Big’n was an IL-based quartet that was active from mid to late 90s and released records through such labels as Gasoline Boost (Germany) and Skin Graft (US). They were influenced equally by fellow Midwestern bands, such as Tar and Dazzling Killmen (with both of whom they shared the stage) as well as classic rock artists.According to their drummer Brian Wnukowski, they wanted to sound like “”loud and tight like a semi-well-oiled machine” since “well-oiled machines are too quiet.”
The band formed in 1990 with a line-up of Wnukowski, guitarist Todd Johnson, bassist Chris Johnson and William Atkins. After playing shows and rehearsing for a year, they were approached by Headstagger label, which eventually put out their debut self-titled single in the late 1990.
Their next single was 1991 “Hoss” on Ratfish label, followed by another single – “Tight One” on Spontaneous Combustion. Chris Johnson left the band by the time that they recorded a second single and was replaced by Mike Chartrand.
In 1992, during a show at Chicago’s Czar Bar they were approached by a representative of German label Gasoline Boost, who offered them to put out a full-length record on his label. The band recorded “Razorback” single and their debut album “Cutthroat” in 1993.
1995 saw a release of their second full-length – “Discipline Through Sound” – joint release between Gasoline Boost and Skin Graft. This year, they also appeared on a 4-way vinyl tribute to AC/DC, which also included Shellac, Brice-Glace and U.S. Maple.
In their review of “Discipline Through Sound”, All Music Guide gave the album 2 stars out of 5 and characterized it as “very repetitive” affair “with an abrasive tone suited to fans of loud, no-frills rock & roll.” They also pointed out that “If ever there was an album where you had to look at the lyric sheet to understand the vocalist, it’s this one. Every word out of lead singer Akins’ mouth is indecipherable. When you listen to him, you feel hoarse because you realize that if you placed a block of cheese in front of your speakers, his voice would have shredded it to pieces by the time the last notes rang out of your stereo.”
By 1997, the band called it quits, even though they also planned a European tour this year. Prior to their demise, they recorded a split with Baltimore trio Oxes, which eventually came out on Box Factory label in 1998. After Big’n demise, the only Wnukowski stayed in music business and he played with such bands as Neutrino, Check Engine, Runner and Emperor Penguin, the latter of which was an electronic band that put out few records on New Jersey label My Pal God. Currently he plays with Haymarket Riot, a band which also includes former members of Gauge, Orwell, Hubcap, Sky Corvair, Dempsey and Traitors.
Brian Wnukowski (Emperor Penguin, Haymarket Riot)
Godawful 7″ (Headstagger, 1992)
Hoss 7″ (Ratfish, 1992)
Big’n / Pencil Split 7″ (Spontaneous Combustion, 1993)
Musket 7″ (Spontaneous Combustion, 1993)
Razorback 7″ (Gasoline Boost, 1993)
Cutthroat LP (Gasoline Boost, 1994)
Sides 1-4 7″ (Skin Graft / Gasoline Boost, 1995)
Discipline Through Sound LP / CD (Skin Graft / Gasoline Boost, 1996)
Big’n/Oxes Split CD (Box Factory, 1998)
“Links Or Patties” on Raisins And Vomit (Ratfish, 1993)
“Dirt Farmer” on Fuck Loud Music (Ox Fanzine, 1994)
“Cuss” on Ground Rule Double (Divot + ActionBoy0, 1995)
Chinese Jet Pilot