Eric Martin Interview - June 2002
Interview tape transcribed by and with thanks to: Don and Ron Higgins.




Hey Eric, second time lucky, how are you?
Good…I live in San Rafael, which is like 10-20 miles away from San Francisco. I went to San Francisco today to shop and I was in major traffic and we just got home. Sorry about that.

No, look, that's not a problem.
I didn't realize… when I called Sandy he didn't confirm that this was going to happen.
And so, did you e-mail him and say that you'd call me?

I did, yeah.
Oh, I'm going to get the corn for that. Oh well, that's OK, I'll work it out because we're doing the interview, so that's cool.

I'll e-mail him and tell him that I hooked up with you fine.
Yeah, yeah, do that. Say everything's beautiful.
I'm totally set. I hope I answer everything correctly. You're like a… I want to say thank you very much; you're a true fan and you've done wonders for my career.

Thank you!
Oh yeah, you've been my champion man. I like the review.

Great! You saw that?
Yeah, it's cool. Hey my mother digs it. My mother goes, "Hey this guy is right to the point isn't he?"

Really? <laughs>
She liked Somewhere In the Middle and you were kind of like going, "eh" - you're mainly into the rock and roll part.

Yeah.
And you were right, Somewhere In the Middle is more… it's a moody record. I was going right through a divorce and I basically poured everything I could into that CD, which was kind of stupid, because you just sort of gave everybody my diary. You're not supposed to read it and I gave it to everybody. That record was more of a coffee table book compared to the new record, you know.



That makes a lot of sense in hindsight, you know, hearing that from you. You don't like to hear things like, that you're having a tough time, but it certainly makes sense.
Hey, look. I'm glad it happened because… I'm glad the whole experience happened. At the time I was going through some… I was in straight jacket love back then, but now everything's beautiful now. I'm actually getting married again.

Oh really! Well done.
Yeah, I'm marrying the drummer of the band. Not Pat Torpey. <laughs> I was already married to those guys for 12 years.

Absolutely.
Yeah, I'm actually getting married May 25 to the drummer of the Eric Martin band; her name is Denise.

Fantastic. Well, congratulations. I'm only 4 months into marriage myself.
Oh, right on.

Yeah, January.
That's good. Good to hear that.

Yeah, we're expecting a baby already.
Far… look, I was just about to say 'Far Out', but now you can tell that I'm a little older, because I still use those stupid slangs like 'Far Out' and 'Right On'.

No slang sounds stupid when you're talking to an Australian because nobody understands what we're talking about anyway.
It's a trip to hear your voice. I've read your stuff for so many years.

Thanks Eric.
And heard about you. I heard about you a long time ago, that you were a true fan.

I truly appreciate that, I've been corresponding with Sandy [Einstein – Eric's manager] for years now.
All right. We got all that out of the way, I patted you on the back enough, now torture me.

Haha…
Torture me and put me on the spit… on the Barbie [as in BBQ].

I've been talking to Sandy for 5, 6, 7 years now, so I'm glad we could finally hook up and do an interview, so if I get a bit in-depth with some of the old questions, you'll know where it's coming from.
Yeah, as long as you don't ask me what "Don't Stop" means.

Oh no.
Don't ask me what "Sucker For a Pretty Face", what was I going through, I can't remember. <laughs>

I don't blame you. I'll start with the present.
OK

You've seen the review, so you know I love the album.
Right.

You took a step sideways with this didn't you, sound-wise.
I had to. So many people backed me up against the wall and said, "Look, you're not an R&B singer Eric, don't try to be." For years I wanted to be Paul Young or Daryl Hall, you know.

Great singers.
Most of my records were so diverse. There was kind of an R&B soul side, and then a rock side. And nobody could put me in a category really. The kids today, they don't care, they just go, "whatever," but at the time I wasn't really thinking about that. I was just doing what I do, or what I know best. I just had a lot of my peers and friends say, "you're a rock and roll singer, you're a true believer in that genre, you're unique enough because you're soulful, but get over yourself. Don't try to be Michael Bolton."

Well, he went down the wrong path if you ask me.
Dude, he was great when he did…

Everybody's Crazy and The Hunger
Well yeah, The Hunger and that stuff, but even when you first heard him, what was it, "Fools…

"Fools Game", yeah…
Yeah, "Fools Game" and <sings>"Can't Hold On, Can't Let Go…"

Wonderful stuff.
It was brilliant. It was brilliant because there was nobody like him at the time, but it got too cocktail. Another thing, when I was writing all this stuff, I had this song called "Bigger Man" and then I had a couple of the more soulful stuff that's on the record. There was another song called "In Case You Didn't Know" and it was a bonus track and it was kind of a weird thing. I threw it on there because I made all these songs on Pony Canyon's dime and I went, "Well look I don't have anything to do with… I'm not going to take this song next year and redo it and put it out, so you can have this too", and they decided to put it as a bonus track.

I wrote "Space Man" and "Who Am I Supposed to Be" and I think "Carnival of Souls" for Mr. Big. When I was writing, I would go down to Richie's house and I would play him this stuff and we'd demo it up. I never really saw Billy but the only thing I ever heard from Billy was him in magazines going, "Yeah, it's going to be a rock record," and I'm thinking, "Well shit, all the records are rock dude. I don't know what you want." What they expect from me is to write their big acoustic song, or mellow song, and I'll write the obligatory rock song and every year the band would go, "Wow, that's cool. I didn't know you had it in ya!" Which is like, "OK, whatever."

You're a rocker from way back so…
Yeah. For years I didn't get to play guitar, and I didn't care and I didn't really get to write the rock songs. I did on the 1st album. But that was mainly Paul's genre, that was Paul's thing, and Billy and Pat. So I just come up with that mellow tune. So I thought I'd surprise them and I brought these three songs in. We had our little meeting, we sat around Richie's kitchen and everybody started playing their material. And those three songs, we actually demo'd them up with Mr. Big, but they got sold down the river.
It didn't work out. Plus, lyrically, I didn't have the talent at the time. I wanted somebody's help, because it's a big thing when you get into a band. If you have a finished song and you bring it in, it better be great, because you have to run the gauntlet. You have to run through this gauntlet because if they feel like they don't have anything to do with, maybe sometimes egos can get in the way a little bit.

Sure.
It was the way with our band for the past few years or so. I'm not here to point fingers… but I will later on, I'll tell ya <laughs>.
I took those songs back to the drawing board and reworked them and I said "Hey, shit". I actually had a feeling… I didn't have a feeling that this was going to be our last record, Actual Size, but I had a feeling that since Billy was unhappy, you could tell…when we had these band meetings and stuff, he wasn't around.
I had a feeling that we might take one of those long hiatuses like we did prior to Richie Kotzen's membership.
And so I went "Ah shit, I don't do this type of material with the Eric Martin Band."
I did actually do some old "Sucker for a Pretty Face" kind of stuff but I was mainly doing more R&B. And I went, "Fuck, I have so many songs that I've given to Mr. Big that are heavy rock songs that have sat in the can and collected dust and actually became… they weren't '80s songs… well, they were '80s songs, but it became like too passé and they didn't stand the test of time and I basically had to chop them up and make new songs.
In this case I liked these songs a lot, and I thought one song "Who Am I Supposed to Be" was just totally cool for Mr. Big. Totally Zeppelinesque, you know. And it used to be where I would bring a song into them and they would go, "Nope, it sounds just like," and they'd hit that Led Zeppelin album and say it sounds like… and we can't do that. They were so adamant about… it's one thing to have a familiarity of some other song, but don't be blasphemous and take a Led Zeppelin type of riff, you know.

Yes.
In this case, there was no explanation, it was just kind of, "Nope", and I was like… just like I always do in all the records that I've done with Mr. Big, That's the only part of my ego that steps into Mr. Big… so I don't get hurt as a songwriter.
My thing is that I'll write 20 songs and 2 or 3 will make it and I'll be satisfied. It's like asking 10 chicks to dance. One's going to give you the dance. I did that and then this time I just went, "forget it", I've really got to make a rock record. Because people are tired of me doing what I want in a way. Basically it was the best of both worlds, using that cliché, because I pleased myself and I pleased everybody around me that listens to the record. They loved the direction that I should've been going in, in the first place.

I wouldn't say it's the direction you should've been going or anything like that as to what you've done in the past; I'm just glad you've done it.
Back then it wasn't my experimental thing; I really wanted to be like Otis Reading. I just wanted to.

That's fine, because you are good at it, so I can understand why you'd want to, because you're a soulful rock and roll singer that's how I see it.
Thank you.

That's why I love Daryl Hall.
I used to say Daryl Hall with balls, all the time, or soulful metal. It wasn't really metal; we had to tack that on to get into the rock world. I always wanted to have my cake and eat it too, but in this record I kind of do anyway because most of these songs are straight ahead.

There's a good twist on them.
There's a twist. It's my soul twist!

"My Disease" - I've never heard you sing like that before. Ever.
Me either <laughs>

When I stuck it on I thought, "Have I got the right record here?"
Dude, let me tell you. I wrote it with a capo and I was showing it to the band… we rented some studio out, I mean now I've got a music studio in my house, but we rented some studio out, and I didn't have a capo and I went this is how it goes, and it sounded so fat. I went, "Well this is really cool. I'll sing it really high." It's an E but when the song gets going it's like the "Star Spangled Banner", it starts off really low and then it's <sings>"…rockets red glare" until your balls turn blue, you know. So I went, "forget it, I'll just attempt this at the low end." It's different, but…

It works. I love it.
Thank you.

You've got the punk influenced "Marie" which is great.
That, to me, before the Eric Martin Band I had a band called 415.

I remember. That's the only record of your collection that I don't have.
You're fortunate… well, it's not that you're fortunate, it's you're fortunate because you didn't hear that stuff because it was kind of a mess back then.
We made a record, but it never came out. It was on spec for Columbia Records and Gregg Rollie took up our cause basically and paid for the whole thing and produced it.

Really?
Gregg Rollie. Trippy. It was kind of a song like that "Marie" and there was a friend of mine name Eric Westfall that had a band called The James Blonde Band, and we were kind of rivals, 415 and the James Blonde Band, and they played like a 2 hour set of this punk pop stuff back in 1982-83, and I just remembered this one song stood out - it was completely different, but I saw him at a Tesla show about a year ago and we struck up a friendship and I said, "Hey, can I take some of the music of that song, and your title "Marie" and re-write it?" And he goes, "Yeah, God man, of course." That's like a song where I hope I can find the cassette, you know? So that's what happened; that song is that old.

Ok.
It's funny because music has come full circle. Now we call it punk pop, but back then it was called New Wave, you know?

Yeah. The early '80s. Then you have tracks like "Untouchable" and "Fly" that are just melodic rock classics to me.
Well, "Untouchable", I've had that riff for a long time.

That's such a heavy song that I just love it.
You do? I thought it was really corny. I like the whole vibe of… because I haven't written a chick kind of song in a long time… I wrote a song called "Temperamental" for Mr. Big and it's that type of song. There's a lyric in there that says basically the chick is so bad I had to chew my leg off to get out of the trap and I've always liked that thing.
I always wanted to write that stuff because I always felt it was tongue-and-cheek, but when you're in a band and everybody's got their political, "No I'm sorry that's politically incorrect, you can't do that, because we might get chicks not digging it." And I'm going, "It's not for the girls, it's for the guys, to laugh at a little bit."

It's rock and roll, it's not rocket science.
It is. If you think, you stink, you know. "Fly" is not my baby, but I basically adopted it because in Japan… in America they have movie soundtracks and probably in Australia too.

Absolutely.
Movie soundtracks are really big and then a band would put that same song on the record and it will help obviously sell the record.

Sure.
Well in Japan commercials are huge and "Fly" is a commercial for Sashi Super Dry Beer. An advertising agency called me up…
First of all; Mr. Big has been trying to do commercials for so long… way before we got that Makita Drill thing years ago for a song "Daddy Lover, Little Boy" and they sponsored our tour and it was such a big deal, it meant millions and millions of dollars of advertising. It was '92. We were the biggest international act that year because of the tour of Japan, and Southeast Asia and Europe. Because of all that advertisement and consequently it sold the record and T-shirts. So we've been trying to get commercials for years and this beer commercial for Super Dry Beer calls me up and said, "Would you come down?" I did two songs and they picked this one song "Fly" and ironically it was all really hot studio guitar players, guys like this guy Mike Landau and Jeff Pilson actually from Dokken played bass.

Did he?
One thing about rock musicians - they'd rather do commercials than paint houses.

Yeah, pay the rent.
And that's what they do. I know a lot of rock and roll house painters.
Like I'll go, "Man I saw you play at the - hey, you missed a spot!"
So "Fly", we did it and I thought it was just going to be a commercial and then they asked me to re-do it, which was kind of a headache, I re-did it with my band and another guitar player - guitar player/violinist actually - he didn't play the violin but a really great guy a producer guitar player name Eric Gorfain. He's an amazing rock and roll violin player, but he played guitar on the track and we put it on the record and essentially it's a song about a woman going through major adversity in her life and he's taking her out of it - come fly with me, you know. It's really simple, lyrically it kind of blows, but it's got such a familiarity of songs like the Bon Jovi-esque stuff and it touched me. I dug it.

Awesome. It does come across like a good anthem; I mean that's what caught my attention.
And it was different because, well not different, because I think I had written that kind of material back in the '80s.

Yes, definitely.
Even Mr. Big, we did a song called "Lucky This Time"

Yep.
Am I cutting out a little bit?

Yeah, it's not a great line.
I'm sorry about that, my telephone's a little screwy, maybe I'll get in another part of the house. We did this song "Lucky This Time". That was a Jeff Paris song and we kind of put our 2 cents into it, and that's what this "Fly" song reminded me of, same kind of lyric, but brings you back to those times, you know?

Absolutely. And you produced this record yourself. Did you enjoy that?
Andrew, I've got to tell you, it was a fucking nightmare. I enjoyed the mixing stuff, well I do and I don't, one thing about producing, that's why if I had a hat right now, I'd tip it off to Richie Zito and Kevin Elson and Pat… I can't remember Pat's last name at the moment… Deep Purple's producer guy too…

Regan.
Yeah, Regan. Thank you. But I tip my hat off to those guys because when I would get burned out after 16 hours being in the studio, I'd go back to the hotel. These guys have to stay there and… producing is not just like, "Oh, this is going to be so cool, you're the leader." You have a financial responsibility, you have to pay everybody and the studio people, all the tape that you use, somehow some studio costs… some studio manager is coming up to you going, "Oh listen Eric we have a problem." How many times did I hear that making this record?!

Really?
But I loved… everybody likes being in charge. I did like the role a little bit, because Mr. Big was always a democracy and that was cool, but you definitely knew that Billy Sheehan was the… “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”, he was the Wizard of Oz.

Right.
We didn't really have a leader, we were just kind of… well somebody was the leader who made the stupid ass mistake of breaking this band up, but anyway.

Anyway, yeah.
Yeah that was a total mistake but as far as producing the record it was a love and hate type of relationship - with myself <laughs> I had a tough time with the producer.

So Richie Zito earned his paycheck for “Actual Size” then?
Richie Zito, did he earn his paycheck? Oh hell yeah.
Hell yeah, God, Richie… Kevin Elson was a great producer because he was an engineer and a mixer too and he also, Tom Size was our engineer back then and he was great. Kevin had an ear and he was really good with that and kind of a soft spoken man.
Not a big leader type of guy, and you have to have a small degree in psychiatry to produce a band.

Right.
Pat Reagan he threw things out as far as ideas and he definitely added so much to Get Over It because he played keyboards and organs and stuff. He definitely has a cool rock sense; he loves rock and roll. But Richie Zito is like the whole package. The guy plays guitar and he can actually tell you and tell me, "Eric, no, no, this vocal part is not cool, how about this," and he can actually say it to me that I don't get offended, because you shouldn't really have that. Like when I write with Andre Pessis, we have a relationship where we're throwing out ideas left and right, and we don't have those, we check the egos at the door because we don't have that stupid… if I say, "Oh Andre, man, that sucks, you can't say that", or "Andre, we've said that in like 12 other songs, you can't do that," and he'll go, "OK, I'm just thinking out loud, no big deal." And that's what Richie Zito…



Richie, if you look back through my CD collection, he's one of my favorite producers.
He arranged a lot of our songs. I used to kind of go, "Hey man I wrote this song, it's my baby," I would show it to the guys and there's so many times I'd fight for it, "Come on Paul, please" because the way I play guitar, which is kind of sloppy, but I play the guitar a different way, I strum a different way then Paul Gilbert or Richie Kotzen would play it their way, and I used to fight for it and fight for it, and Richie Zito, he's the kind of guys that goes, "No, no, no, no," for the good of the song he would just add things - "yeah, do your own thing a couple of hundred times, if that didn't work, let me help you out, let me arrange".

Right.
I don't think it needs… I wanted to do the song "Mary Goes Round"

I love that song.
I do too, thank you. I know Richie had so much to do with it, because I wanted to have the chorus first and sing the chorus first and he said, "No, no, no, let 'em wait, let 'em wait. Seduce the listener". He's also really funny and really a good balance and to me he tried so much with this band, because you could tell that the band the glue was unhinged a little bit.
I run into some people where I say, "We made this really cool record Actual Size and we haven't made a good record like this since Lean Into It you know?

Sorry to cut you off Eric, but it is my favorite album since Lean Into It.
I wholeheartedly agree with you. It's more of a… there's continuity, you know, it's thematic, there's a little bit more.. all the puzzles are perfect in a way. There's no filler I don't think.



I agree.
There's one song in the end that I wrote with Billy because he was there. I never really saw him that much, which was really kind of a bummer, but I saw him for a week and we shared everybody's songs and he basically tracked everything in a week. In the one week that we sort of rehearsed, because man I was there for 4 months with Pat, Richie and Richie, because Billy was doing Steve Vai, he was doing his own thing and unbeknownst to me, and now I know, he's pissed off at me for some thing that I can't remember right?
And I'll tell you this straight up, somebody was talking about my ex-wife the other day and I go, "I don't even remember being married," you know what I mean? You kind of get over it after it happens. So I wrote this song and Billy… the first time I've ever written…What is it… "How, how, how…"

"How Did I Give Myself Away"?
Yeah, "How Did I Give Myself Away"

OK
To me it was that "Marie" kind of thing. But Billy wrote the nucleus of the chorus. I wrote the verse and the lyrics with Andre and Billy wrote the chorus. We wrote together and I was going, "Billy man this is great," and I was really trying to connect, you know, I was saying, "This is great," and he was saying, "You like that, you like that?" and I was going, "Yeah dude, we've got something huge here, I think the kids call it chemistry."
And then that was it. We wrote the song and he recorded it, but I wasn't there. He came in at night, we'd do the basic tracks, and then he'd play on it and then he came back and we did some stuff but the whole record is really a great Mr. Big record.

It is. It is.
And getting back to the Richie Zito question, I think he did a crack job.

He plays his ass off on it, absolutely. I enjoyed Get Over It but I thought with Actual Size everything came together and you nailed it.
Yeah. Get Over It was our kind of first blues rock record.

It was bluesy wasn't it?
Yeah, that was really blues because of Richie Kotzen. I enjoyed writing it and there was one song we did that I totally dug called "Try To Do Without It" it was a total country twang rocker, and I wrote… like one of my favorite Mr. Big songs was called "My New Religion".

Yeah.
Yeah, lyrically I really got behind that song. It was so deep and I can't believe the band let me do it. Your right. I'm not saying it doesn't hold a candle to Actual Size, but Actual Size is a melodic rock and roll record.

I put it on and then half way through "Lost in America" I skipped to track 2 to make sure the album… it just arrived from Japan, and I thought, "I'll just skip to track 2 just to make sure this is what the record is going to be about," and then you hear Wake Up, like a slap in the face, I couldn't believe it! Great stuff…
Cool. And look. I like the fact… I'm pleased again obviously that you liked the record, but you listen to a lot of diverse material… comes across your desk.

For sure, but this is the stuff where my heart is, you know? Records like your self titled solo album from '86, that's the stuff that got me into this.
Really?

Yeah, one of the first records I ever bought when I couldn't get... I had to get as an import, was the LP of the Eric Martin album - the self titled one.
Oh, Eric Martin? Wow. Cool.

Yeah, what was that, '85?
Boy those days, there was some weird stuff going on back there man.

Really?
Yeah, man, I was working with Neal Schon a lot back then and meeting with so many people… friends with Steve Lukather and I know I'm name dropping here.

Steve is awesome, so's Neal.
He's such a cool guy.

Yeah, I've interviewed him and we e-mail each other, which is really cool, and he always replies, Lukather, which is very nice.
Oh yeah, yeah. I met a lot of good people. That record had tons of stars on it. People would say "Eric"… I wasn't even the star of my own record, I had all these players. It was like the name dropping record.

Oh yeah, look, you had Danny Kortchmar, Randy Jackson…
I know. Thank you. You were a kid then huh?

Yeah, I was, literally. I just turned 31 so I was like 15 or something.
Wow. Cool.

Like I said, that was one of the first. That and Rick Springfield were one of the first records that I ever bought.
Oh dude, I used to open to Rick Springfield when he came here.

Oh did you really?
Yeah, like when I was in 415, Eric Martin Band, actually my first big gig was opening to Rick Springfield at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium and it was all girls, and it was the first time I ever signed autographs. I passed out autographs for like a hundred girls. This was like 1980.

That would've been tough!
I was looking around at my family going, "Shape of things to come people!" It didn't happen for a long time, but still... you know that was a good day.

I can image.
Yeah, but Rick Springfield, God I... he did this song <singing: The light of love is always on>, remember that one?

Oh yeah, I love it.
<continues singing: Keeps getting stronger and stronger. It was really cool. And Sammy Hagar did it to <singing: I've done every thing for you…>

Yeah Sammy. Now you live in one neck of the woods where I've been once. I was in there in '92 before I was really doing any of this, and I tell you what, the next time I'm in that neck of the woods, there are so many people living around you.
Oh look, the next time you're in the neck of the woods, you're probably…if you come and visit me, I'll be happy but I'll probably have to get an appointment. You probably have a lot of people to see.

Haha… I talk to Jack Blades a lot who I know you've written some stuff with.
Yeah. Good people, man.

Yeah, Neal lives up there doesn't he? Neal Schon. There's an e-mail from him in my in-box this morning I haven't read yet.
James Hetfield.

Oh really? OK.
Oh yeah, he lives a couple streets from me. A lot of characters. Jeff Watson. I see him all the time.

Jeff, absolutely. That was another one, Jeff's a cool guy. Fantastic. You said that you were working with Neal Schon a lot. One of my favorite tracks in your early years is the Neal Schon and friends track "I Can't Stop the Fire".
Oh right, right. It's funny that you brought that up because I'm playing in Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday and we're actually going to… I'm signed to a booking agency called… well I don't know, the jury is still out, but it's called World Wide Artists. And they're going to start to book me in the United States, and anywhere else I want to go.
But it's full on van tours and Motel 6's, and this is a lot different from 1989 when I first started with Mr. Big because I didn't have any money in the bank.
But now I have money in the bank but I'm really looking forward to doing this van tour. But getting back to the "I Can't Stop the Fire", I was trying to… I'm playing like about… I'm playing 18 songs and I'm playing 8 Mr. Big songs and some songs from my early days. Like "Don't Stop" and…I'm not playing "Sucker", I can't go there (laughs), I can't do it. But you just put a bug in my ear. "I Can't Stop the Fire" would be a killer song to do.

Awesome. I'd love to hear it live, I really would. It's a great rock song. With those sessions did you record any more songs?
Yes we did. We actually recorded 4 songs. And "I Can't Stop the Fire" made it. And one song was called "Eyes of the World".

Fantastic song.
Yeah, I re-did it for…Danny Kortchmar basically arranged it differently for my Eric Martin record. But the Neal Schon version of it is really good. It's really heavy. Yeah it's really heavy. It's got some of the Tubes playing on it too.

Oh really!?
Yeah, and look, hey, I'll dig it out for you if you want to check it out.

I would love to hear it.
And another song called 'Just One Night'

Beautiful song…
...was on that record too, which is a great song. Actually Neal Schon, our version, Neal Schon's version…he had just gotten that…It's right when the guitar synthesizer came out. It was called like a 707 or something. And it was so long ago, and he basically played that so it was like guitar and synthesizers together. But it was like this really heavy…it was a heavy version of the ballad but it's Neal Schon playing solo. And on the record, the Eric Martin record, it's Steve Lukather playing.

Oh OK.
Yeah, so that was one. And there was another song that we specifically wrote for the movie…I don't remember the title at the moment but it was more geared towards the teacher kind of thing.

That was the movie wasn't it? Teachers.
Right. We had written all these songs for that Teachers movie.

OK. I'd love to hear more if you've got an album.
Oh yeah, I've got like… I ran across a video that we did in the studio. Just a making of "I Can't Stop the Fire".

Really?
Oh yeah, yeah. Funny.

See I have to come around and raid the archives.
I have so much stuff, you wouldn't believe. I don't know, you're probably a collector at this point, but I have bins of Eric Martin and Mr. Big stuff.

Really!
Ton-o-o-o-ons of stuff. Yeah, "I Can't Stop the Fire", that would be a perfect song for me to do.

Another one of my… you did a few songs…sort-of soundtrack tunes. Another one of my favorites was "One Way Out".
Oh yeah. That was actually Mr. Big.

Oh was it?
Yeah. We didn't have a name so they called it Eric Martin.

Wow!
Yeah. There you go, a little tid-bit of information. Yeah that was Mr. Big and…Oh my God that song was so high. It was, <sings very high: One way out>, You know, like screaming high vocals.

It was a big anthem I also enjoyed your cover of one of my favorite Rush songs you did on the tribute album, "Mission".
You know what, I got so much flack from Rush fans.

Really?
Yeah. When we were on the Presto tour, we also did part of the Roll the Bones tour, and it was hard to get over when we first started, especially for me. It was all guys and they were totally into Billy and Paul.



Yes, the technical side.
Yeah, and nobody paid attention to me. I'd be like, struttin' my stuff on stage, singing the best I could but still the crowd wasn't into it. And I remember I just got this corny idea to say to the audience…and our last song was "Addicted to that Rush", and I'd say, "Are you addicted to Rush?" And the crowd would go nuts. And then from then on, I was accepted. And having "To Be With You", didn't hurt because it was such a big hit that those hard-core, anal, Rush fans…they liked it. And then I remember one time… I don't know if you want to hear this but…Geddy and Alex came into our dressing room one night, and Geddy was thanking me for writing "To Be With You" because fans who would come out were all guys and then all of the sudden, girls started coming to the gigs.

Oh really!? Haha!
Yeah, and he thanked me for that. And I was sort of making a joke going… and we were having a couple of drinks and they were kind of making jokes and stuff and I go, "God, Geddy, I thought you guys were like three scientists, you know, with like, wear white lab coats in your dressing room and basically talking over the budget"…even my own band were going "Eric, Eric". I have been called Mr. Big Mouth before. Not thinking first, you know.

Me too, me too (laughing).
And Geddy, after one of the shows… and we had done six months of touring and the last month he said, "Hey, why don't you ride in the bus with me and Alex and Neil," and our lighting guy at the time, Howard Underlayer, and so I said, 'Yeah, sure'.
So I went into their bus and they're all wearing three lab coats and they had this huge book with all their tour budget in it. And they're playing the game for about an hour.
And I'm just sitting there going, holy shit. This is weird!
And then Geddy goes in the back and brings out a bottle of champagne, and he pours it and goes, "That's a really great song you rote and we're really happy that you're on this tour," and we started drinking champagne and were talking and I'm just going, "Hey, what does "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" mean?" and "What does this mean?" And we're just totally hitting it off.

Great.
But getting back to that Rush thing, after doing this tour, every night they would play "Mission" and I just loved that song.

Yeah, it's a great song.
Yeah, and I did it with this guy named Robert Berry who, he had a band called Hush, I think, in the '80s. And he also, I think he played with Keith Emerson. Remember when Keith Emerson had like a band, it was called 3?

That's right, 3, yeah.
Right. And so Robert Barry and I basically did everything - played guitar, keyboards, drums - everything. We had a drummer, I can't remember what his name was, but we captured the song, you know? I did get e-mails, like, "Hey, what were you thinking?" you know, "Led Zeppelin tributes, why are you doing that?" you know? I don't know.

Because it's fun and you like the songs.
Exactly. To me I'm all for that. I just thought it was a cool thing to do. Hey, I'm glad somebody likes it, especially somebody in Australia, somebody far away.

Yeah, very far away! No I love it man, I really do. Something I also wanted to ask you about… I think the time was about 1986 and just before you hooked up with Mr. Big, I think you were between gigs and actually auditioned for Van Halen.
I remember reading something from Sammy Hagar saying you were getting off the plane and he was getting on the plane and you crossed each other on the way and on the way back from auditions or something. I just found that really a funny thing to hear.
It was kind of a trip, but when I talk about it now people will go, "Why didn't you do it?" Basically, I chickened out.

What?
Yeah, I'm probably going to get in trouble for this. It was probably '86 or '87, I got a phone call from Danny Kortchmar saying he ran into Eddie Van Halen on the Letterman show.

I've got a video clip of Eddie on that Letterman show, isn't that funny.
Yeah, and he was sitting in with the band or something and Kooch, Danny Kortchmar 's nickname, Kooch called me up and said Eddie was talking about getting a new lead singer for the band and I was going, "David Lee Roth is out?" - you know, I was so not hip, and he goes, "yeah, and I gave him your record and he's going to be giving you a call in a couple days." And I'm going, "you're kidding?" I never left the house.

No, you wouldn't would you?!
Yeah, for about 3 days and I'm going… I remember at that time I was doing a lot of demos with Jonathan Cain and I'm telling Jonathan, "Eddie Van Halen is going to give me a call," and he's going, "Yeah, yeah, sure whatever." And I go, "No, no, no," and then so he gave me a call, and I recorded it.

Oh really? You recorded the call?
Oh hell ya! <laughs> I'm a fan, you know! I knew what he was calling for, if it didn't work out, I'm a fan dude. I had a tape recorder and one of those suction cup things you put on the telephone.

Guess how I'm recording this right now?...
He calls up and his voice is totally different. He goes, "Hey this is Edward Van Halen"… my voice when I listen to the tape is all, "Hey man, cool man'" you know. And he goes, "Kooch gave me your record and I've got to tell you, I don't like your record, but I love your voice." And I'm going, "OK" - the record had just come out and I'm excited about it and we're going on tour with Eddie Money or something at the time.

Oh Eddie Money, what a character.
Totally. And so here he's talking to me and he says he wants me to come down to L.A. and come and audition, and I'm going, "You're shitting me."
I was saying, "Are you sure you want me? I can't fill David Lee Roth's shoes." He said, "I don't want a David Lee Roth, I want a soulful rock singer. I want a Paul Rodgers type of guy," and I was like, "Cool, OK."
So I went to L.A., and at that time it was with, I think it was around the time with Neal because we were doing something for… I ran into him for some kind of thing, it could've been for Teachers but it could've been for Iron Eagle, because we had a song in that movie called, "The Eyes of the World". When I went down there I was staying at another Australian's house, a guy named Don Grearson.

Oh, I've heard that name.
He's the head of A&R for Capital.

Sure, OK.
And then he went on to Epic and he's doing other things, so I'm at his house and it's a really rainy day and Eddie's telling me how to get to his house in Cold Water Canyon and I go to his house and go through the gate, big pool, nobody's there, I'm kind of looking for Valerie Bertinelli, nobody's there, I go to 5150...we talked a little bit and he's playing and we're talking, "Hey, what do you think of this, what do you think of that," and a really good friend of mine who worked for Eddie at the time and worked for Eric Martin Band his name is Zeke Clark, and Zeke is there, and I just sort of chickened out.
I couldn't say anything, I couldn't do anything, and I went back and he goes, "Do you want to come over again, and maybe we can do something?" and I went, "I've got things to do, but I'll try to make it up next weekend." I just blew it.

So you didn't even sing in the end for him?
Nope. Not really. Just kind of sang to myself. I chickened out, totally. It's fucked, but...

That's very honest and good of you to say so, but I'm sure there's not many people that wouldn't, you know?
Well there was another opportunity, I've had a couple of opportunities like that before. Years ago, Ritchie Blackmore of Rainbow asked Sandy to have me come to New York to audition.

Wow!
Yeah, I never tell anybody that because, again, I didn't do it, because I was so freaked out that Joe Lynn Turner, that guy from Alcatrazz…

Graham Bonnet?
Yeah, everybody kept telling me that Ritchie was really tough on his singers.

Yeah, just a little.
Dio, you know. And I grew up singing "Man On a Silver Mountain" with bands so you know, and Alfonso Johnson, there was another thing, and Wishbone Ash, there's a few things that didn't pan out, the Wishbone Ash thing didn't pan out, but…

That's incredible.
And then there was another time with Toto.

Really?
Yeah, but I wanted the gig with Toto. I actually rehearsed with Toto and actually sang on the record but they must have taken me off obviously because Joe Williams got it.

That was what, The Seventh One record?
No it was Fahrenheit.

Oh, Fahrenheit, OK. I'd love to hear that.
I went to a studio in Los Angeles called Leads and I went there and song "Hold The Line", and "Africa", "Georgie Porgie" - everything.

That would suit you I think.
Oh dude, I wanted the gig so bad. Actually, the whole band came to see me play in San Francisco with my own band and they said it right there, except Jeff wasn't there, the drummer, and the whole band David Paich, Steve Porcaro, said, "We want you in the band."

Wow!
Yeah, I've got pictures and everything. I came back to LA, I rehearsed with them and worked out with them and went to the studios actually listened for the first time Steve Lukather just did "I'll Be Over You", we just did it and I'm listening to it and I'm like, "Wow", again I'm here and I want the damn gig so bad, but I'm going, "What do you need me for, you're a great singer."

Exactly.
We're all at an Italian restaurant and we're all crammed into this booth with everybody, with Jeff included, and they go… and there was a roadie guy there too and he said why don't you and Mr. X go out there and have a cigarette or something because we're going to talk. So we're all leaving and they said, "Eric, we'll talk to you in a week or so and give you the news or whatever," and Lukather goes, "I don't think it looks good Eric because Jeff thinks you're too young, you're too green."

Really? You had more of a track record than a lot of other people your age.
I could've done the gig just as well as Joe Williams could've, but I sort of learned my lesson. Look, I don't think I would've made a good… I probably would've been a Gary Cherone in Van Halen and... I think I read somewhere, maybe on Melodicrock...

Haha..yeah, I've been following Van Halen a bit.
Yeah, Billy said he handed it to Eddie Van Halen and Eddie didn't even remember me or that kind of thing. That kind of hurt because I was asked to join the band and Billy's no stranger to the answering machine according to Pat Torpey, like if I played him the tape, but I have a little more dignity than that. It did happen and it didn't work out, but I definitely shit my pants over it, I chicken shitted out, you know.

Well it's very cool of you to say so, and I don't blame you. I wouldn't have even answered the phone. <laughs>. I would've been too chicken to even answer the phone.
I was so excited, but even my friends were going, "Dude, you're no David Lee Roth," and I'm going, "I don't even think David Lee Roth is David Lee Roth at that point." Now that whole Sammy Hagar/David Lee Roth thing sounds like it's going to be great actually.

It does!
Yeah, I saw something on TNN with them.

Tell me. There's still rumors about you and Eddie talking now.
You know what, I heard about that before I was making the Actual Size record

Ok.
See, I just kind of find that funny that people have selective memory. Look he probably just doesn't want to go through… he had Gary Cherone, and he's got all these singers and now he doesn't have any singers any more. I feel… look, it was a part of my life where I was overwhelmed by his phone call and I didn't do it and I never really… look, I went to England back in the '80s with Neal and me and Neal and John Entwistle and we did a demo at where The Who did Quadrophenia. We made this demo and back in Los Angeles, kind of a divey hangout for rock stars, you know, old and new rock stars and me and Billy walk in together and Billy says, "Look, there's John Entwistle." Didn't you play on a demo with him, and I said, "Yeah," so we walk over and I go, "Hey John!" and he goes, "Hello" and Billy goes, "Hey it's Eric Martin, remember?" and he goes, "I've never seen you in my life."

Really!
Yeah! And I ran into… before I did the farewell tour with Mr. Big, I ran into Neal Schon at a Starbucks and I go, "Hey man what's going on?" …because it's a small community where I live.

I'm going to have to go hang out at Starbucks in San Fran.
Yeah, rock star watch. But I brought that up to Neal, because we're talking about the old days and he said, "Eric you've done a lot of things over the years," and I said, "you too" and I go, "Boy, do you remember when we worked with John Entwistle?" and he goes, "Yeah"… But that's the story about Van Halen, and how I really wanted the Toto gig after that and all those other things.

Well things worked out pretty well, I mean, you've made your own legacy with your own band really haven't you?
Yeah, it ain't over is it?

No. Let's get to that. Is it all over?
No. Hell no. Well…

Mr. Big, is Mr. Big over?
The Mr. Big chapter is over.

Seriously? There's not going to be a different line-up?
No. I'll tell you. I'll go on record. You can quote me. Who's stupid, bright idea was it to call it a Farewell Tour? I didn't want that, I wanted to… there was so many times that I cried to give an olive branch to our fearless leader and say look man, I don't even know what this fight is about, if you've got a problem with me, talk to me about it. There was no communication, it was all moodiness and very… there was no violence, there was no yelling or screaming matches, it was just, you know, sometimes silence can be detrimental, can just kill you. So that's the way it had been for the last year or two after the Get Over It record and tour. Oh yeah, I've got to tell you this, because you know what's going on a little bit. You've talked to Pat Torpey a little bit, right?

Via E-mail, yes.
Ah. Well, I'll kind of put you up to speed here. When Pat called me and said, "Look…"… you see Pat was kind of the glue that held the band together. It was always me and Billy butting heads and arguing and communication problems, "No, I didn't mean that Eric, I meant this…" and I'm like, "Oh, I thought you meant that," I'll blame some of it on my immaturity back in '89-92, but from then on, I've always been a team player in the band. I'm not an opportunist and I don't have that type of ego. I don't care about… I'll play for free, because I just love rock and roll, you know? I never really had money anyway, and when I did make money I didn't go out and buy a helicopter, I still have the same car since '92.
I definitely have a tendency to go a little crazy and go a little nuts once in awhile, I don't know if people will equate that with lead singers' disease or whatever, but just call it Eric Martin disease. That's just the way it is.

Ok.
Sometimes I'll fly off the handle, but with a guy like Billy Sheehan who's elegant and intelligent and very moody. He can be so moody that he doesn't have to say anything for a week on tour and I'll be scratching my eyes out because of it and totally believe it's me. That's been my whole life in the 12 years of Mr. Big.
Some of it's good because on stage it became sort of a wild band circus on stage it was great and we had all this… I poured all that compassion into lyrics and music and my wishing well was always full basically. My creativity was there and everything, but I was kind of miserable because I never felt like we bonded as people.

Yeah.
We were both good musicians, he never thought I respected him but I thought he was brilliant. People skills… he's such a great speaker when he's talking to other people, but with me, we just didn't click and that's OK, because look at it: Eddie Van Halen/David Lee Roth, Joe Perry/Steven Tyler, John Lennon/Paul McCartney - sometimes you don't get along as people, but as musicians they get along. My thing was why ruin a good thing. I went through so many times of saying, "OK, I can't stand this. Do I quit or do I hang in there?" So I hung in there. And Paul Gilbert, he couldn't take it. I know the reason he split is because he probably couldn't take me and Billy and my flying off the handle and his moodiness, you know?
In the end, I was there with me, Richie and Pat, we were creating this Actual Size record and he wasn't around at all, and when he would be there... I hate that confrontation, I really hate it because I didn't want to know what he didn't' like about me and I wasn't going to tell him what I didn't like about him because that sort of defeats the purpose. My whole purpose was to go, "Look, we agree to disagree, let's move on." That's what happened, but I wasn't into the firing Billy. I was more into having the band sort of gang up on him to say tell us what's wrong and maybe scare him a little bit. Not trying to be vindictive or mean to him, so Pat called me out of the blue after we did the "Shine" video which was just a disaster. It was a good video but it was a disaster because - I don't know if you've seen it, but…



No, I haven't.
It's just, there's three of us happy and smiling and there's Billy just standing there. He walks away and the Director say, "What's wrong with your band member?" and he'd get mad at us because he's a fan and he's going, "Man, my heart is in my stomach. I can't believe this happens, professionally." And we couldn't either. It's one thing to do it behind the curtain, but in front of the curtain is not cool. So Pat gave me a call and talked to me for 2 hours on the phone and I was dead-set against firing him, but for Pat to actually do that - you have to know Pat Torpey, he doesn't do that.
For him to lose it because we used to have band meetings and he used to chair them. He'd be the chairman of the group and say, "Look guys, sweep it under the carpet, and let's move on." But for him to say, "I can't take it anymore Eric, it's killing us."
What do we do about plans on moving ahead, do we get another bass player and people are not going to dig that because fans think each of the band members are immortal, in my words, and especially think, Billy Sheehan can't do any wrong.
As a man and as a professional musician, in our view anyway, he's got his point of view too, he just wasn't being a team player, so I agreed, and he talked to Richie and Pat called Billy and what Billy always does, because I've called him before - not that many times, I've called him and he screens the call. He could've been there, because Pat could've waited.

That led to the whole answering machine saga?
Over the top, answering machine crapola. To me, that was really… I'm trying not to get a defamation of character suit against me but, for Billy who has always been an advocate of, "the band's my first love, Mr. Big is..." and telling everybody else, "Eric Martin, I respect him, he's a great singer, I love these guys, there like brother," for so many years, to come out and say, call me on the answering machine, and be really upset about it, and not really telling people… I never really understood why you, or fans, or people in our guest book on our web site, never asked why did he - OK, I exclude myself to an extent - but why do two and a half intellectual characters in a band fire the icon in the band? Well, there's got to be a reason.

Of course there does.
But nobody really wants to hear that. They just go, "You're fuckin' nuts that you fired the super fantastic Billy Sheehan," you know? And so, the next… I was at home and the three of them live in Los Angeles, and when I called Richie the first time I said, "Richie, are you sure you want to do this?" and he said, "Hey dude, I had a hard time doing this record with him and I got into this band from Poison and I'm so sick of the controversy."

He did get a bit of stick from that <laughs> [The Poison Saga].
Hey look, who's fault was that? It was Richie's.

Yeah, we won't go into that.
He's in Poison for an hour and a half. You made you bed and you slept in it, also with somebody else's woman.

Shit happens.
Yeah, that's right. Cheaters don't rule, babe, so…So Richie goes, "Hey, that's the way it is." But the next day he had second thoughts, so Richie and Pat went to Billy's house and they talked for hours and Billy decided to come back into the band. He actually said, "I'm back in the band." I wasn't there but Pat called me and says, "Eric, I really think he's genuine and I think he wants to sit down and talk with you."

Yeah.
And I go, "What did he say about me?" It was kind of weird.
We'll finally have a meeting, we'll lay our cards on the table. And then the next day, the third day, he started back, 'I don't want to be in the band anymore' and that was it.
And so he was kind of thinking about it, but he really didn't want to be in the band. Didn't really want to be in the band.
So we went on this promotional tour, the 3 of us. And we talked about moving on.
We were thinking we could tour, we could have a great time like we always did. And then after the tour, take a year off, again which is stupid, but take a year off and then come back fresh.
We were sitting in Mr. Yakamoto's Office, the big promoter. And we got a letter telling our manager that Billy's not going to be a band anymore and we're going on a farewell tour. And I remember sitting there looking at Richie, and I got tears in my eyes. And Richie was looking at me like, oh fuck. Not again…
But I was looking at it like, it was shit. The whole thing was a shock, the firing, the coming back, the farewell tour.
And then it ain't the worst thing in the world. The worst thing in the world for us that year was the breakup. In my little world, crushed. And we had to do the tour in Japan.
It was kind of fun to play all those old songs but it was weird.

I just got a note in the mail, there's a live album from Japan.
Oh yeah, it wasn't fun, I'm not sure how the record will sound. We had four dressing rooms, two tour busses, different floors of the hotel. No interviews at all, except in the end. We also did a DVD for the thing.



Oh did you!?
Yeah. And that comes out in maybe a month of so.
It was tough.

It sounds tough.
It was really tough. It was kind of like the last gig. Even like the catering. Billy, he got his meals in his dressing room. And the three of us kind of hung out a little but, everybody kind of went their own way, you know. What else was there to talk about? The last show after the encore, we took our bows, you know we always did our little routine bows like on every tour, every show. When we did our last song, 15 show prior to the last one, we did like 'Blame it on My Youth' and “goodnight!” And that was it. “Thank you!” Bye. Which is sick. No hugging each other and saying, hey you guys, you did a great job, all right, let's eat.
For the last show, Billy kind of gave ourselves an embrace, gave ourselves the old, two guys patting each other on the back, 'not too close!' but he whispered in my ear. He said good job. And the fans were going nuts anyway. But they were freaked when they…you know, they're not stupid. They take it to heart. He goes, can you believe this?
I was going insane. It will never be like this again.
We went to the Hard Rock Café and there was a bunch of fans there, we actually sat together. We actually, we closed the place. Pat and Richie went home, all the fans left and it was just me and Billy and a couple of drunks. And then after that gig we went to Hong Kong, and played another show and everything was great. Pat and Richie were walking around, me and Billy, we were in the same dressing room. 'Cause, you know, Hong Kong was a lot different than Japan. Japan we were like…I mean we still got treated really good and everything but it was one dressing room and that was like it used to be back in '88, '89. It was different, a good time. And then again we went to the Hard Rock Café in Hong Kong, having a few drinks and four taxis came and took it all away.
Such a shame too because it actually was a really good record.
We finally got on track. I guess it's better to go out on top.
It's a shame the record hasn't been released worldwide.

Yeah, it's still only 1 country isn't it? I mean, I know they export a lot of copies and all the guys that I deal with, my advertising sponsors you know, have the Japanese imports available to people, so, you know, that's good isn't it?
It is good.

It doesn't…there's no replacement for walking in a Tower Records and finding a Mr. Big disc in that section is there?
I agree. I agree.

Mail order is one thing, but to walk into a store, you know, there's no substitute is there?
Yeah, and I don't have, the whole…back in the early days I would have said, 'sell my records at the gigs? What, are you crazy?' I'm doing that now.

Well good on you. Now I think that's great.
I will be doing it.

What's next Eric? I mean a new tour here. Just continuing as a solo artist?
Yeah. That's it, man. Just, Eric Martin Band. That's all.
I'm not looking to join a band, an already established band. I'm just not into…I'm not going to do that.

I keep saying to Neal Schon that you two should do a record.
You know, I wouldn't mind doing stuff like that. Jeff Watson actually wanted to do something like that a long time ago, and then Mother's Army happened.

Oh, yeah, yeah. Well that would be cool. Why don't you do a San Francisco all star project?
Oh, God, it would be like, all the egos would make it into the room. But it would be trippy.

Or you and Jack Blades. Jack's looking to do…I was talking to Jack and he's like, 'I've got to make a record, what am I going to do?' So maybe you and Jack.
Yeah, Jack would be killer. I like Jack.

Yeah, I mean the song you wrote together was great.
I'll probably do that, you know. I really like making the Eric Martin band the same focus as I did with Mr. Big.

Yeah, cool.
And do this kind-of side stuff. You know, getting together with guitar players, I mean, what else is there to do? Now, 'cause truthful, I mean I enjoyed being in Mr. Big.
Even with the headache and heartache. But the reason why I say it's over, I know it's over because…no me, I mean, I didn't, I never wanted this breakup in the first place. Never wanted to do the farewell tour. And didn't like it. Actually part was saying, 'well Eric fine, man if you don't want to do it, we can just all go home. You know? Because I was really dead-set…because I didn't want the fans to know it was over, you know?
I did it because it's my band. The reason why I know for a fact that it's over is because there's pride involved, especially you know, Billy who's like told the whole world how upset and how sad he was that the band, his band, kicked him out of his band, his own band. The band that he started over 12 years and how he…you know. Mr. Immortal would never go back now because he's said too much. And think he basically printed out the whole tombstone, which is a shame.

It is a shame. But so we've got the Eric Martin Band now, so that's cool, so.
Yeah, and look, I loved playing the Budokan's and I loved playing those big gigs. But that was like years of campaigning to get to that place. I'm set with playing the gigs.
Just want to get that…obviously I want to have people hear the record. I want people to know that I'm alive and kicking still, you know? But my dreams of playing the Budokan, they're still there. But it's a very dim light.

I have no doubts it will happen again.
Thanks.

I don't, I don't. You're too good a singer mate.
All right brother. Thank you. It was kind of a depressing interview, part of it, huh?

No. That's cool, I mean you know, you've got to reflect and move on I guess. And then the fans respect that.
Yeah, yeah, well you have to. I mean like, really I look around and I have, like I said, I have this music room. And I have all of the awards and the platinum's and the gold's and the posters and the magazine covers of Mr. Big. And here I've been looking at it for years and I'm really proud of that stuff.

You should be.
But the fact, it definitely is…if I think about it. 'Cause I stopped thinking about it. 'Cause it crushes me. It hurts me to think that, well like the other day, I was telling somebody that I'm playing Los Angeles ,and they go 'Hey what's going on with Mr. Big?'

That's what suck about the press, doesn't it?
(laughs) I go, eh, it's over. 'You're kidding! What did you do? What happened?' Or I see a lot of things that say Eric Martin of Mr. Big, Eric Martin from Mr. Big, blah, blah, blah. Everywhere I go. And I don't mind that. It's part of my history. Everybody wants to know, you know? What happened, what happened? And I go, 'Well it's really hart to explain because you're not there. You know, even when I tell you my side of the story.

Ok. Well, next time I get over there, The States, I'm going to have to make it to San Francisco.
Yeah, you are. Come and have a Starbucks (laughs). You know I told you I was getting married and my bride to be, her name is Denise.
And she's sitting in the corner over here going 'did you talk about our record al all?' Yes we did.

At the start. Was she there at the start?
Yes, we talked about the whole record. We talked about how great a drummer you are and like how nobody can hold a candle to you.

Did I say that in the review? I hope I said something about how good the drumming was in the review (laughs).
If you want to get me out of a jam. Hey this is what I say about Denise. Behind every good man is a woman. Don't get offended by this Denise, behind every good man there'' a woman with a drumstick playing down the back of his skull. That's right brother.

Yeah, exactly. So I gather this is the end of the interview?

This must be the end Eric (laughs).
OK. We're breaking up. Not you too. Et tu brute. OK. All right. I must let you go and what have you had dinner yet? I just had a piece of pasta in my mouth while I was talking, that's why I kind of went (mumbles sound).
All right Andrew.

Cool.
Take care and thank you very much.

You too Eric.
Excellent. Well I'll keep in contact, keep in touch and say G'Day.