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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites....6/29/17

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 06/30/2017

"From the second or third song on the record, there's meat, there's also a sublime message; follow your dreams."

Those are the words of Mr Big front man Eric Martin as he discussed the band's upcoming July 21 release, "Defying Gravity," their upcoming tour, his life and all things music in a recent candid conversation. "Parents, my parents, all parents are great but they, like most people think that it's not going to work unless it's a nine to five job with a wife and two kids at home. That's the thought process of those who aren't involved artistically, many don't understand that what we musicians do is work. I've followed my dreams since I was young and if you think about it gravity is what grounds us and holds us down to earth and if you look at it that way then the title takes on a whole new meaning."

Martin echoed those sentiments in a recent press release, saying that from the time we are born we are pushed toward a, "Life that's safe and conventional," of which he was no exception. "I was 25 years old and signed to Electra Records and my dad, who was a musician at one time, looked at me one day and said, "When are you gonna get a job?" "I was floored. I was about to hit the road touring with Night Ranger and ZZ Top and he still thought that I was in need of a day job, something more stable. Even to this day, I was just telling my sister last week that our brother called me and he still doesn't call what I do a job (laughs). I'll tell you this much, it's hard to balance life with this job of mine, it's not always easy like it may be with a nine to five but I've also seen the world and made a good living."

"Defying Gravity," will be the band's ninth studio release in their nearly 30 year history. They've gone through minor personnel changes, interchanged some parts and now have the line up back intact. The band has "Persevered" through various side projects and drummer Pat Torpey's Parkinson's Disease diagnosis to continue making music and touring the world. "I may get in trouble for saying this, " he started with a laugh, "But everybody thinks this is Billy's (Bassist Sheehanband and it's Pat that is really the glue that holds the band together. Pat comes up with many of our ideas, stage cosmetics, set lists and in general keeps it all going forward. When he was diagnosed it was rough on all of us but he stays involved from start to finish. Sometimes it's funny watching him and our touring drummer Matt Starr debate certain parts but in the end it always works out (laughs)."

The release of the new record comes in various forms. There's the 11 track CD and LP versions, the deluxe CD/DVD combo or there is the collectors edition box set which includes the CD, DVD,LP, a poster, a numbered lithograph, T-shirt and a sticker. Take heed however as the box set is limited to only 500 copies worldwide. "Yeah, I don't know why they're doing that," laughed Martin. "If you go to YouTube there's a teaser video we did where we're talking about the DVD."

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Along those lines, the band released the first video from the forthcoming album on June 5 and it's a track which features the entire band including both drummers called, "Everybody Needs A Little Trouble." "Yeah, management wanted us to release "1992" but we said lets save that for later and went with this one. Usually we just record and give to the powers that be to do as they wish but this time we're a bit more involved. We shot the video in a rehearsal space in L.A. that we used to use years ago. I mean this was a rehearsal space, Indian rugs on the floor, dark walls, you get the picture; we had a lot of fun doing it."

The record itself took a very short time, only six days to record; something that Martin attributes to guitaristPaul Gilbert"Paul came in prepared, he wrote most of the album. Once he and I got together lyrically and on the same page it made things easier and we knocked it out in less than a week."

When not on stage either with the band or while pursuing his solo career, Martin likes to kick back and stay in tune with the new music that's out there via a thriving indie scene. Since Mr Big's success over the years is very much attributed to an almost underground following without much commercial radio airplay; Martin can appreciate what's happening in the industry today. "Believe it or not, I love listening to singer/songwriter folk types and classic rock type stuff. When I was younger I listened to a lot of Free, Humble Pie, Spooky Tooth and those type of bands. What's kind of funny is, Billy and I will talk about all of these bands and sometimes he'll try and stump Paul when we're on the tour bus with these band trivia questions because he's younger than we are; questions that nobody should know the answers to and Paul usually gets them right (laughs). Now though I try and see what's out there and find new artists and music. I've got Motown and singer/songwriters of today on my laptop. I like Jason Mraz, Gavin DeGraw, John Mayer; am I digging myself a hole here (laughs)? I also love Tedeschi Trucks Band; Susan Tedeschi? I would love to do a duet with Susan Tedeschi, oh man that voice, I love her voice. That's the beauty of music today, the record industry might be in disarray but with technology now I could record with someone and not even be in the same room; it's an entirely new world now."

So what's in store for Mr Big and Eric Martin? "For me? Well, we've got the tour dates which kick off again in August. We are going to regroup in South America, then I know we're going to Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe and rumor has it possibly some more 2018 U.S. dates. This record, the tour has all been painless and stress free and that suits all of us just fine. We take it as it comes really and we are all happy for what we have. I don't know how long we can keep going but we will ride this train as far as it takes us. We really are a band that was part of an underground movement because we've been successful without any radio play but now with internet radio and more and more stations or outlets things are different. Our song "1992" is a tongue in cheek look back at our experiences with the record company. We are all afraid to put the torch out and that's why Mr Big keeps going on. None of us wants to give it up so as long as we are all able we'll keep going."

Martin will be bringing his solo act to Mexicali Blues in Teaneck, NJ on July 26

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!

This week's event listings

Bill's Olde Tavern
02694 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-0192
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke Contest (Cash prizes) 
Ages 21+ 
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33 Hamilton 
(609) 245-8887
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia  Jam
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic Hosted by Shaun Ruymen
Bowman's Tavern
1600 River Road New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2972
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Michelle Wiley Duo
Fri. 8 p.m. Bob Egan
Sat. 8 p.m. David Dales Trio
Sun. (12 p.m.) Brunch With Ottmar (6 p.m.) Lorenzo
Mon. 6 p.m. Andy Prescott
Tues. 6 p.m. "Ottmar's Birthday" w/ CJ Steinway
Wed. 6 p.m. Michelle Wiley
Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room
19 E. Union Street Burlington
(609) 733-3562
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Sara M
Sat. 9 p.m. The Battery Electric
Sun. 5 p.m. Charlie Stroup
Brothers Pizza
871 Route 33 Hamilton Square
(609) 586-2707
Thurs. 5:30 p.m. Rich Schneider
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic Street Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. "Annual Jazz BBQ / Jam"  $10 (cover charge/$10 Minimum includes buffet) 
Tues. 6 p.m. "Tuesday Jazz Jam" Open Session feat. James Stewart / Tom Littwin Trios. $5 (Lite appetizers)
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night
Wed. 9 p.m. Quizzo Trivia 
City Streets 
510 Highway 130 South East Windsor
(609) 426-9400
Mon. 9 p.m. "Malibu Mondays" w/ DJ Brett Gash
Tues. 9 p.m. Trivia w/ Jessie and Chelsea
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays" w/ Rich Genoval 
Main Street Hightstown 
(609) 241-7103
Please check web page for upcoming schedule
Cream Ridge Winery
145 Route 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 259-9797
Sun. 2 p.m. John & Maggs
Dadz Bar & Grill
744 Main Street Lumberton
(609) 267-4344
Thurs. 10 p.m. "Pong Tournament"
Fri. 10 p.m. Out Of The Red
Sat. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Byrd
Sun. 4 p.m. Derek Crider
Tues. 9 p.m. John Rodden
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Superstar Entertainment
Dempster's Pub
437 Pine Street Mount Holly
(609) 261-0500
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. DJ DNIAL
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Chris
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. John Rodden
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour" feat. Geno Turchi (9 p.m.) New Pony
Sat. (11 a.m.)"Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. David Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.)
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Kelo Vale Jazz (4 p.m.)
Mon. 8 p.m. The Keith Lesnik Trio
Wed. 8 p.m. Joe Robinson
Fran's Pub
116 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.
Fri. 8 p.m. Full Grown Men
Sat. 8 p.m. Asylum Choir. $10 (cover charge)
All shows age 21+
Freddies Tavern
12 Railroad Avenue Ewing
(609) 882-0978
Fri. 8 p.m. Rich Scanella Group
Sat. 8 p.m. Off The Record
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Joe Vadala
Grover's Mill Coffee House
Princeton-Hightstown Road Princeton Junction
(609) 716-8771
Thurs. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Anker
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA. 
(215) 862-9897
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. "An Evening With Tim Reynolds and TR3" Doors at 6 p.m., $40 (advance)
Fri. (8 p.m.) The Relatives (11:55 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sun. (2 p.m.) Midnight Sun Orchestra (6:30 p.m.) JB Kline "Rockin' Blues Band"
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Wed. 8 p.m. "Local Original Music Series" Hosted by Pat Foran 
Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn
15 East Broad Street Hopewell
(609) 466-9889
Fri. 8 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. (6 p.m.) James Popik & Friends (6:30 p.m.) "Sangria Making." Ages 21+, $26.95
Fri. 6 p.m. Hopewell Valley Vineyards Jazz Ensemble
Sat. 6 p.m. Deb & Mike
Sun. (2 p.m.)"Jazzy Sundays" feat. Hazelrigg Brothers (6:30 p.m.) "Vintners Dinner" w/ Sergio & Violetta
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
(732) 306-9111
Fri. 6 p.m. Gregg Parker
Sat.   2 p.m. Ed Wilson
Sun. 2 p.m. Rob Ballonoff
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Fri. 9 p.m. The AM Mafia
Sat. 9 p.m. Pap D'Lux
All shows 21+
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Mike Dialto's Standup Comedy Show" feat Chris Cerami, Dan Kalwhite, Chris Dolan, Sean Lynch
Fri. 9 p.m. Eric Sommer
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic.
Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
Killarney's Publick House
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
(609) 586-1166
Thurs. 5 p.m. Radio Fiction Duo
Sat. 9 p.m. DJ Jimmy G
Laurita Winery
85 Archertown Road New Egypt
(609) 752-0200
Thurs. 7 p.m. "Laurita Idol" Senior Idol Finals
Fri. 7 p.m. "Awesome 80's Dance Party"
Sat. 1 p.m. First Call
Sun. 1 p.m. Roundabout Trio
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Girls Night Out"
Levitt Amp Trenton Summer Concert Series
Mill Hill Park (Corner of Front & South Broad Streets)
Thurs. 5 p.m. Derrick Hodge
Mamma Rosa's 
572 Klockner Road Hamilton 
(609) 588-5454
Thurs. 6 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Richard Schneider 
McGuinn's Place
1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence
(609) 392-0599
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Ages 21+
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
(215) 949-9570
Thurs. 10:30 p.m."Beer Pong" w/ DJ RV & MC Slim
Fri. 10 p.m. "Frisky Fridays" feat. DJ Favs. Ages 21+
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Tues. 10 p.m. "Local Artist" Hip Hop, Experimental EDM and Bass Music Showcase 
New Hope Winery
6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA
(215) 794-2331
Check web site for upcoming events
Nook's PourHouse
2043 Route 130 South Florence
(609) 447-0927
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia Tuesday w/ Quizoholics
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Road Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21 +
PANJ Radio
Bridge Street Lambertville
(609) 460-4673
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Diane Illario
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. Polish Nannies
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Blue Jay Slam & The Tone Blasters
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Check web site for upcoming events
Salt Creek Grille
1 Rockingham Row Princeton
(609) 419-4200
Fri. 8 p.m. Party Of 3
Sat. 8 p.m. (TBA)
Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon Street Princeton 
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Dan Kassel
1867 Sanctuary 
101 Scotch Road Ewing
(609) 392-6409
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Notes From Nonah" w/ Wenonah Brooks. $20
Fri. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Sun. 4 p.m. "Sing A Song Of Freedom" Patriotic Sing-a-Long w/ post performance picnic (all encouraged to bring picnic  food, chairs and $1). Free Admission
Tara's Tavern 
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Fri. 10 p.m. The Drunk Monkeys
Sat. 10 p.m. Bent Mushroom
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main Street Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. Suspended Justice
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night 
Temperance House 
5 South State Street Newtown, PA
(215) 944-8050
Thurs. 7 p.m. Open Mic Blues Session w/ Steve Guyger
Fri. 7 p.m. The Triplets
Wed. 7 p.m. Live Jazz w/ John Sheridan
Terhune Orchards
330 Cold Soil Road Princeton
(609) 924-2310
Fri. 5 p.m. "Sips and Sounds Summer Music Series" w/ James Popik
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
(609) 291-9110
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. Unleashed
The Dubliner
34 North Main Street New Hope, PA
(215) 693-1816
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Pretty In Paint" 
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street Bordentown
(609) 291-7020
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Wed. 8 p.m. (TBA)
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Rockin' Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Jon Gosselin
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Pines Tavern
6217 North Radcliffe Street Bristol, PA
(215) 788-1659
 Sat. 9 p.m. Pop Fiction
Sun. 3 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Bill Monach Jr.
The Raven 
385 West Bridge Street New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2081
Thurs. 5 p.m. Russell Eiffert. 
Sat. (9 p.m.) Michael Ferrie (10 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Tues. 8 p.m. Burlesque
Wed. 6 p.m. Dena Underwood
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Check web site for upcoming events
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050 
Fri. 7 p.m. John & Maggs
Sat. 9 p.m. Bob Solo
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday" w/ DJ Chillio
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke
The Sun National Bank Center 
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
Tir Na Nog 
1324 Hamilton Avenue Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Sat. 9 p.m. Billy Walsh
Sun. 3 p.m. "Irish Sessions" w/ McDermott's Handy 
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine Street Trenton
(609) 392-6000
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic. 
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Audio History of Funk and Soul" w/ Professor DJ Tangency
Mon. 9 p.m. Monday Night Karaoke w/ Benny P
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Benny
Wed. 6 p.m. Dick Gratton
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Fri. 10 p.m. Levee Drivers. $5 (cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. Satellite Hearts. $5(cover charge
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage Night (Sign ups at 6:30 p.m.)
All shows 21+ 
Triumph Brewing Company (Princeton, NJ Location)
138 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 924-7855
Fri. 10 p.m. Jazz Burglars
Sat. 10 p.m. The Wood Vibrations
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Road Pennington
(609) 773-2392
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock
Mon. 9 p.m. "Moonshine Mondays" Trivia
Tues. 9 p.m. Ed Wilson
Ages 21+

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.

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