R.I.P. Pat Torpey: Dec 13, 1953-Feb 7, 2018

Another big loss for the rock world.  Particularly the drummers.  This past Wednesday Pat Torpey, most notably from Mr. Big and David Lee Roth’s solo outing, moved on from this world to the next.

For the past few years the drummer has suffered from Parkinson’s.  In the final stages of his involvement in Mr. Big he was a writer and in-studio performer.  However as his Parkinson’s progressed he was unable to perform live shows with the band.  Bringing in hired gun drummer Matt Star.  Whom I’m presuming will take over the skins if Mr. Big chooses to continue.

Pat Torpey wasn’t a particularly famed celebrity.  Nor did he really want to be.  He was always more of a modern, professional musician than an actual rock star.  His technique is instantly recognizable.  And his production is also instantly recognizable.  When all other drummer were taking the gain back on their sound in the 90’s, Torpey countered with one of the phattest, fullest drum sounds of the decade without question.  That huge snare, that massive bass drum and toms.  He just sounded so good all the time.

Torpey was a true groove master.  But he was also so much more.  He was the third ingredient in an extremely potent combination of guitar, bass and drums.  A technical master in league with Peart and the like.  But he rarely showed off.  Torpey was about the song.  Now, there are moments where he rips it.  But only when it’s truly appropriate.  Something a lot of hard rock and metal drummers, including myself, have trouble with.  Not only that but he also had a knack for writing some pretty tricky grooves such as the drums on ‘Take Cover’.  One of the band’s best songs.  He just lays down this infectious groove to this melodic mid-tempo ballad.  Simply great song writing.  He was also a great singer, lending his voice to Mr. Big’s very strong back round vocals and harmonies.

This one hits home hard for me.  I’m a big fan of Pat.  His drumming is majorly influential to me.  Heavy groove is my absolute favorite style of drumming.  And Pat Torpey was a machine on that style.  On that simple note, rest in peace Pat Torpey.

Excellent syncopation.  With a phat ass groove!  Disclaimer:  Wrong album cover.

A King’s X cover.  Amazing!  With Pat Torpey on drums still.

Laying down the phat ass GROOVE!  Eight million tons of guitaritude!  Disclaimer:  Correct album cover.

But he could also shred that double peddle rhythm.  And just tear it up.


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