Whiggin Out

November 22, 2005

Listen up! We told you about the realness of the Whigs in last year's NOW issue, and after some major label mish-mashing around for their debut album, the Athens-based band said, FUCK THE MAN I'M THE MAN and recorded the fucker themselves in the closed-for-the-summer SAE house at the University Of Georgia with their friend and ex-Bulldog place kicker Billy Bennet. We were expecting some breezy jams when the Whigs finally got an album together, but holy shit we didn't know the breeze was going to pick us up by our nostrils. This record's sneaky as shit! Medium-sized-town angst, whiteboy malaise and manifest destiny. If you have no idea what we're talking about, read the story we wrote the first time around (re-run in full after the jump) and get the album!


The Whigs Are Easy To Like

by Will Welch

In a town that probably has more bands per capita that any other in these United States, Athens, Georgia’s the Whigs have the dubious distinction of being Most Likely To Succeed. Given the nature of Athens, it’s likely that the distinction is the result of the local press’s need to fill pages with year-end lists rather than some kind of consensus born out of a smaller town’s sub- and self-conscious need to track who’s got what it takes to get the hell out of there. Athens isn’t self-hating, mostly because the University Of Georgia (where the Whigs go to school) provides yearly injections of fresh-faced, green optimism. So the band is Most Likely To Succeed, but whatever—nobody really feels stuck there anyway.

Crucially, the Whigs aren’t buying their own hype—they’re seeing how they can spend it by saying no to everything until the major labels come to them. Their music naturally falls out of them as fully-realized straightforward pop-rock, so no label grunt will ever have to tell them that a song needs a big hook. “We’re pretty easy to like,” says singer and guitar player Parker Gispert, who writes their easy-beat, lazy-summer, open-road type shit that even grandma won’t be offended by. Of course the interesting thing about the Whigs is that grandma might be offended if she noticed anything other than the nice chorus; the band’s rhythm section is red-hottt (and red-headed). Bass player Hank Sullivant is a converted guitar player with a quirky ear for where the bottom line lies and drummer Julian Dorio just fuckin attacks. Rule of thumb says busy drummers ruin simple songs, but Dorio makes them sing and clap.

Although when I typed in what I mistakenly thought would be the URL for the band’s website I found an empty holding page owned by one of the major record labels, the only big thing that the Whigs have officially signed onto so far are a string of bizarro gigs. There was a show with the who’s who of indie rock—Franz, the Killers and such—and a cruise to Mexico on something called the Rock Boat with, like, Sister Hazel or some shit? Then there was also the Jingle Ball hosted by Jessica Simpson. When I ask the Whigs if their set had the 12 year-old girls lining up for autographs, Dorio says, “No, but our buddy Billy Bennet came to the show and apparently he was signing autographs all night.” Bennet used to be the kicker for the Georgia Bulldogs football team. The Whigs are Most Likely To Succeed, but in Athens, superstars don’t play guitars.

Posted: November 22, 2005
Whiggin Out