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The Whigs

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Frontman Parker Gispert, drummer Julian Dorio, and bassist Hank Sullivant formed the Whigs in 2002, while the three Athens-based musicians were attending college at the University of Georgia. With a jaunty mix of Westerberg-like swagger, alt-rock songwriting, and a heartfelt country disposition, the Whigs played their first shows around campus and soon graduated to higher-profile performances, including opening slots for the likes of the Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and the Futureheads. Recording sessions for the band's debut album, Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip, took place in an empty frat house several years later, and the disc was independently released in 2005. By the following year, the Whigs' audience had widened considerably, prompting Rolling Stone to hail the trio as one of the "10 Artists to Watch." The bandmates graduated from college that spring, and ATO Records signed them to its roster before the year was up. Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip was released again in 2005, this time with ATO's help. Despite the surge of good luck, Sullivant soon exited the group to pursue a solo career as Kuroma -- a project he eventually put on hold in order to join MGMT's backup band -- and Tim Deaux climbed aboard as his replacement. With a revised lineup in place, the Whigs traveled to Los Angeles in 2007 to begin work on their sophomore album, eventually announcing its completion that October. Mission Control was issued in January 2008, and the band supported its release with a series of late-night TV performances and tour dates alongside the Drive-By Truckers, the Kooks, and Kings of Leon. They returned to the road with Kings of Leon in early 2009, as well, and spent much of the year's remainder writing songs for a third album. Recorded in Athens with producer Ben Allen (who had spent the previous year recording Animal Collective's highly acclaimed Merriweather Post Pavilion), In the Dark was completed in late 2009 and released the following March. The Whigs supported In the Dark with an extensive tour that ran into 2011 and then they began working on their new album, their first for New West Records. That album, entitled Enjoy the Company, appeared in the fall of 2012. ~ MacKenzie Wilson & Andrew Leahey

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Athens, GA

Years Active:

'00s, '10s