The rebirth of Big Wreck

After rising to become one of Canada’s favourite guitar-driven bands in the late 90’s, Big Wreck imploded in a big way after the release of their second record The Pleasure and The Greed. Although Big Wreck vocalist-guitarist Ian Thornley went on to see success with his post-Wreck project Thornley, the lure and legacy of Big Wreck was too big to ignore.

Luckily for us, Big Wreck have returned with their highly anticipated third full-length album Albatross. Produced by Thornley, alongside executive producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush) and Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats), Albatross was released to much deserved acclaim on March 6 through Anthem/Warner Music in Canada.

The MusicNerd Chronicles recently had the opportunity to chat with Ian Thornely about the Big Wreck of the past and the Big Wreck of the present day:

Was there a lot of bitterness when the band originally went your separate ways?  

Thornley: There was probably some underlying bitterness, yes although there wasn’t any bitterness we split. The vibe in the band was pretty bad before everything imploded; there were bad vibes going every which way. I think what happened was that a lot of people started being influenced from people outside of the band and that really took us away from what started the band. There is certainly some sadness attached due to the friendships and amount of time we spent together. That being said, it has been really exciting to start new again. 

How is it performing with [Big Wreck guitarist] Brian again after all these years?  

Thornley: It has been absolutely fantastic. Big Wreck started with us being room mates that were bouncing guitar ideas off one another. It was tough not to be playing in a band with him for a while. One of the ways that Brian and I ended up reconnecting was when he filled in on guitar for some Thornley shows. When we were on stage together for those shows, I looked over and saw him and it was like nothing had changed. 

Where the tracks on The Pleasure and The Greed tended to be rather sprawling, the songs on Albatross seem to be very focused. Is this a direct result of where the band is at these days?  

Thornley: Looking back on it, I think The Pleasure and The Greed really suffered from being given an inch and taking a mile, at least for myself. It was also us bucking against the system too, though. The label wanted a hit and I wanted to do what I wanted to do. Listening to it now, I don’t feel as though all of the ideas on The Pleasure and The Greed were really and truly flushed out as much as they should have been.

With Albatross, I am hearing the songs do what the songs want to do. All we could really do was to step out of the way. I can hear a lot of joy and freedom in these new songs. I’ve been living with this record for the past year now and any time I listen to it, I still get goose bumps. There’s no bullshit in these songs and a big part of that is having the right team around you who encourage you to go make the record you want to make and not worry about the business side of things in the creative process.

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10 Responses to "The rebirth of Big Wreck"

  1. Big Wreck,,is my all time favorite,this album is awesome….i cant even explain how it feels to get to hear Big Wreck again….i saw all the shows they did in ohio…….the only part that sucks is….why he wont come to The U.S. and tour…..if i could come to canada i would…..cleveland is right there…come on to Ohio, Ian please….we need this show..

  2. i have at least 25 people who would go……i would have top rent a bus for it…lol…both old and new peabodys show rocked!!

  3. I saw the show in Tallahassee, April 1998. I’m still awed from some of the guitar and bass techniques on display that night. I also became that guy who told the band he loved “track 6”.

    Facepalms aside, I’m extremely happy to have a new BW disc to enjoy! Now if only I can convince the guys to play at Bonnaroo…

  4. BTW, the way I see it, they’re on RUSH’s (all caps) Anthem label now and Cleveland radio was responsible for getting them airplay in the US. All the more reason for a Cleveland show.

  5. cuz we ohians know a real good rock band when we see one…nice james…wish i woulda known ya…lol…killer shows….i talked with ian and brian at both too……they need to come here…its killin me…..why dont people get Big Wreck here in the states,,,,i know cuz they would rather hear the 18 song classic rock list we here everyday …all day long,,,not that there is anything wrong with classic rock,,,but typical radio here is this is led zepplin followed by led zepplin ,,get my point,no one wants to move on with music in ohio anyway..lo lim done with that,,,have a nice day!

  6. Albatross is a fantastic record.. Start to finish. It has become one of my desert island disks. Great Job boys and welcome back.

  7. Glad to see them making music together again. I saw Big Wreck in 1997 at St. Andrews Hall here in Detroit opening for Dream Theater. I was there for Dream Theater and was completely blown away by this band. What a great surprise as an opening act. I have been an EXTREMELY loyal fan since then. I live in the Port Huron area so whenever they come to Sarnia, Ontario I am there. I have seen Big Wreck 3 times and Thornley twice. Their songwriting is so fresh sounding and always breaking down new barriers. Not too many artists out there anymore that can do what these guys do. Keep it up guys. There are people listening.

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