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The Afghan Whigs are an alternative rock band from Ohio, US who formed in 1986 and since their inception have influenced the likes of Gaslight Anthem, The National and Jimmy Eat World.
Rising from the ashes of his former band The Black Republicans, Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar) came together with John Curley (bass) and Steve Earle (drums) to form The Afghan Whigs in 1986. The trio bonded through their mutual love for good old R&B and the first song they rehearsed as a collective was a cover of The Temptations track “Psychedelic Shack”.
In 1988 the band released their debut self-titled album on their own label, Ultrasuede. The following year they signed to Sub Pop where they would record their second album “Up In It” (1990) recorded by Nirvana producer Jack Endino. The album served favourably on college radio stations with the track “Retarded” while critics praised its brutal honesty complimented by the powerfully dramatic rhythms. Despite not achieving chart success, the album paved the way for The Afghan Whigs as they were slowly evolving into the monumentally inspiring band they would later become. To support the album release, the band embarked on a package tour across North America with the masters of grunge Mudhoney and Bullet Volta.
Their 1992 album “Congregation” saw the band incorporate elements of psychedelic punk into their already punchy rock tones, finally solidifying their distinctive sound. Tracks “Conjure Me” and “Turn on the Water” featured heavily on MTV as they picked out The Afghan Whigs as the ones to watch.
The increasing popularity extending from the MTV exposure led to the band signing a lucrative deal with Elektra Records in 1993. Locking themselves away at Ardent Studio (who accommodated Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin to name a few) the band worked on their major label debut and produced the album “Gentlemen” later that year. The album featured the top 20 track “Debonair” and “Fountain and Fairfax”. As The Afghan Whigs became ever more present in the public eye, the band appeared on several film soundtracks.
In 1996 the band released their fifth studio album “Black Love” which revealed a much darker insight into Dulli’s psyche discussing themes of paranoia and murder with tracks like “Blame Etc” and “Crime Scene Part One”. The album peaked at number 79 on the Billboard charts and during the promotion cycle the band opened for Neil Young. A combination of the label’s unhappiness at the lack of chart success and the unveiling of several shady dealings led to the label parting ways with The Afghan Whigs in 1998.
In no time at all, the band signed with Columbia Records to produce the 1998 album “1965” which saw The Afghan Whigs further diversify their sound as they blended soul and rock with tracks “Somethin’ Hot”, “Uptown Again” and “Crazy”. The band went onto to support Aerosmith and whilst on the album promotion tour Dulli was seriously attacked outside a show resulting in him slipping into a two month coma. Once he had recovered, The Afghan Whigs went straight back on tour.
In 2001 the band went on a five year hiatus and returned briefly in 2006 to release their greatest hits album “Unbreakable: A Retrospective 1990-2006”. Five years later The Afghan Whigs announced their permanent return in 2011 with a string of festival appearances at: Lollapalooza, Primavera and SXSW.
For the first time in 16 years, the band had produced new material in the form of “Do The Beast” in 2014 which peaked at number 34 in the US charts. With an extensive career spanning over twenty years, The Afghan Whigs have become an instrumental band in the evolution of the alternative rock genre, inspiring generations to come.