Paul Gilbert

Hard rock and metal guitarist Paul Gilbert was born in Carbondale, Illinois on November 6, 1966. While he has released numerous solo albums, he is best known as co-founder of hard rock supergroup Mr. Big and as the guitarist for heavy metal band Racer X. Raised in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, he began learning the guitar at the age of six. By the time he was 15, he was already playing local clubs with his band Tau Zero and being spotlighted in an issue of Guitar Player magazine. Filled with confidence, he approached the founder of heavy metal label Shrapnel Records in the hopes of landing a gig with Ozzy Osbourne. Instead, Shrapnel Records was impressed enough to mentor him and encourage a cross-country move to Los Angeles, California. Paul Gilbert became known around town for his lightning-speed picking technique and eventually joined metal band Racer X in 1984. After touring with the band and appearing on the albums Street Lethal (1986) and Second Heat (1987), Paul Gilbert left the band in 1988 due to their lack of success. He then joined bassist Billy Sheehan, vocalist Eric Martin, and drummer Pat Torpey in co-founding hard rock band Mr. Big. The group’s 1989 self-titled debut was a success but the group’s sophomore album, Lean Into It (1991), was an international smash and landed in the Top 20 in the US, Australia, Japan, Sweden, and Australia. The single “To Be With You” hit Number 1 in the US, Japan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland. After Mr. Big split up in 1996, Paul Gilbert began a solo career with the release of the album King of Clubs (1998). While focusing mostly on his solo releases, he also reformed Racer X and recorded three more albums with them. In 2009, he reunited with the original members of Mr. Big and has balanced his solo career with performing or recording with both Racer X and Mr. Big. Paul Gilbert’s prolific solo career includes a series of acclaimed albums including Alligator Farm (2000), Space Ship One (2005), Fuzz Universe (20100, I Can Destroy (2016), Werewolves of Portland (2021), and The Dio Album (2023). Paul Gilbert has also collaborated with many artists including Gregg Bissonette, Todd Rundgren, Darrell Mansfield, Neil Morse, Bowling for Soup, Jason Becker, and Donnie Vie.

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