Tag Archives: Big Wreck

Thunder Bay Arena Rocks Top 10 Music Picks for 2019!

This year I thought I would post my Best of Lists a little early. When I think back to the last 12 months of music it was the year of massive reissues of bands like R.E.M/STP/Whitesnake with 2 Reissues!!/Sloan/Def Leppard/Skid Row and the list goes on and on.


Some bands and artists put out some new cool quality stuff so hopefully, you may check out some of these acts and artists to see what I dug in the year 2019. Feel free to post your picks in the comments below!

Here we GO!

1-Tom Keifer-RISE: Well looky, looky here. Is it 1989? No way folk’s it’s 2019 and who saw this coming? Tom Keifer shakes it and doesn’t break it as he delivers a solid blast of  CinderRock over 11 tracks that fuse all the old school elements of Cinderella while cementing a future in a really cool current sound that I hope the Keiferband will continue to follow. My favorite release this year, Congrats Tom! You have no idea who the Hell I am but I dig your album.

2-Big Wreck- …but for the sun: Guitar wizard Ian Thornley is back in a big way Folk’s as he cranked up the amps and cuts loose over the 12 tracks on this album.  Ian’s singing/guitaring and writing on this album is phenomenal as well as the two other fellas who helped him out on this as well! Kudos to Dave MacMillian and Chuck Keepling. Locomotive is one unbelievable track!

3-Rival Sons- Feral Roots: Rival Sons basically took over crap rock radio in Thunder Bay with the single Do Your Worst and on this album, the band, and producer Dave Cobb stepped up and kicked down the walls on this opus. Big Loud Fuzz Guitar Rock! How about the drums on Back In The Woods!

4-Carl Dixon- Unbroken: You want a straight-ahead hard rock album with a throwback sound to the roaring ’80s with some fantastic catchy driven rock. Than Unbroken is for you! 11 songs in the Hard Rock AOR spectrum that are pure Gold! Carl’s the definition of Rock n Roll survivor!

5-Jared James Nichols-Black Magic: Jared showed up one night this past April here in Thunder Bay opening for John5 and sizzled mine and Tbone’s brains into mush! JJN is a must-see live as he nails that heavy blues power trio format to a T. This guy is that good live and Black Magic is a stellar album that features all the fine trimmings that Mr. Nichols possess. Watch for this dude in 2020!

6-Page 38-Burning The Midnight Oil: These 4 young fella’s hail from my hometown Thunder Bay and this 5 song EP kicks serious ass. Page 38 came across my radar when they opened for and kicked to the curb ‘Cranky’ Anvil back in May of this year. I quickly scooped up the EP from iTunes as you should do as well! Love the tune Mama June! Click the video below and support our local Boy’s.

‘At Mama Junes, back door liquor store
She got what you want, couldn’t ask for more
Knock three times, 20 under the door, forget what you know
At Mama Junes, back door liquor store ‘

7-Whitesnake- Flesh and Blood: An album I had zero interest in until Ladano and John Snow got into my noggin about how good it was. They were right. Coverdale wrote a batch of tunes with Reb Beach and together they slid out 14 good rock tracks especially Hey You (You Make Me Rock) Plus add the two reissues this year of Slide It In and Slip of the Tongue.  Cov has been one busy dude! All hail the old guy!

8-Sammy Hagar & The Circle- The Space Between: Speaking of an old guy. Crazy to think that Sammy is 71 and has been doing the Rock thing for 5 Decades! That’s longevity in the truest sense. Sammy  with his good pal Micheal Anthony along with Vic Johnson and a drummer whose last name is Bonham released a pretty decent rock record in 2019. Concept album none the less about Greed and Corruption. Trust Fund Baby is a great track and as well the production on this album is old school sounding. No Polish and that’s a good thing.

9-Motley Crue- The Dirt: Never been big on soundtracks but The Dirt soundtrack interested me for some reason or maybe I was bored that week it came out. Dunno but when Tricky Sixx and Tommy muster up some new songs with Bob Rock I’m onboard. 4 new songs 3 of which are originals are ok but the cover tune of Madonna? Ummm. Whatever, still though when you dump a bunch of tracks off the first two albums (Too Fast For Love and Shout At The Devil) the sucker in me will always bite!

10-Sean Kelly-Touch Me: All round Great Canadian Fella Sean Kelly when not playing guitar/singing/songwriting in a bunch of bands (Coney Hatch/Alan Frew/Lee Aaron to name but a few) reactivated his old band Crash Kelly and put out a doozie of a track titled Touch Me which is a Glam Rockers delight. Think Cheap Trick mashed up with The Sweet.  This is Ear Candy. I think we need a full album, Mr. Kelly!

Check back here in a couple of days for another Best OF list with a twist!

Wrecked Alive…..

Big Wreck/Nickleback/ Millennium Night Club/March 17th 1998

People are amazed at how I remember dates, set lists etc. Well truth be told I kept newspaper clippings and ticket stubs of shows that me and Tbone had checked out over the years but after DaBrun mentioned about doing a Big Wreck review it triggered in my OL noggin about the time me and Tbone caught Big Wreck and openers (wait for it) Nickleback at a local sleaze bar in Tbay!

I had no ticket stub of the date but advertised also between openers Nickleback the new Van Halen album 3 would be played in its entireity before Big Wreck! That’s how I remembered the date of this show is due to the same day release of Vh3! So of course there’s Nickleback pre Silver Side Up by about 3 years plugging who the hell knows what. To mine and Tbones ears they sounded like everyone else at the time so to be honest in the left ear out the right! But hey at the time they were just 4 long hairs from Alberta! Of course 2001 rolls around and well you know there deal…..

So VH 3 is played to the 200 plus packed out sleaze bar and except for me and Tbone no one really notices it being played! Me and Tbone were talking to our buddy Oinks as we seen him there and were chatting him up about VH 3. Come to think of it me and Tbone were like a couple of greasy ol used car salesmen trying to sell a inferior product(Vh3)  to a unsuspecting customer(Poor Oinks)! Me and Tbone were fooled,manipulated and were duped by Eddie and Alex Van Halen in regards to Vh3!

Live and Learn…..

Aaaah here’s Big Wreck climbing the Canadian charts with there debut album ((In Loving Memory Of ) and the Wreck boys slam out of the gates with Fallin Through The Cracks and of course with it being  there only release they played it all. That Song,Under a The Lighthouse,Oh My,The Oaf …and one thing became clear early on as these guys especially Ian Thornley(lead singer/guitarist) and Brian Doherty(guitarist) were changing up guitars after each tune it was like a guitar factory in action! The bass player (Dave Henning) played a 12 string bass for his part and with Forrest Williams slammimg the drums proving these boys had the chops!

The encore was pretty cool as when Big Wreck sauntered back up to the stage they said they were bringing up Nickleback to jam with them!

Thornley said to the crowd ‘ah man what are we gonna play?”Some drunk biker chick infront of me and Tbone hollered “Ozzy!” Typical shout out so I got in the mix and hollered  “Freebird!”…

At which point Thornley said into his mic “here’s a Skynyrd song!” Tbone basically sprayed his beer about 5 feet out of his mouth in all directions and we hollered like a couple of schoolboys at my guess….

WreckBack (the two bands jamming ) played Simple Man by Skynryd ..ahhh I was close with my guess, but close only counts in horseshoes and grenades!

Still it was a great laugh….

Big Wreck=Great Band!





Request Of Vinyl..Big Wreck/In Loving Memory Of

daBrun wants Big Wreck! Well Big Wreck it is……

So 1994 and i remember it well ,Tbone bought a Ibanez guitar and a Fender amp when we were playing in the Current River Band. We againest better judgement attempted to play Won’t Get Fooled Again by the Who! ( I had no business playing Entwhistles bass lines) Since we didn’t have a keyboard player  Tbone messed around with his guitar sound and came up with a real cool sounding part on his guitar where he could do that synth part on his guitar…what the hell does this have to do with Big Wreck you say well….

THE OAF- begins with lead guitar singer songwriter dude Ian Thornley doing that same guitar noodling in 1997 that Tbone was doing in 1994 hahaha….at the beginning of The Oaf for about 20 seconds! Every time I hear it it reminds me of Tbone,had hung low screwing around with different tones etc! Haha.. Ok enough of that, Big Wreck crashes out of the gate with this heavy kinda WHOish riff. This is a great track. You know by listening to this that Big Wreck (Thornley/ Brian Doherty-guitar/Dave Henning-Bass/Forrest Williams-drums) that these guys are talented musical cats! Word on the street was that these guys attended the Berklees Music College in Boston and hooked up! A great leadoff track and one that makes everyone especially in Canada take notice! Bonus points for the mandolin being played underneath the chorus!

THAT SONG- ahhh,my pal  DaBrun I think  this is his favourite song on this album and well why wouldn’t it be? DaBrun loves the line “it’s always been that way,a pocketbook Brando” That Song is great display of a melodic verse driven by drums and Thornleys cool rock voice and than when it hits pre chorus big time power chords (ala the sound of the day)big big crunchy guitars and than Thronley puts the tune in chill mode when he sings the line” So you crank that song,it may sound doom,so just leave the room” ahhh man this is a classic track that still holds up well today! DaBrun you crazy PocketBook Brando You!! The video posted is real good check out these guys playing with Thornley especially the other guitarist by the name of Pete Thorn who is a top dog rent a guitar hero for many a artist! Ian should roll with these guys man…there awesome! Ian tells Ya in the song to crank That Song …..so whadda waiting for??!

LOOK AT WHAT I FOUND-some real slippery slide guitar starts off track 3 and the verses are laid back with Thornley just relaxing vocally and the bass and drums crank this song into gear by the chorus! Keep your Ears below the ground, take a look around …Look What I Found  Ian sez….cool acoustic strumming…..just love how this song builds and builds and man some cool wah pedal…hurray for wah!

BLOWN WIDE OPEN- this is trippy great tune..Thornley doesn’t write sugary coated power ballads,he writes em with some ooooooomph! Blown Wide Open is a great tune and example of Oooooomph!  Blown Wide Open just rocks along but a simple rocks along ..you know the Guns still smoking …Blown Wide Open! These dudes like i said can play at any speed!

HOW WOULD YOU KNOW-almost Zep like(too my ears anyways) some real neat textures in the sonics. For young guys at the time the Wreck boys carry the torch high for 70s rock! But don’t get me wrong here folks! Big Wreck make it there own deal!

OH MY-cool use of drums and of course the guitars acoustic/electric and this song goes from chill to heavy max back to chill in milli seconds! Oh My is great and a different change of pace….

UNDER THE LIGHTHOUSE- this is a cool slowzee kinda of tune! Thornley and Doherty are cool at doing some guitar noodling in this track and it’s ok not to overkill everything in site with overplay! They add to this track! Real cool song…laid back, reminds me of summer this song does….and of course the use of the word  Lighthouse is a added plus!

FALL THROUGH THE CRACKS- Some loud kinda clanging noise starts off the song and than BAM…..guitars and rock volume at full throttle! This song is a real hard rock drivin song! No nonsense and the Wreck boys will Wreck you up real good if Ya double cross or piss Em off! Crank this one…..

WASTE-hey man some good ol mandolin and now boom all the instruments are onboard and is it me or is Thornley scorned here by someone I mean this whole record must have been therapeutic for him! (Shit if I had done a relationship record back in yesteryear it would have sounded like Pink Floyds The Wall mixed with Poisons Look What The Cat Dragged In.)This song builds up and takes off towards the middle of the track and just shifts gears….Big Wreck doesn’t play it safe and I like that as you don’t know what’s around the corner musically with them!

BY THE WAY- more acoustic and this is a throwback sonically to the 70s big time! Listen to the drums on this track! Cool groove by Forrest Williams. Well played……

BETWEEN YOU AND I- some deep down low dirty bass action leads the charge on this track as where headed towards the finish line! This one has tones of grunge riffing but Thornley has a deadly knack for writing catchy hooky melodic chorus’.

PRAYER-is a slow builder of a tracker and a real catchy and listen to this one on the headphones…tons of guitars some cool keys and power riffs all rolled nicely into this rock ditty! Shit man great material Thornley hosed out of failed  relationships!

OVEREMPHASIZING-how about a 7 minute end of the album jam out! This has elements of Soundgarden to me like from  there Superunknown album! This is epic and the all 4 Wreck guys are locked and loaded to kick out the  doors on this final track! Love the slide guitar during the chorus! Nice feedback to end the Wreckord!

IN CONCLUISON- Big Wreck stormed out of the gates with a keeper of a debut and man me and Tbone took notice! I mean great catchy hooks/ well written songs/cool throwback not over done  production(take a bow Matt Dematteo and Chris Wardmen along with the Wreck guys) These guys made us instant fanboys…..