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Afghan Whigs

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Cincinnati, United States (1986 – 2001, 2011 – present)

American band the Afghan Whigs were a soul-influenced, alternative rock band that was mainly active in the 1990s. While achieving only moderate commercial success, the Afghan Whigs attracted ample critical acclaim and deeply loyal fans, Rolling Stone described the band as spending “the bulk of their career on the brink of stardom”, yet they’ve “never quite broken beyond a substantial legion of devotees enamored of their thinly veiled sleaze.”

Formed in Cincinnati in 1986, Greg Dulli (vocals, rhythm guitar), Rick McCollum (lead guitar), John Curley (bass), and Steve Earle (drums — not to be confused with country musician Steve Earle) .

In 1988, they released their debut album Big Top Halloween on their own Ultrasuede label. The album caught the attention and imagination of the independent music community and the band soon signed to Sub Pop of Seattle in 1989. Sub Pop’s signing of the Afghan Whigs created quite a stir at the time as they were the first non-Northwestern U.S. band to record for the label.

In 1990, their first Sub Pop release Up in It was released; the blistering pace and yowling, effects-heavy guitars on tracks like “White Trash Party” gave no hint of the stylistic about-face to come. It was followed by a limited edition single released by No.6 Records under the name The Ornament.

With the critically acclaimed 1992 album Congregation and a limited covers EP, Uptown Avondale, the band adopted what would become their signature soul-influenced sound.

Soon the Afghan Whigs signed to a major label, Elektra Records, and in 1993 released another critically acclaimed album, Gentlemen. Although the singles “Debonair” and “Gentlemen” were fairly popular, the album failed to launch the band into the mainstream.

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