Athens, Georgia rockers the Whigs will release their fourth album, Enjoy the Company, on September 18th. Fans can get a preview of the record, which was produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Drive-By Truckers, Hold Steady), here with the exclusive premiere of the track “Summer Heat.”
“That was about a friend of mine. We were out in a club last summer and he got thrown out of the bar, and it turned out he had an expired speeding ticket a couple of counties away, so they took him to jail,” frontman Parker Gispert tells Rolling Stone. “He thought he was getting out the next day, and it was really just a cop who’s taking him from one precinct to the next to continue being locked up for this stupid speeding ticket, and the guy was just preaching to him the whole time in the two-hour car ride.
“Kind of a wussy police story,” Gispert jokes, “but that’s where the lyrics come from.”
There are 10 tracks on the record, which is bookended by the album’s two longest cuts, “Staying Alive” and “Ours.” The longest by far is “Staying Alive,” an eight-minute epic that opens the album. It would seem more like a natural closer, especially with the epic jam that wraps the song. Gispert says that was the original plan, until the end of recording. “The whole time we were writing it we thought ‘Staying Alive’ was gonna be at the end and ‘Ours’ was written to be the opener,” he says. “By the end of the record it just became obvious that we were gonna flip them.”
The extended jam was actually born during live shows. “We had played the song a few times live and it just got gnarly whenever we played it at a show,” he says. “Rather than truncate it for the record we just figured, let it hang loose.”
One tribute to the band’s forefathers comes on “Rock and Roll Forever,” a song that carries on the great tradition of tunes with the words “rock & roll” in the title.
“When I think about a song with rock & roll in the title, like Chuck Berry or the Stones, or Led Zeppelin, it’s like all my favorite rock bands sing about rock,” Gispert says, name-checking songs by the Velvet Underground, the Ramones and AC/DC as well.
“Obviously we’re a rock band, that’s what we do. That’s what I’ve done my entire adult life – driving around in vans, touring rock clubs, just playing in a rock band,” he says. “So it makes sense to have a song about what you do and the kind of music that you love.”