The Whigs’ 2005 debut Give ‘Em All A Big Fat Lip was an album any young band would ache to call their own.  The self released/self financed debut allowed the Athens, Georgia trio to be dubbed “the best un-signed band in America” by Rolling Stone Magazine.

The trio’s new record, Mission Control is their first on Dave Matthews’ ATO Records and shows The Whigs’ cleaner melodic side. Led by front man Parker Gispert, The Whigs’ jangly alternative pop rock has been compared to The Replacements, Guided By Voices, Radiohead and The Who.

At 37 minutes, Mission Control opens with the urgency of “Like a Vibration,”visits the arena rock anthem, “Right Hand on My Heart,” while stepping into the brooding “1000 Wives.”  Athens has had their share of note-worthy bands, but The Whigs bring a breath of rock to their otherwise “indie-pop” friendly city.   Glide recently caught up with Gispert following Mission Control’s release.

People try to label The Whigs, but often miss-fire and like to dwell on The Whigs being an Athens Band.  How would you most like to be described?

We definitely take pride in being an Athens band seeing that many of our favorite groups are from our home town.  As for the mis-firing, I guess it’s better than everyone unanimously agreeing that you sound like one particular thing.

Does being an "Athens" Band hold any significance or do you feel the city gets overdue praise?

I don’t think it gets any overdue praise.  There are so many different artists in Athens that are doing different things, it is hard to imagine such a diverse scene in such a small place.  Plus, after touring so much, you really begin to appreciate the tightness and well rehearsed nature of most Athens bands.

Now that you’ve been signed to ATO Records, what are you going to miss about the "best unsigned band in America" tag?

Not a whole lot, we love working with ATO.

When you were putting together Mission Control, is there any particular place or theme that served as inspiration?

I’d say the lack of particular place and theme was an inspiration.  We were traveling a good deal while writing / brainstorming for the record.  We were able to take inspiration from many different places which was a theme in a way.

Mission Control is your second album, are there any particular sophomore releases that you modeled Mission Control after or admired?

I’m always a fan of second records that try to strengthen a band’s already existing attributes as opposed to being a departure.  It was important to us to try and hone our craft rather than reinvent the band for record two.

Your first album Give ‘Em All A Big Fat Lip, was recorded on a college budget including recording equipment the band bought and later sold on eBay –  do you have any regrets about the debut?

Not at all.  A goal of Fat Lip was to have it sound like the first record and we accomplished that goal.  It’s more primal, more elementary, more suited for the first release.  I love it.

You’re recently played Letterman, how was that experience?

It was loads of fun.  Growing up, we had always watched late night performances and hoped that we would one day get the
chance to rip on Late Night.  My only complaint was that it was over before it even started by being the shortest gig (3.5 minutes) in the band’s history.

By the end of December in 2008 what do you most hope to have read or heard about The Whigs?

Good question.  I hope that they have heard the music or come to a show so they can decide what they think about the band for themselves.  ROCK!

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