Trapped on a tour bus for the past nine months, the latest in groundbreaking bands, The Whigs, keep the bus moving from city to city with a relentless drive to share their music with the world. Humble and heartfelt, the band from Athens, Ga., has a simple goal — to play music, and they take upon every opportunity to do so.
While crossing the country and the seas, the band continues to rake in fans with their thrashed, catchy beats and slick garage-band style. Currently touring with The Kooks, the threesome comprised of Parker Gispert on vocals and guitar, Tim Deaux on bass and Julian Dorio on drums is set to play tonight at the Barrymore Theatre. While on the road somewhere between Oklahoma and Missouri, Whigs drummer Dorio talked about his experience promoting their latest album, Mission Control.
The Badger Herald: I looked at your current tour, and it is pretty insane. It seems like you are constantly on the go. How do you guys keep the energy pumping show after show in what appears to be an exhausting schedule?
Julian Dorio: The shows are the reward. We tour because we love to play, and even as tired as you can get traveling, we look forward to the shows.
BH: You’ve been to Madison a few times now. Is there anything about Madison that draws you back?
JD: We look forward to Madison; it’s stood out in the past as one of our favorite towns, the best crowds we’ve played to have been in Madison. There’s good, lively, young energy, the people seem like they’re really excited to party and dance and have a good time. Whether it’s the first time when there was a handful or now when there’s more of a crowd, it’s fun every time.
BH: You guys have ventured into the festival circuit, Lollapalooza and Bonnaraoo to name a few. What was it like playing along other headlining bands?
JD: They are definitely different. We played more shows on our own, but we love festivals and the vibe. We don’t get to see that many shows, and after we get done playing we get to run out into the crowd with everyone else and watch shows. The festivals overseas are incredible; some of the best from the states like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza model themselves after big European festivals. We are new to Europe — and the states too and are just ecstatic to be in the same venue as some of the big headliners.
BH: Any songs in particular you continue to get a kick out of playing live?
JD: We do switch it up as best we can. We sort of have fun with that and keep it fresh for us. It varies from every other week or whatever. … I’d say “Already Young” off the new album I’ve been enjoying playing lately.
BH: You guys have been receiving a lot of positive press. A few eye-catching titles were “Best Unsigned Band” by Rolling Stone in 2007 and “Best Drummer” by Esquire in 2007. Do you believe this has brought in more listeners and fans?
JD: There’s no one thing, whether it is radio airplay or Rolling Stone, that takes the band from where it was to where it is now: It’s all these tiny steps that help the bands. Whether it is Esquire with a certain demographic or iTunes or MySpace, there is more music than ever and more ways to find out about it, which takes the leg work off us. We sort of try to stay out there as much as we can; I’m sure there’s someone to see us new each time around, or someone told a friend. It takes a lot of time, and there are a lot of building blocks to keep grinding out.
BH: I know the first record, Give ‘Em All a Big Fat Lip, you guys recorded yourself. After being signed with ATO records, how did that experience differ from recording Mission Control?
JD: We didn’t really have anything the first time. We had a little money, and we bought a bit of recording equipment and recorded in a big house we got for free. Having (the producers) behind the counsel helped me play drums — that’s what I do — that’s what I think about. This way I don’t need to think about mixing and compressing and all these things that aren’t my forte; it’s a privilege.
BH: What is the one greatest thing about making it big, or making it where you are today?
JD: Hmm, that’s difficult, I wouldn’t say we made it big but best thing is sort of getting to play to people every night. We are really fortunate for that; it’s a lot of fun, and we look forward to the shows . It’s a lot of small things, great venues, touring with other great bands, getting to meet and play to bands we look up to and admire, crazy to be in same room as them and hang out and meet them and watch their shows and having them be a fan of your band is really rewarding.
The Whigs will be performing at the Barrymore Theatre tonight at 8 p.m.