Volume 95, Issue 11

Wednesday, September 19, 2001
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Big Wreck enjoys the greedy pleasures of fame

Q-Burns Abstract Magic: makin' DJs play Britney

Sarah Slean: a drunk, old woman

Welch's voice a Timeless entity

Big Wreck enjoys the greedy pleasures of fame

By Molly Duignan
Gazette Staff

Big Wreck bassist Dave Henning is on the phone, somewhere in the Maritimes, heading towards Ontario.

Returning to The Wave tonight after a two year absence, Big Wreck is ready to rock 'n roll with a new album and a bigger sound. Henning invites everyone to join him and the rest of the band (which includes Ian Thornley, Forrest Williams and Brian Doherty) for a great show.

"Come to our show and have a good time. Blow off some steam, relax, have a drink," he says. "I really like the smaller venues like The Wave. The last time we were there it was a lot of fun and we were treated really well, so it's great to be coming back. Why mess with a good thing?"

Big Wreck's second album, The Pleasure and the Greed, is an example of such a mantra. Instead of completely revolutionizing their sound, Big Wreck decided to expand upon it.

"The new album is more varied than the first. It's definitely more slick. We recorded the album in a different environment, in Burbank, California. The production was much shinier. A big fancy studio, big lights and all the bells and whistles," Henning says.

Such production luxuries have been long awaited. Although Henning says he hasn't experienced any drastic changes in the wake of Big Wreck's success, the financial benefits allow for a bigger and better show.

"Every now and then I have to look back and think of when a couple of us were sleeping in a van with barely enough money to share a bag of potato chips and now all of the sudden, we've got a bus and crew," Henning boasts.

What began with four guys at music school in Boston has since spread across the continent. "Only the drummer still lives [in Boston]. Everyone else is scattered in their own weird respective cities, so getting together can be a bit of a hassle," Henning admits.

Despite geographical separation, Big Wreck still maintain the focus and drive they had when they left school to go on the road.

"There were definitely goals in our mind in terms of making a living and that kind of stuff, but it was like, go for it and play the kind of music you want to play. Get out there, travel, fool around and play every night – they were pretty basic goals," Henning reflects.

This year, the focus has paid off.

Nominated for three MuchMusic Video awards, Big Wreck remains thankful for their success. "I don't feel pressure over awards. It's really cool to be nominated and acknowledged and it's nice people recognize us. For the most part, it's acknowledging the people who put in the work around us, which is great," Henning says.

Henning adds, despite any award nomination, his sights are still set on the music. Unfortunately, in light of the recent events in the United States, the MuchMusic Video awards were cancelled, so Henning and his bandmates won't know if they were victorious.

The modest stance Henning takes is reflective of his lifestyle, which he claims has yet to be affected by the fame involved in being with a high profile rock group.

"I'm not as up front or recognizable as [front man] Ian [Thornley] or [drummer] Forrest [Williams]. I don't have to wear a baseball hat or shades when I go out in public, so I'll sit down and have a beer with people," he says.

Though Henning claims fame hasn't taken too much of a personal toll, he admits it's hard at times to stay grounded.

"You have to go out and do your thing. It's tough. Girlfriends are pretty much out of the question. But I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for it all and I love it."

Big Wreck evolved from "students jamming for fun" to a band signed to major record label, Warner Music. Henning recognizes such an evolution requires compromise from everyone.

"If you're on a major label and you want to get heard, you have to make some compromises. Sometimes the label will ask things. Some things are outrageous, some things aren't. And begrudgingly, we'll make changes," he says.

"It's not selling out, I mean, I want to eat."

Big Wreck plays tonight at The Wave. Tickets are $13 and doors open @ 8 p.m..

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Copyright The Gazette 2001