Afghan Whigs Break Up, Label Pondering Live Record

Soulful rockers say nine-year geographical distance finally took its toll; Columbia considering releasing a disc from the band's most recent tour.

For the Afghan Whigs, the long-distance relationship just wasn’t working.

The soulful rockers, who formed 14 years ago while attending the University of Cincinnati, have called it quits after six albums.

“It was a blast,” the band said in a statement issued Tuesday (February 6) through Columbia Records. “We’d like to thank everyone who took the ride with us and let us ride with them.”
With the members living in different states for nine years, the “distance, which for so long kept the band fresh, began to work against them,” the statement said.

Singer/songwriter Greg Dulli, who is recording his second Twilight Singers album, lives in Los Angeles. Bassist John Curley and drummer Michael Horrigan live in Cincinnati and guitarist Rick McCollum lives in Minneapolis. “The band [mates] remain friends and, apart from the often cruel and unsentimental banter between members, still plan to call each other on holidays,” the statement said.

Columbia Records is contemplating releasing a live record culled from the band’s most recent tour, said Tim Devine, senior VP of A&R at the label.

Though the Afghan Whigs never achieved mainstream success, their mixture of soul and moody rock garnered them a large cult following and steady critical acclaim. Their albums were: Big Top Halloween (1988); Up in It (1990); Congregation (1991); Gentlemen (1993); Black Love (1996) and 1965 (1998).

“I’m beyond crushed,” fan Justina Wilson wrote in an e-mail after being contacted through a Web site devoted to the Whigs. “They were one of best rock bands of the last ten years. It sucks.”
Dulli is working in Los Angeles on the follow-up to Twilight As Played by the Twilight Singers (2000). The band originally included Harold Chichester (Howlin’ Maggie) and Shawn Smith (Pigeonhed, Satchel, Brad), but neither musician is participating in the new album, a Columbia Records spokesperson said. Dulli originally recorded the material on the first Twilight album in summer 1996 in New Orleans with a number of local musicians, but the project was put on hold when the Whigs signed to Columbia.

After the release of 1965, Dulli returned to the recordings, enlisting the help of British remix team Fila Brazillia, which has remixed Radiohead, Busta Rhymes and The Orb. Columbia finally released the album in September.

The other members of Afghan Whigs have not announced any recording plans.