Irish group Whipping Boy came to prominence in the mid-1990s with their tales of everyday life and love, seen through the world-weary and cynical eyes of frontman Ferghal McKee.
The band formed in 1988, and their first live performance was at a 21st birthday party in Edenberry, where they performed cover versions of songs by the Fall and the Velvet Underground.
Originally named Lolita and the Whipping Boy, the name was shortened when their female guitarist found religion and left the group. The band was reduced to McKee (vocals), Paul Page (guitar), Colm Hassett (drums) and Myles McDonnell bass.
The band released their first two EPs for the independent Cheree label, The Whipping Boy EP in 1990 and I Think I Miss You EP in 1991. Generating some interest, they signed to Liquid Records to release their debut album Submarine in 1992. The album did not become a success, although their live shows continued to raise their profile, as much for the stage antics of McKee as for the music. McKee had something of a self-destructive attitude, and had been known to cut himself with broken glass on stage.
Whipping Boy's major label debut, Heartworm, appeared in 1994 and was greeted with glowing reviews. Despite allegations of misogyny arising from the lyrics in one song on the album, three successful singles were released. "We Don't Need Nobody Else" was the first and best, and featured mostly spoken lyrics about Irish life. The casual, off-handed reference to domestic violence in this song makes it all the more effective. "Twinkle" was the second single, as good as the previous release, and catalogued the horrifying faults of the female partner in a relationship, before blossoming into the gorgeous chorus "She's the one for me/Now and always". "When We Were Young" was the third single released. ~ Jonathan Lewis