Carrying the torch

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Anyone who’s worried about the state of rock music should look no further than The Whigs.
The band plays straight-up rock ‘n’ roll – no fuss, no muss. The Whigs, who calls Athens, Ga., home, is continuing its steady rock sound on its third record, “In the Dark,” which drops March 2 on ATO Records.
The Whigs – made up of drummer Julian Dorio, guitarist and vocalist Parker Gispert and bassist Tim Deaux – will tour relentlessly to support the new album, just like the guys did with their previous records. That tour includes a stop in Oxford.
“I’m excited,” Dorio said about the new record. “We’ve been working on it for the last year, so we’ve been sitting on them for a second. We’re anxious to put it out.”

New kind of writing
The Whigs is a pure rock band, Dorio said, but the guys wanted their sound to evolve.
That was accomplished by changing the way they wrote songs. Usually Gispert wrote The Whigs’ songs on guitar and then gave them his fellow bandmates to work out, but for this record, Dorio and Deaux wrote the tracks first, and then gave them to Gispert.
“We had started writing the drum and bass lines that would outline the structure and arrangement of these songs,” Dorio said. “That kind of allowed Parker to react to the music instead of having to bring something in to us.”

Moving along
Dorio said that while the band’s sound is growing, all of the new tunes still sound like The Whigs.
“Hopefully there’s a little bit of change and evolution to it. I don’t think we want to put out the last record again,” he said.
The Whigs recorded the album while on tour – the guys spent part of 2008 on tour with Kings of Leon, Drive-By Truckers and The Kooks – and the band tried the new tunes out on audiences.
The new songs gave a surge of electricity to The Whigs’ already energetic live show.
“The shows are definitely a lot of fun, and really high energy,” he said. “I think people come out to have a good time, to get out and away from their day-to-day life. It’s sort of a party. It’s definitely a loud rock ‘n’ roll show.”
2010 holds more of that for The Whigs.
Once “In the Dark” is released, the band will leave Georgia and once again call the road its home.
“Last year was a little more about writing (the new album) and touring, but we’re definitely gearing up for the release and anxious to get it out,” Dorio said. “We make records to entertain people, so you sort of want to see how it goes and hit the road. …If it’s anything like the last album, we spent 11 months straight on the road, so hopefully we’ll do that again.”

Hey, Julian Dorio of The Whigs, what’s on your iPod?
“One band I love is Band of Skulls. … We had the chance to play with them last summer – that’s when we met them. They’re wonderful people and I love seeing them play. They’re definitely a rock ‘n’ roll band. … I’m really in love with Cass McCombs. … The new Flaming Lips (album) is really great.”