If not the best band of the nineties
, then certainly the best Irish
band of the nineties. The following bio is cut 'n' pasted from the Whipping Boy
site at http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palms/7690/whipping_boy
Chapter One of their decade-long saga kicks off in Edenberry, County Offaly, where they played their first gig at a 21st birthday party. Back then, there had also been a fifth female member and they were known as Lolita and the Whipping Boy. Ironically, ‘Lolita’ became a born again Christian and was swiftly booted out when she attempted to convert the others. “She was coming to rehearsals with all this literature and leaving it lying around on the amplifiers and stuff. You’d find it in your pocket when you got home. She had to be blasted out,” bass player Myles Mcdonnell recalls with humour.
The release of their 1992 debut album, ‘Submarine’, on Cheree Records was followed by a lengthy stay in Limboland when Whipping Boy were “just lying around and not being used”. Proceedings only began to solidify again when Columbia boss, Kip Kroner, witnessed a Whipping Boy gig in Dublin and was swept off his feet by the name. Love for the music instantly followed and not far behind was a two-album deal with the label. “He was one hundred and ten per cent behind us!” guitarist Paul Page chirps. However, the disappointing response to their album, ‘Heartworm’, was proceeded by the departure of Kroner and the arrival of new staff who “just didn’t like the music the way the other people did.” Consequently, the band and label reached the decision to prematurely terminate the relationship. “It’s like any other relationship,” Paul offers philosophically, “When it goes bad, there’s no point in continuing.”
It has now been over half a year since Whipping Boy re-entered Limboland, but they are determined that this time, it will be a flying visit. They realise that the bulk of the problem has been to do with how music has to be in fashion to succeed nowadays. “We toyed with the idea of writing an album full of complete crap because it seems as though that’s what sells at the moment. Just like people sell square Hula Hoops, bands are selling cheekbones and fringes. No one’s really listening to the music.” Myles is half-heartedly attempting to account for the outrageous apathy to which ‘Heartworm’ was subjected. Poignantly
tender and yet passionately open-hearted, with lyrics scratched out in brutal sincerity, ‘Heartworm’ was the raw but beautiful diamond which tragically slipped into oblivion. It was more ignored than rejected, merely for its timeless charm and uncanny beauty. But Myles is adamant that they would not have done it any other way. “’Heartworm’ just didn’t slot in with the Britpop of 1994. It was too emotional, but there’s nothing wrong with that.”
The most emotional moment on ‘Heartworm’ comes in the form of the fifth song, “We Don’t Need Nobody Else”, which indicates how, at its most heartfelt, music can be an incredibly sensual experience. Melancholic but exhilarating, it tears your heart apart whilst blowing kisses into your soul. Singer Ferghal Mckee’s quirky lyrical edge is fully apparent. “Why say words that I do not mean? They’ll only serve to amuse, ridicule and destroy, and hardly ever to teach.” Often, his lyrics will appear nonsensical but always there is an underlying universal message which will surface. There is a line in their song, “Tripped”, which goes “Accept your mind, and your body lives.” Myles offers his interpretation. “It is all about accepting your limitations in life. Whipping Boy are never going to be The Beatles, nor are we going to be the Velvet Underground. We are what we are and we do it as well as we can. You can spend your whole life wanting to be something else or somebody else and you’re never going to get there.”
So are they confident for the future? Myles shrugs his shoulders but smiles. “If enough people had heard ‘Heartworm’, we could have been The Verve,” he concedes without a hint of arrogance. “But it just didn’t happen. It’s nothing for us to worry about or to get bitter over. We’re still here and it might yet happen.”
Whipping Boy split up in early 1998, but they got the money together to release their third, and final, album "Whipping Boy" in 2000.
Whipping Boy (Low Rent) 2000