ERIC KASSEL (Guitar & Vocals)
PETER HILGENDORF (Guitar & Vocals)
PJ MALMGREN (Bass)
JOHN CHRISTENSON (Drums)
They performed around the midwest from 1991-1995 and played shows alongside Semisonic (Pleasure), The Magnolias, The Glenrustles, Big Backyard, and The Vibro Champs. They released one album, Last Call.
The recordings released as Last Call were taken from four separate sessions in the early 1990s. The originals had been hastily mixed and distributed on cassette tape in classic DIY-demotape fashion—they were never commercially available.
It almost ended there.
So, why go mess with those old recordings? What took so long?
“Life got in the way” says songwriter/singer/guitarist Eric Kassel (also of Crossing Guards, The Magnolias, The Beatifics, & VioVoom). The band broke up before anything could be done with the recordings and the recordings were never given a proper release.
Then a forgotten tape was found, a 16-track ADAT recording of the final performance of The Whirligigs from December 1995 at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis, MN. (The band hung it up just days after the show.) It took years to track the tape down from the recording engineer and to find a studio with the proper dual-ADAT setup. When the tape was finally transferred to ProTools in 2011, it was as if a time capsule had been opened. It captured a rock band in top form, with hard-hitting and emotional performances—the sound of a band with confidence, experience, and vulnerability. Listening through the first time, Kassel was re-introduced to a few 15-year-old songs he had written that had only been performed once, and long since forgotten. One of those songs, “Writing a Book,” told the story of a protaganist looking back on his life upon discovering a box of memories—and being motivated to act on them. To put them “down on paper” and tell his story. At that very moment it became clear to Kassel and Hilgendorf that the project needed completion. There needed to be closure.
In the Summer of 2011 the band got together in Kassel’s studio and re-cut “I’m Writing a Book.” The original reel-to-reel tapes were located in a basement in Minnetonka, and next 8 months were spent restoring them, transferring them to Pro Tools, choosing the best of over 30 songs, adding polish and recording additional instruments on top of the old tracks. Lastly, the recordings were finally given a proper mixing and mastering.