Smile Politely

Now Hear This! The Afghan Whigs — “Miles Iz Ded” (1992)

I like to think I’ve led a bit of a charmed life. I believe that we all think that to a certain degree; one can’t look ahead to each day without holding on to a few nuggets from the past that brought smiles to our faces. For me, it was stuff like winning a Little League Championship, catching a home run ball at Wrigley, opening for bands like Swervedriver and then, ten years later, booking tours for Adam Franklin (their frontman) as well.

When I was a teen, however, it was the fact that my cousin had started dating Ward Gollings. He was always on tour with HUM, the promoter at the “old” Blind Pig and was constantly bringing me new music to digest. He let me and my 16-year old friends into shows pretty regularly too, letting us hang back with the bands and watch from afar. We didn’t take advantage and drink alcohol, though. We got blazed beforehand.

One of the artists that he introduced us to was The Afghan Whigs. Since he grew up near Cincinnati, and the band hailed from there as well, he was friendly enough with them, to the point I suppose where the lead singer trusted his opinions enough to send him advance copies of albums and autographed photos for his girlfriend’s cousins.

This cut, “Miles Iz Ded” from their 1992 long player Congregation, caps off an album that took the Seattle grunge movement and placed it squarely inside a black gospel church, whitewashed it and threw it back together again. There is no secret to what ails Greg Dulli: love, women, alcohol, fear, religion, sex. He sings about it over and over and over again, but perhaps never as poignantly as he does here.

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