Big Wreck is reaching back to a golden time in the band’s history via their current tour, marking the 20th anniversary of their landmark CD In Loving Memory Of.
The guys’ first three Top 10 singles sprung from that disc, and in honour of the anniversary, they are performing the album in its entirety. They slide into Red Deer Feb. 20th with a show at Bo’s.
Meanwhile, every evening is a terrific experience tapping into this particular pool of songs while also serving up plenty of the hits the band has garnered over the years as well. “It’s nice to see that so many people have a connection with the whole record – not just the singles, but the meat of the album,” explained frontman Ian Thornley from a tour stop in Philadelphia.
“It’s maybe a bit moodier; a bit more intricate than something you might throw on a festival set,” he added.
“It’s nice to be able to sink your teeth into that, and to see the audience react to it by singing along. That’s rewarding – also exhausting in its own way – but very, very rewarding.”
The tour has been a hectic one, and a particularly emotional one in a sense with so many memories popping via playing a bunch of the band’s classics. “We are paying a lot of attention to the detail of the stuff; we aren’t really playing loosey goosey – there’s a lot of detail and staying that focused – so many songs are kind of a high-wire act,” he noted, noting how the songs take him right back to other eras in the band’s storied history.
“There are these sort of snapshots – I’m remembering where different rooms were we were jamming in, and different cities, and different relationships. All of these different things that I have sort of forgotten about, or that have settled into the history.
“It shakes those things up! So it’s a really cool thing – kind of unexpected. It’s been a nice little trip.”
A couple of tunes from In Loving Memory of that are on the set list actually haven’t been played ‘live’ before, he added. One example is By the Way, which Thornley said might be his favourite cut from that album.
“We’ve never been able to perform it live (back then) because we didn’t have the gadgets before to be able to do it, but now we do,” he said. “That’s been a lot of fun – it’s a wonderful song to sing, and it’s lively and trippy. It has sort of a romantic feel to it. And it’s different every night – there’s that unpredictable aspect to it as the whole backbone of the song is that feedback from the guitar. Every room is different – you never know how that feedback will work – so that’s sort of a fun aspect.”
Rounding out the band are Chuck Keeping (drums), Dave McMillan (bass), Paulo Neta (guitar) and Brian Doherty (guitar). Formed in the early 1990s, the band’s many successes include lots of Top 10 rock radio singles, platinum sales status and multiple Juno Award nods.
Formed in the early 90s, all five original members met while attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
After the release of their sophomore record The Pleasure and the Greed, they disbanded shortly after.
In 2012, Big Wreck reunited after a hiatus with the release of Albatross, which debuted at number five on the Top 200 SoundScan chart in Canada and hit #25 on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers chart. Their 2014 follow-up Ghosts debuted at number five on the Canadian Albums Chart and number four on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers chart. Ghosts would be the band’s second Juno-nominated album for ‘Rock Album of the Year’ in 2015.
For Thornley, there’s just no life like it. And 20 years since the release of In Loving Memory Of have certainly flown by.
“It’s something that has just never gone away,” he explains of his enduring passion for music. “That thirst for more knowledge, to get better and to improve the writing – I still feel like I haven’t written my best song yet. There is still so much work to be done.”