"There's always a little bit of pressure when we play in Los Angeles since it's our home base, but I think we pulled it off that night," says Billy Sheehan. The Mr. Big bassist is on the phone with Noisecreep talking about their April 2nd show at the House of Blues in Hollywood. It was their first show on American soil in 15 years. "It was completely sold out and the energy the crowd gave off was incredible. It was the first show of our tour and sometimes you expect things to go wrong, but outside of a bass drum pedal breaking, we did OK," says a laughing Sheehan.

Mr. Big is out promoting their seventh studio album, 'What If...' It's their first record since 1996 featuring their original lineup of Sheehan, Paul Gilbert [guitars], Pat Torpey [drums], and Eric Martin [vocals]. "After that Los Angeles show, we headed to Japan and it was a breeze. Logistically speaking, it was kind of tough to get around, but we made it work. I think we were one of the only bands that didn't cancel our shows there after the tragedy happened. Our fans were really appreciative of that and we got a lot of great emails and feedback from them. We even got a letter from the Japanese consulate in Washington thanking us for helping to raise the spirits there. I'm also proud that we were able to raise over $100,000 for the earthquake relief efforts."

While many bands claim to be big in Japan, few can actually sellout arenas from one end of the country to the other. Mr. Big are rock royalty in the land of the rising sun. "The Japanese fans have always been so great to us and we felt like we owed it to them to do anything we could to help. During the shows we played there, we included a moment in the set where we brought things down a bit and played some more inspirational type of songs.

"We wrote a song called 'The World is on the Way' that was for the earthquake relief and played that. Another song we played during that set was 'Carry On' from Crosby, Stills & Nash. I explained to the crowd that when that song was written in the '60s, America was going through a lot of social turmoil, but we knew that we would get through it. There wasn't a dry eye in the house," says Sheehan.

Watch 'All the Way Up' from Mr. Big


Sheehan and his Mr. Big cohorts will be launching a full scale tour of the US this weekend. "After Japan we headed to China, Korea, Philippines, Europe, and then South America. Everything went great on those trips. But we're glad to be back in the States and play these cities that we haven't been back to in years."

MR. BIG on tour:

JULY

30 San Diego, CA 4th & B

31 Agoura Hills, CA The Canyon Club

AUGUST

2 Tempe, AZ Marquee Theatre

4 Santa Ana, CA Galaxy Theatre

5 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore

6 Modesto, CA Xclamation Festival

8 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex

9 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall

12 Chicago, IL House Of Blues

13 Columbus, OH Al Rosa Villa

16 Pittsburgh, PA Trib Total Media Amphitheater

17 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues

19 Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom

20 Detroit, MI Harpo's

23 New York, NY BB King's

24 Foxborough, MA Showcase Live

26 N. Myrtle Beach, SC House Of Blues

27 Lake Buena Vista, FL House Of Blues

30 Houston, TX House Of Blues

31 Dallas, TX House Of Blues

For more information please visit: www.mrbigsite.com