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Pat Torpey

Background information
Birth name Pat Torpey
Born December 13, 1959 (1959-12-13) (age 50)
Origin Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Genres Hard rock
Heavy metal
Occupations Drummer, Songwriter, Singer
Instruments Drums, Bass, Vocals
Years active 1983–present
Associated acts Mr. Big, Richie Kotzen (solo), David Lee Roth Band, The Knack, The Exile Social Club

Pat Torpey is well known as the drummer of the hard rock band Mr. Big. Torpey has conducted numerous clinics all over the world for Tama Drums. As a versatile and creative musician, he has also played for The Knack, David Lee Roth Band and the Exile Social Club. He is well-noted for composing unique rhythms such as that of "Take Cover", a rock song from Mr. Big.


Early years

Pat Torpey was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 13, 1959. At age 7, he found the first seeds of inspiration to play drums. He tells the story: "I was at a family and friends picnic and there was a polka band. I was sitting on a railing behind the drummer and was fascinated at what I saw and heard. I went home and fashioned my own 'signature' drum sticks out of a fallen tree branch from our front yard".

In high school, Pat immersed himself in all the available music programs, concert, orchestra, marching and stage bands. About his teenage years, he says: "I wanted to play everything percussion and I convinced my mother to buy me a used drum-kit for my thirteenth birthday.” Pat’s family moved to Phoenix, where he then began honing his skills in local bands. Everything from rock, to Funk, to jazz, to pop helped him gain confidence and versatility.

Beginnings of his career

1983, Torpey moved to Los Angeles. He recounts the beginning of his career: "I'm a pretty good softball player and joined an entertainment league and through that I was able to make some new friends and network my way into a couple of gigs. I became a regular on the American Bandstand and Solid Gold TV shows performing with Benny King, Mike and the Mechanics, Melissa Manchester, Bob Geldof, and a few I can't even remember."

1985, Torpey auditioned for the British pop–rock singer John Parr, who was riding high on his #1 hit "St. Elmo's Fire" and had landed the opening slot for Tina Turner on her Private Dancer Tour. When that tour ended he became the drummer for Belinda Carlisle on her first solo tour opening for Robert Palmer.

Pat narrates further, “1987, I was doing a television show with Roger Daltrey and Bobby Columby from Blood, Sweat and Tears approached me and asked me if I was available to do some studio work. Columby was producing a couple tracks for The Knack and their original drummer had just left the band. I loved their music and what great fun for a drummer. They asked me to join the band."

Mr. Big

Playing around Los Angeles with The Knack was the pathway to Mr. Big. Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert were starting a new band and were on the hunt for a drummer. They saw Pat playing with The Knack and were impressed with his energy and style. "I loved playing with The Knack but when Billy approached me I jumped at the chance."

Mr. Big secured a recording contract with Atlantic Records but before the band started work on the first CD Torpey was tapped to play drums with Robert Plant on his Now and Zen tour. "Led Zeppelin was such a huge influence and the guys in Mr.Big knew what a fantastic opportunity it was and they gave me their blessing. "Communication Breakdown' every night, what a rush!!!"

In 1992, Mr. Big's international hit song "To Be With You" was no.1 in the U.S. and fifteen other countries and top five in many more. For fourteen years Mr. Big toured the world, headlining as well as opening for Aerosmith, Rush, Brian Adams and The Scorpions to name a few, garnering a reputation for their world class musicianship and totally 'live' performances.

Solo albums

Because of Mr. Big’s popularity in Japan and Asia, Pat released two solo albums overseas, Odd Man Out and Y2K in 1998 and 1999. Pat also has two instructional videos overseas, “Big Drums” with Billy Sheehan and Rock Groove Drumming. Both provide insight into his original and creative drum parts.


Pat uses Tama drums, Zildjian cymbals, and Promark Sticks. During his time with Mr. Big, he used Tama Artstar drums and can be seen in almost all the photos and videos of his drums. More recently, he has been using Tama Starclassic drums as the Artstar series has been discontinued.

Other projects

Lately, Torpey has been involved in a myriad of studio projects, live performances at clinics for Tama drums in Japan, Russia, China, Indonesia, Philippines and many other parts of the world.

In 2004, he toured with Richie Kotzen as drummer for his UK club tour; he also played with Billy Sheehan in Johnny Hiland's first self-titled album, Johnny Hiland.

Torpey also played for Chris Impellitteri. Moreover, he is close personal friends with Matt Sorum.

In the end of 2006, Pat joined "The Exile Social Club", a particular kind of band that relives old Rock'n'Roll hits. This band is formed also by Chuck Wright, from Quiet Riot, Jason Hook and David Victor.

Reunion of Mr. Big

In January 2009, Pat Torpey reunites with his old Mr. Big band-mates Eric Martin, Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan for a reunion tour in Japan and possibly the world.


Solo albums / Projects

  • Odd Man Out CD (1998)
  • Y2K CD (1999)
  • Big Drums Instructional Video (????)
  • Rock Groove Drumming Instructional Video (????)
  • Johnny Hiland CD (2004)

Mr. Big



  • Greatest Video Hits (1996)
  • Group Portrait (1993)
  • Live in San Francisco (1992)
  • Live and Kickin' (1992)
  • Lean Into It (1991)


  • Milan, Italy (2007)
  • Metro Manila, Philippines (2007)

External links



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