Great News: After being shuttered since 2019 — initially to undergo major renovations, with the closure extended by the Covid pandemic — legendary concert venue Irving Plaza is reopening later this summer, with its first concert of this decade scheduled for on August 17th. You can read more about the history of the club, and what to expect inside post-renovation, as well as see a line-up schedule, at This Link!
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!
Going to a live performance by the band GWAR is the most fun way I can think of to completely destroy whatever clothes you happen to be wearing at the time! David Lee Beowulf and I went to see them at either Irving Plaza or the Bowery Ballroom – who can even remember? — ages and ages ago and I think I wore an old pair of pajamas to the show. Fake Blood Spurting Everywhere! Metal! Fun!
GWAR super fan Jeff Cantrell has started a petition to get GWAR hired as the Halftime show entertainment at the 2015 Superbowl and you can sign it now and lend your support at This Link! The petition currently has over 46,000 signatures and he needs to reach 50,000 signatures before the petition can be submitted. I could not possibly give less of a shit about the Super Bowl, but I love GWAR! So what are you waiting for? Get clicking!
It’s fairly old news at this juncture that singer-slash-rock god, Chris Cornell left Audioslave a few months back to do the solo thing again. I can’t say that I’m terribly heartbroken about the move. Rage Against the Machine was always one of my least favorite angry pinko bands on the planet, and being as Audioslave was 3/4’s of Rage, they didn’t really know what to do with the more subtle textures of Chris’s voice anyway. Good riddance.
Chris has a new CD coming out in June and I’m trying to snag an advance copy of that as I type. But he played a show last night at NYC’s Irving Plaza and thanks to my friend Jason Sutter, who is also Chris’s new drummer, I was there. Thanks, Jason. You rule.
I knew I must be seriously starved for The Rock when I was able to get all wet and crazy over the opening song of the evening, “Spoon Man” — which, for me at least, is not one of Soundgarden’s best songs. From what I heard last night, Chris’s new disc sounds like it will be worth buying, but the jury is still out over whether it will even be able to touch his last solo album, Euphoria Morning, which is just insane.
I would like to now personally thank Chris and his band for doing “Outshined,” “Rusty Cage,” “Jesus Christ Pose,” and the shocker of the night, “Loud Love.” Wow. Chris Cornell is awesome.