Mr. Big Drummer Pat Torpey Passes Away
Photo by Joel H. Garcia
On February 7, Mr. Big drummer and founding member Pat Torpey passed away at the age of 64 due to complications of Parkinson's Disease. The unfortunate news was revealed by bassist Billy Sheehan.
"I'm sorry to be the bearer of such sad news," he wrote. "Pat Torpey has been my closest friend in music for over thirty years. He passed away yesterday from complications as a result of Parkinson's disease. Pat was one of the finest human beings I've ever had the privilege of knowing, and the honor of working with. All of us in Mr Big had nothing but the highest respect and admiration for him. He is loved by anyone and everyone who ever met him. And surely one of the finest rock drummers the world has ever known. Please keep his sweet wife and wonderful son in your prayers. I Love You, Pat. You made the world a better place. We will miss you. We will never forget you. Rest In Peace, my brother."
Former Mr. Big guitarist Richie Kotzen has also reacted to Torpey's death. "So saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and former bandmate Pat Torpey. We spent years touring the world, making music, family holiday gatherings, and even remodeled a house together. Pat's sense of humor, wit, and smile lit up any room the moment he walked in. I am grateful and thankful to have had you as an incredibly important friend and influence in my life. You will be missed beyond words. With love and tears... Rest in peace, my friend."
Aside from Mr. Big, Torpey has also performed with John Parr, Belinda Carlisle, Robert Plant, Montrose, Richie Kotzen, The Knack, and has recorded with Impellitteri and Ted Nugent. He played drums for Mr Big's entire discography except for their latest release, "Defying Gravity," where drummer Matt Starr took over while Torpey acted as drum producer due to his battle with Parkinson's Disease. This is the final release of his long and illustrious career.
In a 2011 interview with Online Drummer, Torpey shared how he became a drummer. "I was about 7 or 8 years old, and my family used to go to this local picnic event with a live polka band. I was able to sit behind them and look down on the drummer, right on the top of him, and so from that vantage point I could see what he was doing, and I thought, 'Wow, that looks like fun!' That was my first memory of when I can remember wanting to play the drums. I went to my mother and said, 'I wanna play the drums,' and she gave me that look that parents give you, you know the 'Oh, yeah, sure you do… you're 7 years old.' So from there I kind of held on to that dream. I'd fashioned some drum sticks from a couple of sticks out of the yard. I carved them and drew my name on them with a magic marker, you know, the kind of thing an aspiring kid would do."
Torpey visited Manila for the last time with Mr. Big on October 12, 2017. Watch Pulp Live World's aftermovie of the show below to relive those memories.