Catching up with The Whigs' Parker Gispert

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The Whigs’ newest album Enjoy the Company, was just released Sept. 18 on ATO Records. It’s no exception to their long-established reputation as meat ‘n’ potatoes rock-and-rollers, but when you’ve got a track record as solid as these guys do, that’s a very good thing. The band heads out on an extensive cross-country tour in support of the album later this month, and they’ll stay out on the road all fall. We caught up with frontman Parker Gispert back in July to chat about the new album—which he describes as both straight-ahead and well-rounded— and grilled him about his favorite tracks.

Paste: If you could write a tagline for Enjoy the Company for someone who’s never heard of The Whigs before, how do you think you’d describe it?
Gispert: It’s a straightforward rock album that’s well rounded. There are some slower songs; there’s a nine-minute song with a noise jam in it. There’s a two and a half minute acoustic guitar song. There’s a big variety of rock songs. Yeah, it’s a well- balanced, straight ahead rock album.

Paste: As a vocalist and guitarist, what are some of your favorite moments on the album?
Gispert: I would say, the first song, “Staying Alive,” the fifth song, “After Dark,” or the last song, “Ours.”

Paste: You guys worked with John Agnello for this one, who I mostly know for his work with The Hold Steady. I remember seeing you guys on tour with them a couple of years back in Memphis.
Gispert: That was the hottest show we’ve ever played. I remember, it was so packed that we put our gear outside… and then we put it inside, and there was a leak inside, but it still got soaked. But yeah, that was one of the most memorable nights of that tour. We love playing the Hi-Tone.

Paste: How did working with John Agnello affect what you guys did with this album?
Gispert: We didn’t want to make anything the slightest bit lo-fi. We didn’t want to make anything overproduced and glossy. We just wanted to be able to hear everything really clearly and have it be a recording product of quality.

As far as Tom, he’s the guy who can record you to tape and knows how to cut a tape if he needs to. He changed a couple of structures. I’d say, in general, he brings a really fun, easy vibe. He makes everything calm, and is just a good time manager. So we were able to just get done everything we needed to do.

Paste: I’m talking to you now in July, and this album isn’t out til September. What’s it been like having that time to sit with it?
Gispert: It’s great, because for tour, we don’t have a crew. You know, we’re a three-piece band, so it give us time to make sure guitars are set up. We have time to put something together that’s interesting for the tour, visually, or work on something like that. We’ll shoot a music video. It’s also nice because we’ve been working on the album for a while, so we’re feeling fresh by the time the tour starts.

Paste: It’s kind of crazy to think that The Whigs have been together for ten years. There’s been a lot of progression between your albums, but you guys sound pretty young to me.
Gispert:Yeah, it doesn’t feel like we’ve been together for ten years. I went to high school with Julian Doro, who plays drums in the band. We’ve just been friends for a long time. In general, we want to be a band that has a lot of albums, not a band that does it for three years and everybody hates each other at the end. Looking at it from a bigger perspective, I feel like we’re in an early, early part of our career. We’re not trying to make a total opposite direction album. At this point, this is our most mature album to date, but it’s still primitive sounding.