Big Wreck go nocturnal for 'Pleasure'

PAUL CANTIN

, Last Updated: 2:53 PM ET

TORONTO -- The making of Big Wreck's new album "The Pleasure And The Greed" underlined an important lesson for frontman Ian Thornley: Rock 'n' roll is a nocturnal pursuit.

Initial sessions for the album -- the band's first in three-and-a-half years -- were conducted at producer Dave Jerden's studio in the Hollywood suburb of Burbank, with sessions running daily from noon to seven.

After the album was completed, though, Thornley organized some additional sessions with engineer John Whynot in Toronto. This time, the schedule ran from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m.

"Rock 'n' roll is a night-time profession," a bleary-eyed Thornley said over coffee during a recent morning interview.

"I think people feel more comfortable working around the evening. It's rock 'n' roll standard time. Up at the crack of noon!"

Of course, Big Wreck spent their lengthy between-album hiatus doing more than sleeping. After marathon touring in support of their 1997 album "In Loving Memory Of ...," the lion's share of Thornley's downtime was spent "fartin' around, basically, writing songs," including collaborations with The Watchmen's Danny Greaves and ex-Junkhouse guitarist Colin Cripps.

By the time the sessions for the new album rolled around, Big Wreck had 60 songs to choose from, whittling the list down to the album's 16-song running order. Twelve of those songs were recorded in Los Angeles with Jerden, while the balance were completed at the Toronto sessions.

"I write a lot. It is fun. It gives you something to do when you are not touring," Thornley explains.

"There is always a lot of material, and it tends to pull focus from the (record) company's standpoint. What kind of record do you want to make? Do you want to make a balls-to-the-wall rock record? Or do you want to make an art-rock record? Or do you want to make a ballad-kinda record? We kind of did all of that.

"That is why ("The Pleasure And The Greed") is so long (it clocks in at over 66 minutes). I didn't want any particular aspect of the band to be left out."

The new album includes some textures listeners might not associate with Big Wreck, including the rustic sounds of banjo and mandolin. What will be familiar is Thornley and company's ability to build songs around nasty, mile-high riffs.

"What's the secret to riffin'? I don't know," he chuckles.

"A lot of those songs come from that. They come from fooling around with a guitar, fooling around with a sound. Some of my favourite songs are meaningless, bonehead songs, but they have a kick-ass riff. It makes it fun." (More on Big Wreck)


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