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Big Wreck washes ashore

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Cathy Dobson

Big Wreck’s Brian Doherty says being on the road suits him just fine, but he’s looking forward to coming home.

Doherty, from Camlachie, and his bandmates will play the Rustic in Sarnia on Thursday Oct. 23 before heading south of the border for the rest of their tour.

Big Wreck released its fourth album in June and embarked on a cross-Canada trek to play to live audiences from Vancouver to Toronto.

“It’s going really well,” said Doherty. “We’re getting a great response. I think Ghosts has set a new bar for us and we’re gaining some new audience.”

Ghosts debuted at Number 5 on the Canadian Albums Chart selling 4,000 copies in its first week. The album also debuted at Number 4 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart in the U.S., outstripping any of the band’s previous albums.

Doherty is an original member of Big Wreck, which he formed with Ian Thornley in 1994. They disbanded in 2002 for about eight years. When they reunited, Big Wreck put out its Albatross album just before they played at the 2012 Bayfest in Sarnia.

That’s the last time the band was in Sarnia and Doherty said he will relish playing guitar in front of a home audience again.

Doherty is originally from New York and studied classical music, graduating from Boston’s Berklee School of Music.

He married a Canadian, moved to Camlachie in 2002, and still calls it home. During the years Big Wreck was apart Doherty played guitar with Death of 8, based out of Sarnia.

Working with Thornley and the other members of Big Wreck – Paulo Neta, Dave McMillan and Chuck Keeping – is proving very satisfying, Doherty said.

The band’s sound on Ghosts is being compared to early Police, Bono and U2, an assessment Doherty likes.

“I think it’s all in there,” he said. “That’s why I love being in this band. There are so many influences that come through. I hear Bono in some songs while others have something similar to Black Sabbath. There are a lot of different genres.”

There’s also a lot of guitar-based rock to highlight the band’s skills.

The tour has taken Big Wreck to bigger venues like London Music Hall, which seats a couple of thousand. But it’s also included a lot of theatres and bars like Rustic.

“The smaller venues are kinda neat,” said Doherty. “I’m looking forward to Sarnia and seeing everyone pumping their fists in my face.”


WHAT: “Big Wreck” Ghosts tour

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 23. Doors open 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Rustic, 505 Campbell St.  519-383-0006

TICKETS:  $35 + HST. Online at

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