Shredfest ’93, Or The Paul Gilbert Duet That Never Was

Mr Big

I’m a daydreamer. I always have been. One of my current favourite hobbies is going to zillow.com to check out super-expensive homes for sale or rent in Laurel Canyon, then kinda just blissing out over the idea of waking up there, making a coffee, strolling out to the deck with an acoustic guitar and tweedling out some licks while while taking in the aroma of the eucalyptus trees. I’ve met people who don’t daydream at all, or who mistake daydreaming with goal-setting. I’d bloody love to live in Laurel Canyon but I’m not actively working towards it and I’m not fussed if it never happens: it’s just nice to go there in my head for a bit. Anyway, while pondering the nature of daydream recently, I remembered one of my favourite daydreams.

It was in December 1991. My family used to go to the seaside town of Bermagui every year right after Christmas. The seven-hour drive was always pretty brutal, but by ’91 I had a kickass tape deck that fit right behind my seat in dad’s four-door Ford F-150. Jam some headphones in that sucker, crack open a MAD Magazine and zone out until the next pee/snack break (my favourite was the town of Adaminaby, with its giant Rainbow Trout sculpture. Seriously, you’ve gotta go see that thing). That year my brother Steve gave me Mr. Big’s Lean Into It album for Christmas, and I brought it along for the ride, along with a few of my other favourites at the time: Steve Vai’s Passion & Warfare, Metallica’s ‘Black’ album, Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.

img_0161So here’s where the daydream comes in. I remember this as clear as if it happened yesterday. As I listened to Lean Into It‘s opening track “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” I started to think about how awesome it would be to record a song with Paul Gilbert. I could picture it all so clearly. It would be an instrumental shred duet. We’d both be playing Ibanez PGM models because Paul would totally have given me one because we’d be best mates of course. Our song would start with a driving riff then kick into an awesome call-and-response verse. Then badass harmony chorus. An even wilder call-and-response second verse. Badass harmony chorus again. Then we’d each take extended solos. Paul’s would be really cool. Mine would utterly wipe the floor with him. I mean it would slay that dude. Poor Paul. And he’d be cool about it, of course, because he’s such a nice guy. And we’d make a video for it. It would be Paul and I, walking along a highway (the highway we happened to be driving along while I was having the daydream), kickin’ dirt on the side of the road. The camera would focus on a nearby snake before re-focusing onto me and Paul shredding on the road in the distance. We’d do some takes of us shredding in the middle of grassy fields. Maybe put a foot up on a fallen tree for a killer rockstar pose.

And the name of the track would be “Shredfest ’93” because I was a realist and I figured I wouldn’t be good enough to wipe the floor with Paul Gilbert within one calendar year, but I’d probably be able to do it by ’93.

Of course part of the thing about daydreams is they’re allowed to be impossible.

NEWS: Mr Big reunion tour DVD, CD available in Japan in September

I was just checking out CD Japan and I came across these links to buy the DVD, Blu Ray and CD of Mr Big’s current reunion tour. Cool! It seems the release date is September 16. I’m not sure if/when these will be available in other countries but I’m not waiting to find out!

MR.BIG Budokan-Reunion Tour 2009 / MR.BIG

MR.BIG Budokan-Reunion Tour 2009 [Blu-ray] / MR.BIG

MR.BIG Budokan-Reunion Tour 2009 [HQCD] / MR.BIG

Save Up to 90% on Almost Everything at MusiciansFriend.com (exp: 8/31)

NEWS: New Mr. Big Video – Next Time Around

Hell yeah! Check it out! Here’s the new Mr. Big song, ‘Next Time Around. Wadda you think?

CLICK HERE to buy Next Time Around – Best Of MR.BIG from CDJapan.

Warner Japan is also re-releasing four Mr. Big DVDs: Lean Into It, Live And Kickin’, Live and Big. Bigger. Biggest! The Best Of MR.BIG. Click any of the titles to buy the DVDs from CDJapan.

For more Mr. Big and Paul Gilbert news, check out Random Chatter Music.

NEWS: Mr. Big best-of and DVD reissues

Out on April 29 on Warner Music Japan is Next Time Around – Best Of Mr. Big.

Can’t seem to find much info about this one but it comes with a bonus DVD and the track listing was selected by the band and the fans.

CLICK HERE to buy Next Time Around – Best Of MR.BIG from CDJapan.

Warner Japan is also re-releasing four Mr. Big DVDs: Lean Into It, Live And Kickin’, Live and Big. Bigger. Biggest! The Best Of MR.BIG. Click any of the titles to buy the DVDs from CDJapan.

NEWS: Mr. Big reunion press release

Finally confirming the rumors that have been circulating the internet for weeks, all four original members of the popular 90’s rock supergroup, Mr. Big, are taking to the stage together for the first time in 13 years for a reunion tour of Japan.
The Japanese run will bring back the magic of the original chart-busting foursome: vocalist / frontman Eric Martin, Paul Gilbert, guitar, Billy Sheehan, bass, and Pat Torpey, drums.

The tour takes off in Sapporo on June 5 and culminates June 20 in Tokyo with a feature concert at Budokan the famous Japanese venue known for its rich history of legendary performances by rock’s elite. The band will record a live CD / DVD during the Budokan show that will also mark the band’s 20 year anniversary!

Formed in 1988, Mr. Big forged its place in hard rock history combining trademark “shredding” mucicianship with awesome vocal harmonies and signed a record deal in 1989 with Atlantic Records. The self-titled album. Mr. Big, received critical and commercial success in the US and Japan but it was the band’s second album, Lean Into It, that provided the major breakthrough. Lean Into It, featured two ballads that established the band as a commercial success, To Be With You and Just Take My Heart, propelling the band the band to huge international success and record sales in the multi-millions.

Gilbert left the band in 1996 to pursue a solo career and the original members had not shared a stage together until late 2008 at Gilbert solo show at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. Paul was joined onstage by Sheehan and Torpey to perform a couple of covers songs and the three had such a good time together, they contacted Martin a few days later and the reunion was put into motion.

While no concert dates beyond Japan have been announced as yet, the band is looking at possible dates in Southeast Asia and America later in the year.

CLICK HERE to buy Billy Sheehan’s new album ‘Holy Cow’ from CDJapan.co.jp

NEWS: Mr. Big Japanese tour dates

Here are the dates for Mr. Big’s reunion tour of Japan, courtesy of Burrn! Magazine (although Jenn from Random Chatter Music emailed them to me too, but I saw these first – man, information about this tour’s flying about like picks at an Yngwie concert).

June 05 – Zepp, Sapporo
June 07 – Zepp, Sendai
June 09 – Kouseinenkin Hall, Kanazawa
June 10 – Zepp, Nagoya
June 12 – Zepp, Fukuoka
June 15 – Grand Cube, Osaka
June 17 – Alsok Hall, Hiroshima
June 18 – Kouseinenkin Hall, Osaka
June 20 – Budokan, Tokyo

CLICK HERE to buy Paul Gilbert’s Guitars From Mars 1 DVD or CLICK HERE to buy the Guitars From Mars 2 DVD from CDJapan.co.jp.

NEWS: Billy Sheehan speaks about Mr. Big reunion

Joe Bosso (one of my guitar journalism heroes) from MusicRadar recently spoke with Billy Sheehan about the Mr. Big reunion. 

Here are some excerpts.

“We got together last fall” says Sheehan. “It was just one of those things, the timing was right. We played a gig at the House Of Blues in LA and we smoked the joint. Afterwards, we all kind of looked at one another and were like, ‘OK, that was cool…Now what?”

“The way I look at it is, it’s like getting back with an old girlfriend,” says Sheehan. “But because you want to, not because you have to. All of us are doing fine in our solo careers. This is something that felt right, and after that one gig we were like, ‘We should do more of these. This was fun!'”

As for the animosity that tore the original lineup apart, Sheehan laughs and says, “You know what? I can’t honestly remember who was mad at who. That’s the great thing about getting older: you forget the bad times and remember the good times. And hopefully, this band will have a lot more of the latter.”

CLICK HERE to read the full interview.

CLICK HERE to buy Billy Sheehan’s new album ‘Holy Cow’ from CDJapan.co.jp