SR. How would you describe the Avantasia Live shows?
EM. It’s an epic rock concert, with 3 hours full of power metal with 12 metal musicians from around the world. It’s just unreal because we have the likes of Geoff Tate from Queensryche, Felix (Bohnke) who drums for EdGuy, Sascha Paeth who has been in many bands like Kamelot and Rhapsody of fire, and of course Tobias (Sammet) from Edguy who is the mastermind behind this band, just to name some.
SR. Speaking about Tobias. How is to work with him?
EM. Tobias is lovely kid, i call him a kid despite he is a grown up, because I’ve so much appreciation for him. He is very quiet to be honest, but we talk a lot and I joke a lot with him, because you know I kind of the clown of rock and roll (laughs).
Tobias is like a mad genius, he is always working in other stuff, always coming with new ideas, he is super creative and a unique type of musician.
SR. You also have some female voices in the line-up.
EM. Yes we have the lovely Amanda Somerville who is absolutely fantastic, we have 2 girls and they will blow you all away with their voices.
It’s quite funny because both of them get their perfect and very spacious dressing room, while we all, like 13 guys we have to share one dressing room, so we are like sardines there (laughs).
SR. I’m quite surprise the venues for your shows here aren’t proper theatres. Do you rather big or smaller venues?
EM. I don’t mind. We actually got a call to play at House of Blues in New York, and when we got there we were like how on Earth we are gonna fit all the gear here, but we still did it and played in front like a small crowd of 900 people, and was pretty good and must say.
SR. You were not long ago here with MR. Big touring with Extreme. How was that experience?
EM. Pairing Mr, Big with Extreme was pure genius, dunno who organised that but what a great idea, it was perfect, because it felt like a power ballads galore.
It was a really good tour, fun times and was great hanging out with them after so many years, seriously I has been ages since we saw each other.
SR. Speaking about Mr. Big. How do you feel the band evolved from the self-titled album to Defying Gravity, and especially your voice?
EM. Well, my voice survived the test of time, which is good for (laughs). In Defying Gravity i gave it all, but while recording that album it made me regret all the times I screamed like crazy back in the 80’s, trying to be like the old school metal gods.
The important thing for us since the first album is to be truth to ourselves, to our style of music and to never forget our roots and respect our past and current members.
SR. Just to finish. Can you share with us any funny tour story?
EM. To be honest more than telling stories, I like to talk to fans and they tell me the funniest stories. I actually always try to go out after the shows to say hi.
However, I always remember the days before “To be with you” as every time I was either arriving or leaving the venue fans will be “Hi, can you please get Billy for us” because clearly they had no idea who I was (laughs). Then “to be with you” became a hit, and fans finally recognised me, but instead of calling me Eric they were “Oh! you are the Mr. Big Dude” (laughs).
SR. Any message for Australian fans ahead of the tour?
EM. Come over to see one of the biggest metal opera shows ever made, there is music, lights smoke and an all-start line-up ready to give it all for 3 hours! You won’t regret it.