Big Wreck

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Big Wreck
OriginBoston, Massachusetts, United States
Years active1994–2002, 2010-present
LabelsAnthem, Atlantic
Associated actsThornley
Past members
  • Dave Henning
  • Forrest Williams
  • Brad Park
  • Paulo Neta
  • Brian Doherty

Big Wreck is a Canadian-American rock band formed by Ian Thornley in Boston, Massachusetts in 1994. They disbanded in 2002 and Ian Thornley pursued a solo career with his own band Thornley. In 2010, Ian Thornley and Brian Doherty reunited for a cross-Canada tour, playing both Big Wreck and Thornley songs.[1] In 2012, under the name Big Wreck, the band released their third studio album, Albatross. The band has since released the albums Ghosts in 2014, Grace Street in 2017, and ...But For the Sun in 2019.


Formation, In Loving Memory Of...[edit]

Big Wreck was formed in Boston, Massachusetts by lead vocalist Ian Thornley, guitarist Brian Doherty, bassist Dave Henning and drummer Forrest Williams while they were students at the Berklee College of Music.[2] The group began jamming in 1992 and officially formed the band in 1994. After a few years of gigging in the Boston area, the band signed to Atlantic Records and released their debut album In Loving Memory Of... in 1997. In the US, their single "The Oaf (My Luck Is Wasted)" reached the top ten on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart in early 1998.[3] Four months later, their follow-up single "That Song" reached the top 40 on that same chart.[3] The band found even bigger commercial success in Canada, scoring 4 top 40 hits on the Canadian Singles Chart. The band went on a 17-stop tour to publicize their releases.[4]

The Pleasure and the Greed, breakup, other projects[edit]

Big Wreck released their second album, The Pleasure and the Greed, in June 2001. Three singles were released, all of which failed to chart in the U.S.

In October of that year, the band played a special show at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Uzume Taiko Ensemble of drummers, guitarist Eric Johnson and The Tragically Hip's Paul Langlois and Robby Baker.[5]

The band broke up in 2002. Ian Thornley moved back to Toronto and formed the band Thornley. Brian Doherty moved to Camlachie, a small community near Sarnia, Ontario, where he taught guitar and prepared students for University or Conservatory entrance requirements.[citation needed] Doherty also went on to form the indie band Death of 8.[6]

Reunion, Albatross[edit]

In 2010, Doherty filled in as guitarist at a Thornley show, and that led to Doherty joining the band as a permanent member. A tour promoted as "An Evening with Thornley and Big Wreck" followed, and as a result of the tour's success, the band assumed the Big Wreck moniker, including the existing members of Thornley in the new Big Wreck.[2]

In November 2011, Big Wreck released their first song in ten years, "Albatross". The song was released as the lead single of their 2012 album of the same name. The song achieved chart success in both the US and Canada.

On February 5, 2012, Big Wreck performed at the Sound Academy in Toronto for Canada's Official Super Bowl XLVI party. They also completed two tours that year, touring Canada from British Columbia to Ontario from April to July, then accompanying Theory of a Deadman for their Jingle Bell Rock tour from November to December.

Ghosts and Grace Street[edit]

In 2014, the band released their fourth studio album, Ghosts. The album was released in Canada on June 10, 2014 and in the US in July. The album reached #5 on the Canadian Albums Chart and #4 on the US Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart. The album was nominated for "Rock Album of the Year" at the Juno Awards of 2015.

In November 2016, Big Wreck released a new single "One Good Piece Of Me" from their upcoming album, Grace Street.

On January 5, 2017, after the recording of the Grace Street album, but prior to its release, guitarist Paulo Neta departed from Big Wreck. Grace Street was released on February 3, 2017.

Ian Thornley wrote the following on Big Wreck's Facebook page:

Beloved Big Wreck fans, it’s with a heavy heart that we announce Paulo’s departure from the band. He has chosen to take a different path in his life and we stand behind his decision, and beside him for life. He is our brother and he will be missed greatly. There will always be room for him on any stage I play on. Ian & BW[7]

ILMO anniversary tour, Brian Doherty's death, But For the Sun[edit]

In 2018, Big Wreck embarked on a 35-date North American tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of In Loving Memory Of..., in which they performed every song from the album at each show.[8] The album was also reissued the same year featuring new artwork and two previously unreleased outtakes from the recording sessions, plus the album's first ever vinyl press.

On February 22, 2019, Big Wreck released a new single, "Locomotive", from their upcoming album, But For the Sun. Ian Thornley revealed the titles of several other upcoming songs from the album, including "Follow Me," "Give Us a Smile," and "Found My Place."[9] On May 10, 2019, the band released a follow-up single, entitled "Too Far Gone."

On June 5, 2019, Brian Doherty died of cancer.[10] The band has since continued to perform as a trio. On July 22, 2019, the band released a third single entitled "One More Chance," along with a release date and a tracklist of But For the Sun. The album was released on August 30, 2019.



  • Ian Thornley – lead vocals, lead guitar (1994–2002, 2010–present)
  • Dave McMillan – bass (2010–present)
  • Chuck Keeping – drums (2012–present)


  • Dave Henning – bass (1994–2002)
  • Forrest Williams – drums (1994–2002)
  • Brad Park – drums (2010–2012)
  • Paulo Neta – guitar (2010–2017)
  • Brian Doherty – rhythm guitar, banjo, mandolin (1994–2002, 2010–2019; his death)


  • In Loving Memory Of Tour (1997-1999)
  • The Pleasure And the Greed Tour (2001-2002)
  • An Evening With Ian Thornley and Big Wreck (2010)
  • Albatross Tour (2012-2013)
  • Ghosts Tour (2014)
  • Summer Tour 2016
  • Grace Street Tour (2017)
  • In Loving Memory Of...20th Anniversary Tour (2018)
  • Summer Tour 2018
  • But for the Sun Tour (2019)


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak positions Certifications
US Heatseekers
1997 In Loving Memory Of... 48 31 2× Platinum
2001 The Pleasure and the Greed 10 -
2012 Albatross 5 25
2014 Ghosts 5 4
2017 Grace Street 5 8
2019 ...but for the sun 27 5

Extended plays[edit]

  • Bag of Tricks (2013)


Year Title Chart positions Album




1997 "The Oaf (My Luck Is Wasted)" 21 3 24 9 In Loving Memory Of...
1998 "That Song" 31 7 32
"Blown Wide Open" 31 8
"Under the Lighthouse" (Canadian single only) 12
2001 "Inhale" × × The Pleasure and the Greed
"Ladylike" (Canadian single only) × ×
2002 "Knee Deep" (Canadian single only) × ×
2011 "Albatross" 71 2 1 31 Albatross
2012 "Wolves" 98 11 4
"A Million Days" 35 8
2014 "Ghosts" 3 8 Ghosts
"Come What May"[21][22]
"Hey Mama"
2016 "One Good Piece of Me" 4 6 Grace Street
"Digging In" 35
2017 "You Don't Even Know"
2019 "Locomotive" 6 But For the Sun
"Too Far Gone"
"One More Chance" 47
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.
"×" denotes periods where charts did not exist or were not archived.

Music videos[edit]

List of music videos, showing year released and director(s) name
Title Year Director(s)
"The Oaf (My Luck Is Wasted)" 1997 Unknown
"That Song" 1998
"Blown Wide Open"
"Inhale" 2001
"Knee Deep" 2002
"Albatross" 2011 Micha Dahan
"Wolves" 2012
"A Million Days"
"Ghosts" 2014 Brad Conrad & George Vale
"Come What May"
"Hey Mama" Tyler Tasson
"One Good Piece of Me" 2016 Nikki Ormerod
"You Don't Even Know" 2017 Unknown
"Too Far Gone" 2019 Mike Regis
"One More Chance"
"Locomotive" Ian Keteku

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b "Big Wreck Frontman Ian Thornley on Their Successful Comeback, How Close He Came to Rejoining Velvet Revolver".
  3. ^ a b "Big Wreck - Chart history - Billboard".
  4. ^ Bettsy Powell (January 16, 1999). There's no place like home. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. and 58. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ "Big Wreck's Strung Out - NOW Toronto's Magazine - Think Free".
  6. ^ "Canadian Indie Band: Death of 8".
  7. ^ Big Wreck announces departure of guitarist Paulo Neta. musiclifemagazine. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  8. ^ Big Wreck Take 'In Loving Memory Of' on 20th Anniversary Tour. Exclaim!. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  9. ^ Rebel 1017 - Darryl Spring Interviews Ian Thornley - 03.15.18, retrieved March 19, 2019
  10. ^ RIP Big Wreck guitarist Brian Doherty. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  11. ^ Peak positions for Big Wreck's albums in Canada:
  12. ^ "Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  13. ^ "Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  14. ^ "Gold/Platinum". Music Canada. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  15. ^ Peak positions for Big Wreck's singles on Canadian Singles Chart:
  16. ^ "Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  17. ^ Peak positions for Big Wreck's singles on Canadian Alternative rock Chart:
  18. ^ "Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  19. ^ "Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  20. ^ "Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  21. ^ "Future Releases on Alternative Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on October 4, 2009.
  22. ^ "Rock Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on October 10, 2009.

External links[edit]