What else sets this album apart from what you’ve come out with before?
Well, a huge thing is that Tim, our bass player who’s been with us for over two years, this is the first album that he’s actually been on. So that’s a major difference. Having him has been amazing. The last record, we did enjoy making. But Parker and I were the only real band members and we were in kind of an awkward time. We’re very grateful for the help of some great friends in Athens, or whoever it was that stepped in and played bass or recorded with us when we needed a bass player. That was huge. But ideally, you want to have a normal line-up together. Finding Tim has been a godsend. He’s been on the road with us for so long and we’ve been working and touring endlessly. Finally having a chance where he gets to be part of the recording process has been exciting. He’s a great bass player.
Speaking of touring, The Whigs have basically been touring non-stop the last few years. What have you sacrificed in order to get your music out there?
It’s hard. I mean, we love touring and I think for us even starting is about touring. It’s about playing music physically and literally. We love making records, and we’ve grown to love the studio. But in a way, when you buy a guitar and start playing—at least for us—we didn’t think about the studio. We thought about getting on the stage and playing. Touring like this is a normal thing for us. But it does take you out of your home. We’re not in Athens very much, and we’re away from family. It can be difficult. If you’re trying to maintain any sort of relationship, a girlfriend or something like that, you’re just gone and you travel. You’re like a circus. Every day we’re somewhere new.
Just like today, we’re going to Vegas. Then we go to San Diego. We were in L.A. last night. We were in Costa Mesa the day before that. It’s just endless. You get used to it, and you don’t really notice after a while. But yeah, you don’t have the lifestyle that everyone else has. It’s pretty weird. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. I think touring for us is the standard. It’s the normal part of it. Anything on top of that— TV, radio play, or good press, interviews like I’m doing with you—it’s all kind of icing.
Let’s take it back for a minute. The first album, Give ‘Em All A Big Fat Lip, was released independently and recorded with instruments you bought and resold on eBay. What kind of lessons as a band did you learn from this do-it-yourself experience?
Right before that, we went through a pretty bad experience with a record label who almost signed us. As we started to work with them, we realized it was going to be an awful experience and got ourselves out of it. Sometimes you forget that record labels work for bands. They survive off of bands creating music. It’s true that band’s need support and financial support. But we were quickly reminded that we have music we are really proud of and we need to figure out a way to go ahead and record it. We don’t need to wait on a record label to tell us to do it. We learned a lot. We’re signed and we’re happy with our label, and we rely on them for certain things. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I know a lot of bands that are almost like waiting around. You know, are like, ‘Man, I really hope we get signed.’ And you sort of want them not to make that their goal.
What about this one—which show did you enjoy performing at more, The Late Show With David Letterman or Late Night With Conan O’Brien?
[Laughs] Man, they were both so fun. The first was Letterman. So far and away, that was the most surreal experience, partly because it was the first time doing that and because Letterman is legendary. I’ve watched that stuff every day, seeing bands I loved for years since I was a kid. Then all of a sudden, you’re on the show. It’s so amazing.
With that said, it’s just a well-oiled machine, the way they run that show. We didn’t know what we were doing. We were out of our minds. We barley even remember the performance. It goes by at the blink of an eye. By the time we got to do Conan a few weeks later, we were a little more with it and had done it once. That show wasn’t quite as insane. In Letterman, everyone was on edge. Like, ‘Don’t mess up. Just go in and do your thing.’
What kind of New Year’s resolutions do you have as a band?
[Laughs] That’s a good one. We’re really excited to have this record coming out. So, I think we will be touring as much as we can, and writing and getting new material going any chance we get. We want a whole lot of practice, so we’re going to push ourselves. I think in the next year, we’re going to try to progress in every way possible and move forward and do whatever we can in our power to spread our music around. You know, I’m sure there are a hundred things we could work on. I wish I could think of some better resolutions for you. [Laughs] I forget the New Year’s coming up. I think it’s like September right now. That’s how fast time’s flying.
Look for In The Dark in early 2010. Catch The Whigs at the Fillmore @ Irving Plaza on Dec. 11 and at North Star in Philly on Dec. 12. thewhigs.com.