Rock n Roll Forever:
An Interview with Julian Dorio of The Whigs
Mexicali LIVE Jan 9; Brooklyn Bowl Jan 10
Words by Jianna Hall
“Only The Whigs would set a tour in the middle of January and drive NORTH,” says drummer Julian Dorio who began the garage rock band with lead singer and guitarist Parker Gispert. They were later joined by bassist Timothy Deaux. Braving the ‘Polar Vortex’, the band will be heading up the east coast the same week that the temperature dropped to an 118 year low of 2 degrees in New York City. But these southern natives were well greased as they left because the south was only a few degrees warmer in their home state of Georgia.
The Whigs, who were once on Rolling Stone’s ‘10 Artists to Watch’ list, emerged in 2002 from Athens, Georgia with their first album, Give ‘Em All A Big Fat Lip. They recorded it in a frat house with equipment they had bought off of ebay. They’ve come a long way having produced four albums since then. Athens became a music conglomerate for the garage band / indie rock scene when artists decided not to uproot to cities like New York and Los Angeles and has produced groups like R.E.M. and the Black Lips.
They are no stranger to late night television having made several appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Dorio said, “I grew up watching late night TV and to walk out on one of those stages is very humbling. It’s larger than life really.”
Now, they are kicking off the new year with a tour before the debut of their newest album Modern Creation. “We love touring. To be in this business you gotta like to travel. It’s a strange lifestyle,” Dorio said as he prepared leave Nashville, Tennessee for the first gig of the leg. “We’re sometimes more like professional drivers who play music sometimes.” He described Japan as the most interesting place he’s performed saying its, “a dream come true for a little kid” to go to a place like that and play. Their tour begins in Virginia but makes an abrupt turn up the coast. They’ll be performing on January 9th at Mexicali Live in Teaneck. “We don’t deal well with the cold in the south but we love New Jersey and we haven’t been there in a while so we’re real excited.” He said they intend on trying out some of their newer songs, his favorite to perform thus far being ‘Modern Creations’ though he likes all of the new songs on the album. Then, on the 10th they will be on the stage again at the Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn. There are 18 shows lined up all over the country in cities like Baltimore, Cleveland, Louisville, and Nashville just to name a few. They end on May 24th in Denver, Colorado.
When asked what he hopes their songs bring to their listeners Dorio said, “songs can be interpreted differently and I hope that our songs are special for them in their own way.” Dorio recommended turning on the radio and cranking it up to escape if that’s what you’re looking for. Bands like The Whigs could not thrive without the support from their labels. They spent a majority of their career working through ATO Records which was founded by Dave Mathews and currently works with bands like Alabama Shakes and Drive-by Truckers. The Whigs changed labels for their newest release to New West Records who also works with Alice Cooper.
The Whigs newest album Modern Creation is set to be released in April of this year. “This is our most raw rock record. We recorded it live in a studio in Los Angeles with the band counting off songs and then we just banged them out.”
The Whigs will be playing Mexicali Live in Teaneck on Friday January 9 and the Brooklyn Bowl on January 10.
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