German musical genius Tobias Sammet is bringing his metal opera supergroup Avantasia to Australia in may 2019 for two special shows. These once in a lifetime shows are not to be missed. We were lucky enough to chat with Eric Martin who is one of the many vocalist of Avantasia and also known for being the front man for Mr Big. Eric gives us more insight into the tour and shares how he originally met Tobias Sammet.  
 
SCENEzine
How have the European Avantasia shows been going? 
 
Eric Martin
It’s been amazing. The crowd was great last night, Tobias was on fire. He’s an incredible showman. We went out last night to the only pub that was open with the whole cast. The show itself is quite long but you don’t notice it with so many singers doing four of five songs each. For my part I come on, sing two songs then leave and come back on twenty minutes later. It’s like a revolving door of singers. It feels like ten concerts in one, the crowd are loving it. It’s an epic rock n roll show.
 
SCENEzine
Had you known Tobias for very long before you joining came about?
 
Eric Martin
No actually I didn’t. I’ve been touring with him for about three and a half years in between Mr big and other projects and playing taxi dad for my sons. I met him about five years ago I was in Budapest on the tour bus after the show. I get this knock on the door and I thought it was a fan since he looks like a little kid. He hands me this box set of the flying opera album and I said I’m sorry kid I don’t have a pen. I thought he wanted me to sign it (laughs). He was telling me about the concept and at the time I didn’t know much about heavy metal. I grew up listening to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden but I’m not in that circle. He was telling me about his life in EdGuy and I was really intrigued by it. He was a charming young fellow, when I went back home I put the live version of “Twisted Mind” on and I couldn’t believe how big the crowds were it blew my mind. I’d never even heard of them and about two years later I was playing Wacken singing that same song.
 
SCENEzine
I love the cover of “Maniac”. How did the idea to cover that song come about?
 
Eric Martin
First of all I have no idea. When Tobias first told me about it I said that’s like putting “hell bent for leather” on a Pet Shop Boys record. He explains it every night saying why do we do it, because we can. He’s a mad genius I’m not going to second guess this kid, he’s always got cards up his sleeve. When we play it live it’s kind of like the intermission between all of the heaven and hell and fantasy world. His other worlds that he talks about. So when I come out and sing it the crowd giggles a little bit but some of them don’t even know it. A couple of times I’ve said hey Tobias what a great song you wrote (laughs). Right when it hits the chorus of that song guys with beards and Viking helmets will cheer. “Maniac” is a lot of fun to do.  
 
 
SCENEzine
It must be cool for you to get to come back to Australia so soon after touring here recently with Mr Big?
 
Eric Martin
Yeah I was there in June of last year I loved it. When I played with Mr Big we did five shows. About ten years ago or maybe longer I was also in Australia doing a solo thing. So on this tour I’m the guy who gets to tell all these young German, Norwegian, British, and Swedish folks that Australia is such a fantastic place. A lot of them haven’t been there before ever. They’ve been asking me is it true Australian’s are convicts (laughs).
 
SCENEzine
The tour has got a great bunch of singers like Geoff Tate, Jorn Lande and Ronnie Atkins. Is there one in particular you’ve really bonded with?
 
Eric Martin
Ronnie Atkins for sure, he actually got me in trouble last night. He’s kind of like my toxic twin. Ronnie is a good guy I love hanging out with him, he’s really funny but also an amazing singer. I identify with him a little more than the other singers. Ronnie comes from a soulful background like me. I’m a huge Pretty Maids fan as well.
 
SCENEzine
Do you ever wander into bars while on tour and hear Mr Big’s song “to be with you”?
 
Eric Martin
That stuff happens all the time. It happened the night before last. We went to the same pub and me and the guitarist Sascha went out to grab a quick Guinness before hitting the sack. The lady there said I’m sorry it’s the last call you guys are going to have to come back tomorrow. Then Sascha out of the blue goes he’s in Mr Big. She goes you mean the “to be with you” band and I’m like yeah. Then she said ok and starts pouring the Guinness. I had to sing a bit of it too but I got a free Guinness (laughs). That kind of stuff happens all of the time and I love it. “To be with you” is the gift that keeps on giving.
 
 
SCENEzine
Was your original version of “to be with you” similar to what ended up being recorded?
 
Eric Martin
My version of it was kind of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and it had a little bit of Beatles overtone. I wrote it when I was about sixteen. When I got a publishing deal I met David who was playing Paul McCartney in a musical called Beatlemania in Los Angeles. We wrote a couple of songs together and he asked me what else I had so I said I had this song that’s kind of Beatles and kind of folky called “to be with you”. He said let’s take a look at it and we both wrote the second verse together. He also added the clap part that made it more Beatles and not so folky. But I had the majority of it when I was a kid. I used to charm my sisters girlfriends with that song (laughs). It used to get girls and now it gets beers and it’s captured the hearts of millions.
 
SCENEzine
Do many people pick up on the fact that you are the voice behind the Power Rangers theme song?
 
Eric Martin
No that hasn’t been brought up in a long time. A couple of years after that song came out my two sons didn’t even like Mr Big but they liked Power Rangers. They used to sing Power Rangers song while jumping on their beds. Now that you’ve mentioned it I’m going to bring it up with Avantasia. One of the girls in the band is only twenty four so she probably doesn’t even know what a Power Ranger is.  
 
 
SCENEzine
Lastly do you have a message for Australia ahead of the Avantasia tour?
 
Eric Martin
Everybody go check out Tobias on youtube this kid has an amazing voice. He’s come up with this great brainchild called Avantasia. It’s a power metal band and he’s picked all the best musicians he could in Germany and found seven singers from all around the world. I used to be the only American but I’m coming out with Geoff Tate from the legendary band Queensryche. He’s my new partner in crime we get to sing a couple of songs together. It’s an epic rock opera. Australia we’re coming for you!
 
(interview by Christian Ross)  
 
Please follow and like us:
error

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.