The Afghan Whigs In-depth Biography
Evolving from a garage punk} band in the vein of the Replacements}, Dinosaur Jr.}, and Mudhoney} to a literate, pretentious, soul}-inflected post-punk} quartet, the Afghan Whigs} were one of the most critically acclaimed alternative} bands of the early '90s. Although the band never broke into the mainstream, they developed a dedicated cult following, primarily because of lead singer/songwriter} Greg Dulli}'s tortured, angst-ridden tales of broken relationships and self-loathing. The Afghan Whigs} were one of the few alternative} bands around in the late '90s to acknowledge R&B}, attempting to create a fusion of soul} and post-punk}.
The Afghan Whigs} were formed when the members -- vocalist/rhythm guitarist Greg Dulli}, bassist John Curley}, lead guitarist Rick McCollum}, and drummer Steve Earle} -- were attending the University of Cincinnati. Dulli}, who was raised in Hamilton, OH, was studying film at the university, where he met fellow students McCollum} and Earle}. Unlike the rest of the band, Curley} didn't attend the University of Cincinnati. He arrived in the city to intern as a photographer at the Cincinnati Enquirer}, which his father -- who published USA Today} -- arranged for him; for the next few years, Curley} continued to shoot pictures for the paper, quitting only when the band's schedule became too busy for him to work both jobs. Dulli} happened to meet Curley} when visiting a friend's apartment building. Eventually, the pair formed the Afghan Whigs} in 1986, along with McCollum} and Earle}.
In 1988, the Afghan Whigs} released their debut album, Big Top Halloween}, on their independent record label, Ultrasuede}. The album received good word-of-mouth in underground music publications and college radio. A copy of the record worked its way to the influential Seattle-based independent record label Sub Pop}, and the label arranged for the Whigs} to release a one-off single. The single led to a full-blown record contract with Sub Pop}. Up in It}, their first Sub Pop} album, was released in 1990. For the next two years, the Afghan Whigs} toured America consistently, occasionally heading over to Europe and England. In 1992, their third album, Congregation}, was released to very positive reviews. After its release, the band was courted by a number of major labels. The band released one more record on Sub Pop}, an EP of soul} and R&B} covers called Uptown Avondale}, and signed to Elektra Records}.
Gentlemen}, the band's major-label debut, was released to considerable critical acclaim in the fall of 1993. "Debonair,"} the first single pulled from the album, received major play from MTV}, and all of the reviews were positive. Nevertheless, the band wasn't able to ascend past cult status and all the critical praise even engendered a backlash, most notably in the form of an anti-Whigs} fanzine called Fat Greg Dulli}. In the summer of 1994, the band released the What Jail Is Like} EP to coincide with their American tour. Upon the completion of their international tour in the fall of 1994, the band took an extended break. Steve Earle} left the band in the spring of 1995; he was replaced by Paul Buchignani}, just before the band entered the studio to record their fifth album. Black Love}, their second album for Elektra}, was released in the spring of 1996. Again, the album received positive reviews but the band failed to break out of their cult status. 1965}, their first effort for new label Columbia}, followed two years later. However, with the bandmembers living in different states, it would prove to be their last; in February of 2001, the band called it quits, citing geographical separation. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide