The Eagles Ballroom – Milwaukee, WI
Yesterday, I witnessed the biggest rock star in the world seize the reins of our United States. Today, I saw the greatest rock show of this year (The Whigs, We Are Scientists, and Kings of Leon.) And just before the show, I was able to sit down with the rock stars of tomorrow, Julian Dorio (drums) and Tim Deaux (bass) of The Whigs. While I would put these straight-rockers from Georgia in the category ‘rock star,’ they were not so quick to consent.
After meandering our way through the labyrinth that is The Rave…that is Eagles Ballroom…that is also four other venues, we found a balcony overlooking the parking lot. The place is HUGE. Doors opened as we were walking down the stairs and several girls recognized Julian with his signature backwards trucker hat right away.
Andy: The life of a rock star, it must be rough.
Julian: Yeah. Well you should see the Kings of Leon, they can’t go anywhere without getting mobbed.
Hit the jump for the rest of the interview.
Andy: You guys just got off a tour with The Kooks; how were the Brits?
Julian: They were a lot of fun. They’re big over in the UK; we watched them come to the States and play shows that just got bigger and bigger as the tour went on. Fans went crazy. As a smaller band, that was good to see.
Andy: Alright, I’m from Chicago and I witnessed one of the most electric moments in U.S. history last night, did you guys get a chance to vote?
Tim: We did, it was kind of a pain in the ass. We’ve been touring since January so we had to figure out a way to have our absentee ballots mailed to us since they don’t deliver to PO boxes. It took us a while to get it all worked out but we finally got them in. It was worth it.
Julian: I don’t know how you’re affiliated but I’m from Georgia which was pretty much sewn up for McCain. There didn’t seem to be much reason to vote, kind of like voting for McCain in Illinois.
Tim: I’m from Florida so it was a little more important for me.
Andy: Are you guys excited about the change of power?
Tim: I was actually hung over on the 4th so I it didn’t really hit me until today. When I woke up this morning, I was so pumped.
Andy: Sorry to get political; let’s get back to the music. Did you guys start out with plans to be a power trio?
Julian: We didn’t start with any expectations. We didn’t say “we’re going to be a trio,” that’s just how it worked out. There is a certain charm that comes from being a three piece though.
Andy: I gotta ask, where did the name come from, is it a play on the political party?
Julian: Yeah, I wish there was a more exciting story about it, but we’d be lying.
Tim: We didn’t want a name that would define our sound.
Julian: Something like Dead Confederate dictates a sound, unlike U2. We wanted a name that would encompass whatever we decided to play.
Andy: How did you choose the first single off Mission Control?
Julian: “Right Hand On My Heart” just seemed to fit. There wasn’t a whole lot of deciding that needed to be done. It was the obvious choice.
Andy: I really like your album cover for Mission Control, what is the artwork and what does it mean?
Julian: The artists name is Chris Bilheimer, he’s R.E.M.’s staff designer. He threw a bunch of stuff at us and this is the one that stuck. It was a tiny little ad for cigarettes from TIME Magazine back in the 60’s. The kind with the preppy looking guy that you know didn’t smoke cigarettes. Chris blew it up and then ‘shot’ him and it looked awesome.
Tim: We got lucky; he lives three doors down from us.
Andy: You’ve been doing a lot of touring lately, is home still your favorite place to play?
Julian: With our touring schedule, we really only get to play home one or two times a year. When we go back it’s a lot of fun. Going back home you want your friends to be proud.
Tim: Out of all the places we’ve been, I’d say Chicago is up there as one of our favorite places to play.
Andy: Were there any local bands that you guys played with before starting the national tours?
Julian: Yeah, Iron Hero, Venice Is Sinking, and Dead Confederate.
Tim: Dead Confederate is starting to do big things right now, watch for them.
Andy: Have there been any pivotal moments where you realized you were going to make it as a band?
Julian: We’ve had lots of incredible moments but we’re never satisfied. As soon as you get to one goal, you move on to bigger things. If you start selling out clubs, you move up and it just keeps going.
Tim: We had a goal to play in Europe. Earlier this year we played some shows with the Kings of Leon.
Julian: The crowds really got into the shows. Now that we’ve been over there, we want to go back.
Julian: We went to Japan and it was a lot of fun. The fans over there are different. It’s like they don’t care what people around them think. If you’re a good band, they’ll go crazy for you just like they would for the headliner. Japan is the ultimate test.
Andy: How do you feel about the state of the music industry right now?
Julian: You know a lot of people would say it sucks but I’m optimistic about it. We don’t have to rely on the power of the machine (record labels) for everything. There’s so many different avenues that we can take and now more than ever I believe in the power of a song.
Andy: CD or Vinyl?
Julian: We released Mission Control on both CD and vinyl. There’s a nostalgia with vinyl, you’re more likely to listen to more than a couple songs, it just keeps playing; It’s an experience.
Tim: You don’t sit down and watch a CD play. With vinyl you put the record on and then sit back and watch the needle…crack open a bottle of wine, make a night out of it.
Andy: You’re on night three with the Kings of Leon, have you gotten a chance to hang out with the Followills?
Tim: Yeah we have actually, that’s actually why I was so hung over on Election Day.
Julian: Last night was Kings of Leon vs. The Whigs in bowling.
Time: Those guys really know how to drink.
Andy: When I saw you guys a month ago with the Kooks, your t-shirts were only $20. Now, they’re $35, any way you guys could score me a cheaper shirt since I didn’t grab one at the last show?
Julian: Oh man, I know. When we joined this tour they just told us what our prices were going to be, we didn’t have any say.
Tim: If you go to our website, you can get the shirt for $15! The Whigs Store
Julian: At one of our shows the other night I was sitting in the merch booth and a girl wanted to buy 2 Whigs shirts. The guys working said “that’ll be $70” and I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to tell her she could save $40 but it’s cool they’re supporting us.
So it’s final. If you’re going to see Kings of Leon or We Are Scientists, make sure you show up to see The Whigs. And if you want a T-Shirt, make sure you buy it from their store!