The Whigs: Seizing 'Control' With garage-rock that exudes Southern charm, The Whigs' members hail from Athens, Ga. Singer Parker Gispert and drummer Julian Dorio discuss the state of rock music today, as well as the origins of the band's name.
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The Whigs: Seizing 'Control'

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The Whigs: Seizing 'Control'

The Whigs: Seizing 'Control'

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We're listening to the music of The Whigs. They've been described as part garage rock, part Southern charm - a sound that caught the ear of another Southern rocker, Dave Matthews. Their second album "Mission Control" was released this week on Mr. Matthews' label ATO.

(Soundbite of song, "Mission Control")

Mr. PARKER GISPERT (Lead Singer, The Whigs): (Singing) Mission control thought you can see it's tired of where they lead you.

SIMON: And joining us now are The Whigs' lead singer, Parker Gispert and drummer, Julian Dorio. They're in the studios of WABE in Atlanta.

Thanks so much for being with us, gentlemen.

Mr. JULIAN DORIO (Drummer, The Whigs): Thanks for having us.

Mr. GISPERT: Thank you.

SIMON: You've got a lot of nice attention on this new album released, including from Rolling Stone. But I have to ask, Parker Gispert, you've been quoted as saying, "Rock is probably as unpopular as it's ever been."

Mr. GISPERT: I think that's true. It's unfortunate, but rock has a way of prevailing always. We're optimistic.

SIMON: So, you guys haven't thought about getting into a kind of a growth industry rather than rock.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GISPERT: My parents would probably a little more happy about that maybe.

SIMON: Well, let us a bit about that song we opened with, if we could, "Mission Control."

Mr. GISPERT: "Mission Control" was one of the first songs that we wrote when we completed the first record and took us probably the longest to finish of any of the songs on the record. We played it in various forms for about a year, I guess.

SIMON: What's the story of the song?

Mr. GISPERT: I sort of thought of it as sort of space blues. And it's just kind of a song about getting to where you want to go on your own terms.

(Soundbite of song, "Mission Control")

Mr. GISPERT: (Singing) Mission control. Oh, mission control. Start out to rest now. All of us evil are known (unintelligible). Stay, I want to rest, you know. I'm (unintelligible). Baby…

SIMON: The one thing I knew about you when they first brought your name to me was that - well, I think I knew about you. Your first album was self-released, right?

Mr. GISPERT: Yes, sir.

Mr. DORIO: Yeah.

SIMON: And you've bought the instruments to record it on eBay and then sold them back on eBay. Is that true or is that just somebody's public relations story?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DORIO: No, it is actually true. We didn't have many resources to record the first record and we took the little money we had and bought recording equipment off the Internet pretty much. And then once we were done recording, you know, we didn't need that equipment anymore, we just turned around and put it on eBay and actually, I think, I remember making a little bit more money that I'd paid for in a couple of items.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DORIO: So all of a sudden, we were profiting from this album.

SIMON: Let me ask about another song, if we could here. There's a song called -we're going to hear a little of it, "1,000 Wives."

Mr. DORIO: Yes, sir.

(Soundbite of song, "1000 Wives")

Mr. GISPERT: (Singing) Well, I met my match at the kingdom of (unintelligible) the evening song. Now, my shoulders (unintelligible), my arm was still (unintelligible). No, no. In the meadow, there's a (unintelligible) I had a thousand wives, a thousand wives.

SIMON: What's the message behind that refrain, a thousand wives?

Mr. DORIO: The song started out as a song about, I guess, greed with women and being a young guy and…

SIMON: You don't mean wives at all, do you?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DORIO: The first way that song was written, you're kind of dreaming about being with all these women and it kind of got in the way of you ending up with the person that you original were in love with.

(Soundbite of song, "1000 Wives")

Mr. GISPERT: (Singing) I miss my, I miss you right now. Don't quit right now. Don't quit right now. Don't quit me better than now.

SIMON: I have to ask, if I could, Julian Dorio, that name, The Whigs, I should have spelled it for people who want to be able to find your music. That's W-H-I-G; the olds-many-years-gone political party. Why did you appropriate that name for your band's name?

Mr. DORIO: Well, we're a young band and we go down to the bar and book our first concert. And we're all really excited and our excitement kind of ends when he asked us what's your band name, and we kind of looked at each other and thank God, we've sort of missed the big part of this process. It's a little embarrassing.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DORIO: I have nothing to say. I literally told him I'd call him back. So we just kind of have about half an hour in the parking lot and just - saying a bunch of names to each other and someone said The Whigs. And I think the one thing that I did like about it is that the name, The Whigs, didn't really connotate any particular sound. It didn't sound like, you know, the Black Death rebels or something and you would have something in mind or, you know…

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. DORIO: The daisy singers or something. It was just sort of a neutral name and, you know, hopefully the way the music sounds will be what people associated with that name so.

SIMON: I do want to ask, February 5 - it's being referred to as the Super Tuesday, a series of primaries. I guess, about a third of the country - Georgia is included. In your estimation, not to put both of you on the spot, what kind of guitarist is Governor Huckabee?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DORIO: That's a really good question.

Mr. GISPERT: That's a great question.

Mr. DORIO: He used to do a little Bill Clinton and get himself on TV and shred a little bit for the young…

Mr. GISPERT: Yeah, the young audience will be sold quickly.

(Soundbite of guitar playing)

SIMON: Well, gentlemen, it's been wonderful talking to both of you. Thanks so much.

Mr. DORIO: Hey, thanks so much for having us on the show.

Mr. GISPERT: Thank you. Peace out.

SIMON: We're going to go with another track from your album. This one is "Like a Vibration."

Mr. DORIO: All right.

(Soundbite of song, "Like a Vibration")

Mr. GISPERT: (Singing) Like a vibration, my reputation. It's staying around my nerve. It's getting in and out in (unintelligible).

SIMON: I've been talking to the lead singer Parker Gispert and drummer Julian Dorio of The Whigs. Their second album, "Mission Control" came out this week.

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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