Home Read Albums Of The Week: Parker Gispert | Golden Years

Albums Of The Week: Parker Gispert | Golden Years

The Whigs frontman unleashes his inner rocker with this energetic sophomore set.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Parker Gispert, frontman of the acclaimed rock ’n’ roll band The Whigs, co-produced his sophomore album Golden Years with Roger Moutenot (Lou Reed, Yo La Tengo) at RCA Studio A in Nashville.

Golden Years follows his 2018 solo debut Sunlight Tonight. While that was an atmospheric, largely acoustic affair, Golden Years finds Gispert returning to his roots and delivering a collection of introspective, yet gruff rock ’n’ roll anthems with the amps cranked up. “It felt really great to bust out the electric guitars, plug into the amps, and hit the pedals,” he says.

Throughout the first wave of the pandemic, Gispert experienced a revelation. “I decided what I really wanted to do was to make a rock record. It was a response to being quarantined and not being able to go to shows or hang out at rock clubs. I was trying to visualize what I would want to see if I was able to get out. For me, that was electric guitars and solos. Lyrically, it was vague, but still inspired by what was happening in the world. Musically, I got back to what initially inspired me as a child of the nineties.”

Under the influence of Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Built to Spill, he entered the studio with Moutenot, drummer John Kent (Ben Kweller), Rob Crowell (Deer Tick, Midland) on bass, longtime guitarist Evan Penza on lead and Thayer Sarrano on keys and backing vocals. Matt Stoessel (Faye Webster) is also featured on pedal steel. “In The Whigs, we never had lead guitar or really any keyboards,” Gispert adds. “This is the fully realized rock dream for me.”

The album was preceded by the single and video Evil Euphoria. “​​I’d been watching a lot of news in the summer of 2020 and I wanted a song that spoke to the evil I was witnessing on a daily basis,” Gispert says. “No longer are acts of evil something we might hear about or read about, they’re now captured in videos or photos we’re able to see with our own eyes via social media and in the news broadcasts in the comforts of our own homes. I felt like more than ever, evil had a tangible face, and I could objectively see it or those who commit it, with my own eyes. In addition to evil acts, it seemed like specific evil actors were intentionally sewing societal discord and leaving us pitted against each other, left to debate issues where we couldn’t even agree on a basic set of facts to support our respective arguments. Moreover, it appeared these evil actors were thriving and relishing in creating total chaos and division amongst us. Musically, I felt like grunge rock and 90’s angst paired well with these concepts and out came the song.”

Gispert was still in college when he formed The Whigs in the early 2000s in Athens, GA. After five critically acclaimed albums, hundreds of tour dates all over the world with the likes of Kings of Leon, The Black Keys and Drive-By Truckers (among others), as well as appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the band decided to pull back on activity in 2017. Which left Gispert, who had spent the majority of his adult life either in the studio or on the road with the band, at a crossroads. “It occurred to me that if I wanted to record and tour that I was going to need to do it solo,” Gispert says. “I’d always thought about it in the back of my mind as something that I wanted to do one day, but ‘one day’ had never really come.”

Sunlight Tonight was released to critical acclaim and was supported by headline touring in addition to hitting the road with Valerie June, SUSTO, RNDM, and Futurebirds. Between, Gispert co-wrote Private Public Breakdown for Alice Cooper’s Paranormal with Cooper and Bob Ezrin.”