Golden Years is the latest record from Whigs frontman Parker Gispert, the follow up to 2018’s critically acclaimed Sunlight Tonight.
While Sunlight Tonight was an atmospheric, largely acoustic affair, Golden Years finds Gispert returning to his roots and delivering a collection of introspective, yet gruff rock and 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.
But like Sunlight Tonight, Golden Years also sees Gispert embracing introspective, personal lyrics that delve into the current social divide while at the same time writing lyrics meant to encourage the listener to get up, have fun, and enjoy rock and roll. Musically, the record finds Gispert embracing his roots with the familiar sound of the raw and jangly southern-garage rave-ups that his band, the Whigs, came to be known for. Golden Years was recorded at Haptown Studios in Nashville, TN with producer Roger Moutenot (Lou Reed, Lambchop, Yo La Tengo, Tennis) at the helm.
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 producer Roger Moutenot. He would be joined by 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.”
Parker 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, Drive-By Truckers, among others, as well as television appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the band decided to pull back on activity in 2017. That 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.”
His debut solo album 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 the Futurebirds. In between all that, Gispert co-wrote “Private Public Breakdown” with Alice Cooper and Bob Ezrin for Cooper’s Paranormal record.