with Vai) in 1988. Almost immediately

after his exit, Sheehan began piecing together a new outfit, with

the help of Mike Varney from Shrapnel Records, a label specialized

in the shredding genre. The band, now managed by former Journey and

Santana manager Herbie Herbert comprised of Shrapnel artist and

former Racer X guitarist Paul Gilbert, Pat Torpey on drums, and

singer Eric Martin, who had a number of album releases throughout

the 1980s with his Eric Martin Band. By 1989, the newly formed

quartet had already inked a recording contract with Atlantic,

resulting in the release of a self-titled debut the same year.

Despite causing a buzz amongst musicians, the album failed to

crossover to a mainstream rock audience stateside; however, Mr. Big

was an immediate smash success overseas in Japan. The band's

breakthrough came with their second album, Lean Into It, in 1991.

It featured two ballads that established the band as a commercial

success: "To Be With You" and "Just Take My Heart", as well as rock

songs that remained as staples of their live set for years to come,

such as "Green-Tinted Sixties Mind". Other releases followed, Bump

Ahead in 1993 and Hey Man in 1996, but the band never replicated

its earlier success in the US market. In Japan, on the other hand,

they continued to sell out tours, resulting in a number of live

releases for the Japanese market throughout their career (from Raw

Like Sushi in 1990 to Mr. Big In Japan in 2002). Paul Gilbert left

the band in 1997 to pursue a solo career and eventually reform

Racer X. Richie Kotzen, another Shrapnel artist and former

guitarist for Poison, was brought in to take on guitar duties, also

contributing occasional vocals. Two studio albums were released by

this lineup: Get Over It in 2000 and Actual Size in 2001, which

featured the single "Shine", used as the ending theme in the anime

television series Hellsing . Tensions in the band between Billy

Sheehan and the other members, especially Eric Martin, led to the

band's demise -- contractual obligations for yet another Japanese

tour were fulfilled in the form of a "farewell tour". The

multi-million record-selling band broke up in 2002, many years

since their last US hit, but while still enjoying great popularity

in Japan. All of the former members have gone on to other projects

in the music industry.

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