Mr. Big broke up in 1996, and reformed in 1999 without Paul Gilbert. It wasn’t personal; he just wasn’t available. He was working with a revamped Racer X, and his solo albums were popular in Japan. In a stroke of genius, Mr. Big tapped a contemporary of Gilbert from his Shrapnel records days — Richie Kotzen. Kotzen, like Mr. Big, was popular, could shred, and could write commercial music. Kotzen has a distinct soul/blues vibe that he introduced to Mr. Big along with his own vocals.
The resultant Mr. Big album, Get Over It, was an amalgam of the two artists. Different, but still a good fit. Leadoff track “Electrified” is almost like a new band, based on the quality of the old. Kotzen, like Gilbert, can shred – check out “Hiding Place”. He just does it with more blues. He also sings co-lead vocals on “Static”, the only Kotzen solo writing credit. With him and Eric Martin in the same band, you get two of the most soulful hard rockers on Earth in one place at one time!
The song that, in past days, would have been the “bit hit” is a track called “Superfantastic”. This campfire rock track recalls the good old days, but the bluesy stuff is more interesting. Kotzen pours on the slide for “A Rose Alone”, which sounds like an old Shaw/Blades tune. “Try to Do Without It” is a delightful confection of soul and bluesy guitar.
Get Over It lacks in one way. Mr. Big albums are usually peppered with many unforgettable standout tracks throughout. Get Over It only has a handful of those, stacked near the beginning. It’s an enjoyable listen throughout, with no dull or skipable moments, but it’s missing those high points. The songs you remember for days after. Instead, Get Over It plays like cool bluesy (and sometimes funky) background CD.