The Police did it. So did The Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine and the Pixies. Pavement did it. Devo is doing it as well. Last year, even the J. Geils Bands did it without a single person asking them to. Every elder band with a pulse is reuniting to play sold-out summer shows. Make room on the bandwagon for Champaign-Urbana’s own rock band Shipwreck, who have been splitsville for almost two years. The quartet will be reforming for a one-off show on July 17 at Mike & Molly’s.
In talking with guitarist and frontman John Owen, who is back in town this summer before beginning law school on the West Coast, he implied the band is so excited about this opportunity they have yet to practice. In a comment that reveals the group may already be experiencing tension among its ranks, Owen says the members are torn between a pair of slogans for their new “tour” t-shirts: “Shipwreck: Who Cares?” or “Bigger, Badder, and Balder.”
The group, which self-released a pair of full-lengths during its four-year tenure, broke up in 2008 for a variety of reasons, most notably an apparent distance that had formed between fellow songwriter Harman Jordan and Owen, who had first moved to the East Coast and then to the West. You may recall that Jordan has been recently active in new band Dirty Feathers, which also includes Shipwreck bassist Vladimir Brilliant. Last month the Dirty Feathers debuted in a packed Mike & Molly’s beer garden. Owen was in attendance but could only grumble under his breath when asked for his impression of the new band.
Shipwreck’s 2007 release, Rabbit in the Kitchen With a New Dress On, was critically lauded by at least one local publicationas one of the past decade’s best albums. As word spread late last night of a possible reformation for Shipwreck, mega-fan Todd Hunter speculated that such praise might have been the catalyst that encouraged the band to consider reuniting. Jordan could not be reached for comment. Owen, when asked whether the local acclaim had anything to do with the band’s upcoming gig, only smiled wryly before quickly changing the subject to fame, fortune, and hair plugs.