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The Afghan Whigs

Evolving from a garage punk band in the vein of the Replacements, Dinosaur Jr., and Mudhoney to a literate, pretentious, soul-inflected post-punk quartet, the Afghan Whigs were one of the most critically acclaimed alternative bands of the early '90s. Although the band never broke into the mainstream, they developed a dedicated cult following, primarily because of lead singer/songwriter Greg Dulli's tortured, angst-ridden tales of broken relationships and self-loathing. The Afghan Whigs were one of the few alternative bands around in the late '90s to acknowledge R&B, attempting to create a fusion of soul and post-punk.

The Afghan Whigs were formed when the members -- vocalist/rhythm guitarist Greg Dulli, bassist John Curley, lead guitarist Rick McCollum, and drummer Steve Earle -- were attending the University of Cincinnati. Dulli, who was raised in Hamilton, Ohio was studying film at the university, where he met fellow students McCollum and Earle. Unlike the rest of the band, Curley didn't attend the University of Cincinnati. He arrived in the city to intern as a photographer at the Cincinnati Enquirer, which his father -- who published USA Today -- arranged for him; for the next few years, Curley continued to shoot pictures for the paper, quitting only when the band's schedule became too busy for him to work both jobs. Dulli happened to meet Curley when visiting a friend's apartment building. Eventually, the pair formed the Afghan Whigs in 1986, along with McCollum and Earle.

In 1988, the Afghan Whigs released their debut album, Big Top Halloween, on their independent record label, Ultrasuede. The album received good word-of-mouth in underground music publications and college radio. A copy of the record worked its way to the influential Seattle-based independent record label Sub Pop, and the label arranged for the Whigs to release a one-off single. The single led to a full-blown record contract with Sub Pop. Up in It, their first Sub Pop album, was released in 1990. For the next two years, the Afghan Whigs toured America consistently, occasionally heading over to Europe and England. In 1992, their third album, Congregation, was released to very positive reviews. After its release, the band was courted by a number of major labels. The band released one more record on Sub Pop, an EP of soul and R&B covers called Uptown Avondale, and signed to Elektra Records.

Gentlemen, the band's major-label debut, was released to considerable critical acclaim in the fall of 1993. "Debonair," the first single pulled from the album, received major play from MTV, and all of the reviews were positive. Nevertheless, the band wasn't able to ascend past cult status and all the critical praise even engendered a backlash, most notably in the form of an anti-Whigs fanzine called Fat Greg Dulli. In the summer of 1994, the band released the What Jail Is Like EP to coincide with their American tour. Upon the completion of their international tour in the fall of 1994, the band took an extended break. Steve Earle left the band in the spring of 1995; he was replaced by Paul Buchignani, just before the band entered the studio to record their fifth album. Black Love, their second album for Elektra, was released in the spring of 1996. Again, the album received positive reviews but the band failed to break out of their cult status. 1965, their first effort for new label Columbia, followed two years later. However, with the bandmembers living in different states, it would prove to be their last; in February of 2001, the band called it quits, citing geographical separation.

In 2006, the band reunited for a brief recording session for the release of the best-of compilation Unbreakable: A Retrospective 1990-2006, which featured two newly recorded tracks: "I'm a Soldier" and "Magazine." With the members going their separate ways once again, the future of the Whigs was once again put on hold until 2011. In a surprise announcement from British festival organizers All Tomorrow's Parties, it was revealed that the band would headline ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror festival at London's Alexandra Palace in May 2012. Kicking off a world tour that would span 2012 and 2013, the original lineup -- minus drummer Steve Earle -- returned with gusto. At the beginning of 2014 the group announced that they had recorded their first album in some 16 years and had returned to the label that had originally launched them, Sub Pop. Do to the Beast was slated for an April 2014 release, and featured a new lineup of the band. Greg Dulli and John Curley were the only original members to return for Do to the Beast, while their accompanists included guitarist Dave Rosser (the Twilight Singers, the Gutter Twins), multi-instrumentalist Mark McGuire (Emeralds), bassist Jon Skibic (Gigolo Aunts, the Twilight Singers), drummer Cully Symington (Okkervil River, Shearwater), and string player Rick G. Nelson (St. Vincent, Polyphonic Spree). A subsequent concert tour took the new Whigs to major venues in the United States and Europe, including a major spot at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Algiers (Single)

Comments

You're pretentious, the whigs are not
Love this song , great stuff !
epiphone76
1996..one of the best concerts ever. priceless


jkinney2311
Dulli is the s**t!! so under rated and the president of the broken and resilient!
Whigs are one the greatest and hopefully will give some new stuff
crispi03
love this song.....unt i l the fade-out.so many songs, once they really get rollin just fade....
Gentlemen and Black Love are two of the finest albums made by anyone...per i o d .
LOVE this band- Dulli can do no wrong- he should work with Josh Homme .Can you even imagine the awesomeness?
Gentleman was the album that got me hooked on the wigs. Great Band
brirags1
Saw them perform last month in Hollywood opening night and just as benja stated, a mind blowing orgasmic night of music.
jst went to tha 11/8 show in san francisco, mind blowingly orgasmic!!!
jhearnwalk
I saw them in 1998 and it was a great show. I'm going to see them Oct 30th, can't wait. If I had to pick an album it would have to be Gentleman. There isn't a bad song on the album.
joebinns
i think pretentious is an apt description. the pretension isn't necessarily a bad thing artistically . its why i like the lyrics.
smithbmd
Oh, and I have a ticket to St. Andrew's in Detroit show. Can't believe I will finally have an opportunity to see them live. Wouldn't miss it.
smithbmd
All albums are incredible, but I'm voting for 1965 as best.
I love you Tiny Courntey Brown!!!
Thanks Greg - your words and the way you used them
I liked their old (other) album cover for Up In It. Anybody out there remember it? My friend had it. I only made a tape recording and never got a copy for myself. Mistake.
The best of the 90's bands, hands down. Dulli's off-key voice is like scotch on the rocks with a sliver of dark chocolate. LOVE.
Affirm. Bought this record ( Gentlemen ) one that took 3 spins, then heavy rotation. Mr. Dulis name is on many records without whigs, 90-2000 many great records, Sweet Oblivion and Gentlemen, if F.M Radio did not cave 2 corp. greed. Its an uneducated listening public right now. Remember when you could hear, Steely Dan, Lynyrd Skynard, Santana, Creedance, back to back. wait a minute, that was A.M 1971 I Love you Pandora. Keep it goin Little Steven. 00000ps
Most under rated band of all time !
Great band. Just checked out Greg's cover of Paper Thin Hotel by Leonard Cohen on Rolling Stone. Sweet s**t. Leonard's new album should be tiighhttt.
I have all of their albums. Such a great band.
We can disagree over which masterpiece is their best, but still Pandora- please get Black Love!
Well said Heit. Love the Whigs, never over played, maybe why I prefer them to most 90's bands
sbholl84
Nahhhh, Gentlemen is their best. Black Love is a close second. But Gentlemen is untouchable.
Where is Black Love? Their best album!
yeah, pretentious is kind of stupid. better suited to Vampire Weekend or Sting, ha!
sbholl84
If there was ever a band that deserved more recognition than they got, the Whigs are that band. So intense, so meaningful. And just to add, I really, REALLY object to the reviewer's use of "pretentious . " Never has an adjective been so ill-chosen.
mgurion
If you want to keep up on any new Gutter Twins/Twilig h t Singers events, and catch the occasional fantastic downloadable bootleg tracks, visit http://fordr a d i o . w o r d p r e s s . c o m

Among other things, there is mention of a new Twlight Singers album coming soon. Can't wait!
what about Black Love?!?
Anything Greg Dulli or Mark Lanegan has their a hand up in, Im there... 'Gutter Twins' is a dream come true....
nothing like this. then or now. dulli is sick. is and was, this guy really hits
mcratt23
Saw their last show at Bogarts in Cinci, sigh......
One of my all time fav records - Gentlemen. Great lyrics and emotion in that record and in that band.
By far my favorite band. I saw the video for Gentleman on 120 Minutes and whenever I was in middle school and the damage was done. ;) I agree very under rated but Dulli and the rest of the Whigs truck on with their side projects.
if you are a fan try the gutter twins....... . . . . . . d u l l i s latest work.
toferlewis
This band is a mid-nineties time stamp for me. I hear certain songs and remember exactly what I was doing. I still have their tapes, why I bought tapes then I have no idea, but they still rock…
Anyone else here completely in love with "My Curse"?
jdgxn
Finding Afghan Whigs made me wish it was the 90s.
So underrated and so incredibly special, these angsty beautiful boys - so truthful and brash and swaggering. I adore The Whigs.
This band reminds you what sin really is.... HUMAN. Sexy, Fun, damaged and regretful. Life described by the Whigs has a story to tell and it isn't always pretty but it is filled with every possible emotion. No other band hugs human fault like the Whigs. No other writer delves into lust and regret like Greg Dulli.
pbaratt
one of my favorite rock bands

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