20 QUESTIONS WITH…
Ex-Mr. Big Singer Eric Martin
Have you wondered what Eric Martin has been up to since Mr. Big brokeup? If so, you might need to get out more, but we have your answers anyway! This week we’re talking to Eric and he provided us with a fairly entertaining 20 Questions. Enjoy!
1. What are you currently up to?
5 ft./11, 157 pounds, conquering my demons, 5 cigarettes a day, Self Anger management therapy, finishing my first pot of coffee, gearing up for a Japanese tour in January, and biting my finger nails to the bone over this odd interview.
2. If you could give anonymous advice to any one band about their music, who would it be and what would you say?
If I did, it wouldn’t be anonymous would it?
Ok, here we go:
To the white stripes, get a friggin’ bass player your music sounds lop sided.
To Enuff Z’nuff, Get over the fact that Donnie quit. Get a keyboard player, keep Monaco as the front guy (he is just as good as the last guy) and feed him will ya? Have Chip sing David Bowie’s "All the Young Dude’s," and do that cool song Ricky wrote.
3. What happened that Mr. Big finally gave it up and called it a day?
After the "Actual Size" album and Japanese tour, you guys threw in the towel once and for all. In your opinion, what was so bad that the band couldn’t continue on as Mr. Big?
Here’s my take on it. There were A few to many rules and regulations, a handful of old arguments that never got settled, a little overplaying on 3 chord ballads, to many band meetings on how to be a front man, a lack of personal respect (a pet peeve of mine), intimidation, mind control, back stabbing in the magazines, management was not respected and there was no real leader.
But in my opinion it wasn’t that bad to let the fans down and break up the band. We were a good live rock band. We created a mass of diverse, hard and soft melodic rock songs. Look at the trials and tribulations that Aerosmith endured. Those guys worked their shit out for the good of the band and there fans. We should have picked our sorry asses up, dusted the bad juju off and got back in the ring. I could be wrong; maybe it was time to stay down for the count.
4. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
After my journey down memory lane on question #3, I’m not so sure I can answer.
5. Rate the following singers on a scale of 1 to 10.
Paul Stanley = What are you kidding, oh you’re serious?.uh?5, and 5 to Gene.
Jack Russell = 10
Brett Michaels = 6 ish
Jani Lane = 6
Steve Whiteman = 10
Donnie Vie = 10
Jeff Keith = 10
Jeff Martin = a loud 9
Ricky Martin = minus 1
Dean Martin = 10
6. What was it like to work with Ritchie Kotzen, knowing that the band had to keep their wives and girlfriends away from him at all times?
That story is so played out. Ritchie told me that whole thing was bullshit. He fell in love with the drummer’s ex-girlfriend and was seeing her on the side so nobody’s feelings or ego got hurt. (Although Kotzen did break the cardinal rule (or code of the road of ethics) of not coveting your band members old love interest). But I digress; Ritchie was a total gentleman and friend to my wife Denise. He had no trouble with the barbarian horde of woman who frequents the backstage door.
7. For you, what were the three highest points and three lowest points of your career with Mr. Big?
High #1. "To be with you" going number one in 15 countries
#2. Three sold out Budokans in a row in Japan
#3. The respect and love from our entire fans around the world.
Low #1. Circus Kronin in Munich, we couldn’t get our bass player off the bus for hours. It was something about the sound check sucking and a German back stage runner destroying his laundry,
#2 Kicking Billy out of the band and begging for his return the following day,
#3. Our seldom seen and heard manager was forcing the lowest point of all into breaking up the band. That was the lowest of the low.
8. You recently did a club tour with Enuff Z’Nuff, except that they toured without their singer, so it really wasn’t Enuff Z’Nuff. It was like Half Z’Nuff. The band danced around excuses as to why Donnie Vie wasn’t doing the tour, but the fact of the matter is that people came to the shows expecting to see the full band, but had to settle for Chip and Monaco singing all the songs. How fucked was it for Enuff Z’Nuff to do that, and overall, do you think it hurt ticket sales for the tour and/or your reputation as a professional?
Hey I came out on the road with Enuff Z nuff under false pretences. I thought that I was opening to the whole package. When we played our first show in Texas with these guys, Donnie was a no-show. I was totally disappointed and shocked, because not only am I a huge fan, but that I looked like a fucking fool. Chip had assured me that Donnie would be out in a few days or a week. What was I going to do, I had already paid for a tour bus in advance, my guitarist Mark Holly and bass player Mark Chole got leaves of absence from there day jobs, and we had prepared for weeks to go out on the road. Well needless to say it wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t a gigantic cluster fuck as Donnie Vie has led you to believe. John Monaco pulled it off with his unique style, and Chip and Ricky waved their freak flag high. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays had handfuls of fans, but the rest of the week was great. It’s a shame Enuff Z’nuff couldn’t pull it together and that they chose to have a meltdown on this particular tour. Hey you win some and you lose some. I’m not quitting over it. Oh yeah, I would like to address the crack Donnie made about my wife and I on tour opening to his group. He said something to the affect about how lame that it would have been if he had participated in such a weak co-billing. Thanks Donnie boy for the slag to your band and me on a recorded message; it probably hurt attendance. I love your voice, and your incredible song writing, but I don’t respect your professionalism.
9. What Mr. Big song could go into a vault called "Songs That Fucking Suck?"
I wrote a lot of songs for Mr. Big. Some made it and some thank God didn’t make it. I wrote a couple of stinkers or floaters in the late 80’s like "Wild Women" and " Cold Hard Cash." I hope these songs never see the light of day.
10. Give us a touring memory from the following cities:
Tampa = Fun in the sun. Bikinis, bikinis, and more bikinis
Houston = Fitzgerald’s?what a shack. A punk rock club that booked us for some reason, as well as the first gig on the co-bill tour with Enuff Z’nuff. Also, the spot our bus broke down for 22 hours after the show.
Chicago = Mr. Big played the spot where the Bulls play and I had a great time at the Limelight club rubbing shoulders with Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy.
Seattle = They do like a rainstorm?everyday.
Tokyo = A sea of warm hearts, great food if you like that sort of stuff, and the best Hard Rock caf? on the planet.
Nashville = Thankfully the good ol’boy network stays home on Saturdays and leaves the rockin’ to the rest of us.
Boston = Boston’s great! I water skied on Cape Cod on a day off of the Mr. Big/Rush tour. I partied with Irish gangsters and blew baked bean chunks.
Toronto = I did my first solo video for the song "Information" in Toronto. The best strip joint in the world is right downtown Toronto.
San Francisco = The Warfield, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Oakland Stadium, The Cow Palace?and my hometown!
New York = EMB played there in October 2002 at Don Hills in the Village. We visited Ground Zero and had the entire incident put into perspective.
11. Which do you prefer and why?
Mr. Crowley or Mr. Brownstone = Mr. Crowley, it’s Ozzy dude?say no more.
Mr. Bean or Mr. T = Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson is my favorite comedian. Black Adder rules!
Mr. Ed or Mr. Belvedere = Mr. Ed, early childhood rap theme song.
Mr. Magoo or Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood = Mr. Magoo, I’m a big fan of Jim Backus.
Mr. Potato Head or Mr. Bill = Mr. Bill because he kept-a-lickin’ and kept on ticking.
Big Macs or Big Bacon Classics = Neither?Mr. Big Bacon Soggies
Big City Nights or Big Bad Leroy Brown = hmm?that’s a toss up. Scorpions or Jim Croce? Croce wins.
Big Top Pee Wee or The Big Lebowski = Pee Wee rules!
Big Bang Babies or Big Head Todd and the Monsters = I saw Todd at the Warfield in S.F. He didn’t have a big head, so BBB wins.
Big hair or big tits = Big Tits?real or paid for.
12. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth & why?
Everybody would probably think my answer should be Billy, but I’m going to have to say Axl.
13. If you could go back in time and re-live one year of your life, which year would it be and why?
1992, with the help of "Green Tinted Sixties Mind" and "To Be With You," spiritually and financially, I had a great year. The four of us were brothers in arms.
14. What’s your take on the whole recent Gun’s Roses tour being cancelled due to Axl blowing off more than one large venue performance? How fucked is that for Axl to do that to his fans, promoters, and even his own band, and do you think we’ve seen the last of Axl Rose and his continued shenanigans?
What are you guy’s nuts? Didn’t you know this was going to happen? The guy is great, but he’s the boy who cried wolf over and over again. I think you can count on Slash, Izzy, Matt, and Duff to show up to their shows. That’s who my money is on.
15. Finish the sentence, "The biggest misconception about ___________ is…"
For example, "The biggest misconception about MTV is that they play videos."
You get the idea.
Eddie Van Halen is = that he’s down for the count. Edward’s still a strength to be reckoned with.
Marijuana is = that it’s OK for you. I hear that it can clog up your veins and give you a heart attack, but the jury’s still out on that.
Life on a tour bus is = every Rock Star’s dream?right. The bunks are like coffins, when you finally get over the motion sickness you’re home, it’s always too cold or too hot.
David Geffen is = I don’t know anything about David Geffen.
Japan is = that not all American, British, or European bands are famous there.
Cat Stevens is = collecting royalties. I believe he gives them all to his religious camp. God, if I have written Wild World, I’d be a rich Fat Cat today.
Enuff Z’Nuff is = a band.
Hollywood is = a cool looking place?NOT. It’s ratty on Hollywood Blvd?trust me, stay home tourists.
Jack Daniels = that it tastes great and goes down smooth. It tastes like fucking tree bark juice, but it gets the job done.
Racer X is = that he’s not the brother of speed and that he’s Chim-Chim’s lover.
16. A hypothetical question: You’re riding on one of those cable cars high in the Swiss Alps, enjoying breathtaking scenery as you traverse steep gorges and otherwise inaccessible topography. Three others are sharing the ride with you: a waifish teenage girl with a Krokus shirt, a 400 pound Swiss woman with an oxygen tank, and an elderly blind man with a seeing eye dog. All of a sudden, one of the car’s supporting cables snaps, dropping the car dozens of feet before the remaining cable stretches taut. The entire cable car is now dangling nearly a mile above ground, with the only cable holding you up about to snap at any second. You have mere moments to devise a solution before the car falls and everyone in it plummets to their deaths.
What do you do?
A. Shove the 400 pound woman and her oxygen tank out of the car, biding enough time to allow yourself, the girl, the old guy and the dog to be rescued.
B. Push the girl, the old guy, and the dog out of the car, leaving yourself and the 400 pound woman to enjoy pure oxygen hits while you await rescue.
C. Throw the old guy, the dog, and the 400 pound woman out of the car, then threaten to throw the girl out too if she doesn’t get rid of that damn Krokus shirt. (This seems like the most nonsensical answer)
D. Throw yourself out of the car for ever going to Switzerland and getting stuck in such a fucked up situation in the first place.
17. The Last of Eric Martin:
Last book you read = Grand theft auto Vice city official strategy guide
Last sporting event you attended = San Francisco 49ers vs. Green bay packers?we lost
Last movie you saw in the theatre = "Die another day" sucked
Last time someone asked you for your autograph = Last weekend at the Last day saloon.
Last alcoholic beverage you drank = 1800 Tequila with a pale ale back.
Last item you shoplifted = Never
Last gift you gave to Denise = Chevy Trailblazer
Last celebrity you shook hands with = Joe Elliot
Last time you talked to Billy Sheehan = February 2002
Last time you jerked off = A couple of weeks ago
18. Out of all the bands that Mr. Big toured with, which one was the most difficult to work with?
All the bands that we toured with were pretty amazing from Rush, Scorpians, Aerosmith, Great White, Winger to?Ahhhhhhh fu#k I remember opening to somebody, WHITE LION in Europe. Gregg and James were really cool, but the guitar player Vito and singer Mike Tramp was a little full of themselves. I remember playing a show in France, where we were supposed to go on at 7:30 or some shit. White Lion’s people didn’t open the doors till 8:00?that’s right! Mr. Big played our half hour set to nobody. That had happened a few times.
There were other little things too, like no dressing rooms for us, (In the dead of winter) Billy, Pat, Paul and myself huddled around a trash can fire to stay warm?. yikes! Little pep talks from Mike about my stage attire, ( He told me that I didn’t dress like a Rock Star). Musically they were pretty good, but it was a nightmare of a tour.
19. Are you seriously planning on subjecting the world to another Eric Martin solo album anytime soon?
Yeah! Do you think they can stand it? It would sure be nice to subject the "World" and not just a few selected countries this time around. I am currently writing for a new one for a release in the spring.
20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name, you give us your thoughts:
Billy Sheehan = A talented bully.
David Lee Roth = Back in my High School days he was one of my heroes.
Chip Z’Nuff = You know those guys that stand outside the strip joints and try to get you in the door, that’s chip. He could sell beachfront property in the Mojave Desert. He is an awesome bass player?. yep! You heard me, the ultimate pocket player.
Pat Torpey = Pat has always been Mr. Big’s "Man behind the curtain."
Nikki Sixx = the dude is like cat; he has landed on his feet after every fall.
Mark Holly = the mayor of Sacramento, a loyal friend, My Jimmy Paige.
Jeff Scott Soto = A soul belter with class and kindness
Axl Rose = don’t believe the hype. Shit? Now I’m going to have to get a bodyguard.
Dana Strum = I don’t know him very well; I opened to slaughter once he seemed cool. Have him give me a call.
Thanks to Eric for being a good sport and talking a bit of smack!
For more info on Eric, you can visit his website at www.EricMartin.com!