I’ve got a story about the band Big Wreck – specifically involving lead vocalist/ guitarist Ian Thornley — and it goes all the way back to 1997. In those glory days, I was writing about Rock music exclusively and interviewing bands at a pretty steady clip. Big Wreck had signed to Atlantic Records and their debut, In Loving Memory Of… was creating a pretty respectable buzz (radio hits, etc), so I was assigned to Interview Ian for I don’t even remember which outlet. Since Big Wreck had a gig booked at NYC’s Irving Plaza, the interview was scheduled to take place at the venue during sound check the evening of the show. Pretty standard procedure.
Aside from the fact that Ian was a cool and candid guy who did a hilarious Eddie Vedder imitation (plus, I was a fan of the record), what makes this incident stand out in my memory from hundreds of other interviews is that it took place in the ladies restroom. This was pre-renovation Irving Plaza, so the place still had tons of character and the Ladies Room had a big, antique velvet sofa, so we had a nice, quiet and comfortable place to chat. Plus the acoustics were insane. Ah, Big Wreck. What a good Rock band.
Big Wreck has been through some changes in the 17 years since Ian and I hung out together in the bathroom. The group’s original lineup disbanded in 2002. Ian went on to have a very successful career in his native Toronto with his band Thornley, and in 2010 he and original Big Wreck guitarist Brian Doherty reformed the band, absorbing the members of Thornley into the new Big Wreck.
Big Wreck’s fourth album, Ghosts, was just released in the US on July 15th, 2024 (on Rounder Records) and the biggest compliment I can pay it is to say that Ghosts – represented here by this amazing performance of “Come What May” – proves that Big Wreck is still a force to be reckoned with, both in the studio and live. Obviously, Ian Thornley knows that he can let the music do all the talking. Enjoy!