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Farewell Pat Torpey

Pat Torpey, drummer and founding member of Mr. Big died earlier this week. He was just 64 and passed from complications due to Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's is a horrible disease that slowly robs you of your ability to walk, feed and dress yourself and think. Torpey died very young from the disease but it isn't necessarily uncommon to receive a diagnosis at his age. In my day job, I've seen many valiant struggles of people fight the disease for years and years. With the right research and government dollars, someday we will have a cure for Parkinson's - or at least I sure hope!

Mr. Big is a great band that I enjoyed a lot when I was in high school. By all accounts, Torpey was a great guy. Lots of fellow musicians have paid their respects, as they should. Such a shame.


Reader Comments (6)

Firstly, by all accounts, Pat Torpey was an amazing human being. Very humble and down to earth, a characteristic that's lost amongst "rock stars" or any other "star" for that matter. He happened to also be a top notch musician. As an amateur drummer myself I feel I know what makes a good drummer, playing a solid, steady rhythm that fits the song. If you can also make interesting for the listener without interfering with the flow and structure of the song, that's just icing on the cake. Not too many better than Mr. Torpey in those regards. Much like Steve Smith of Journey, to the untrained ear these two drummers played straight ahead rock rhythms to rock songs. It's the little things they do within the song like tricky drum fills and odd rhythmic choices that can be quite challenging for someone attempting to play or cover them. Many drummers can play an AC/DC song all the way through after hearing it a couple of times and you likely can play a Mr. Big song with the same amount of preparation of those incredibly difficult fills come in. Stop, rewind and try again. Play, stop, rewind and try again..etc. These types of drummers make you work at recreating their song. In short, listening and emulating Pat Torpey absolutely made me a better drummer and to watch him fight his affliction the way he did is an inspiration. Kudos to his bandmates for standing with him through his battle. Godspeed Mr. Torpey. Many will miss you.
February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJCD
Actually went to see Mr Big only a month or so ago here in the UK at Nottingham Rock City. They were amazing, not only cos of how they played interacted etc, but they brought Pat out on stage for a handful of songs, and the crowds cheer was huge. Huge respect for the band for doing that for him. As ill as he mustve been.
February 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJerr
@JCD. Awesome post bud. 🤘
February 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGary
JCD, what a fantastic post! It's always wonderful to hear the prospective of a fellow drummer. As the legendary session drummer, Hal Blaine, famously said, "A good drummer should be felt, not heard." that was Torpey in a nutshell. He had the chops to play more elaborate stuff than he played, but the good sense and respect for the overall song not to. the other example you gave, Steve Smith, is another perfect example. Smith is a highly-accomplished jazz drummer, but he knows that when he is in a rock setting, his job is to establish and hold the groove which he does expertly. I'm actually not the biggest fan of Mr. Big's music, but Torpey was the rock-solid anchor that kept Gilbert and Sheehan from completely overplaying into the stratosphere. May he rest.
February 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Thank you Gary and Bob. Bob, the Hal Blaine quote is perfect coming from a man who, at least at one time, was the most recorded musician in history. I'll certainly take his word for anything pertaining to drums. Just about everyone in the world has heard Hal Blaine play drums in a song but they likely don't realize it.
February 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJCD
Beautiful tributes, one and all.
February 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHim

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