The Case of the Afghan Whigs and the Haunted Studio
Probably the coolest thing that happened—which I was really kind of happy about—was with the band Afghan Whigs.”
The one-time Sub Pop signees were overdubbing songs for their Black Love album at Robert Lang Studio in the fall of 1995. The band had been hearing strange noises and a tape machine had broken down without warning—the explanation is complex, but repeated calls to the manufacturer stumped technicians. Two nights in a row, engineer Steve Culp woke up Lang with phone calls, asking him to come to the studio and assuage the band. The second time, Lang says, he arrived to find singer Greg Dulli with a fearful look on his face. A friend of Dulli’s—a medium—had been in the house and declared supernatural forces at work.
Whigs bassist John Curley says his memory of the sessions have dulled with time, but he does recall strange goings-on, enough to convince the band a medium was a good idea. “Greg’s friend came over and did her thing,” which included burning sage to cleanse the space, Curley says. “After that, there were no more occurrences that I was aware of. She told us that spirits can sometimes manifest through electrical systems, which is why lights will flicker and tape machines go crazy.” Curley remains uncertain about the tape machine and the medium’s intervention. “What happened there was odd, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it proves anything. Certainly the place has that kind of vibe, even for someone who’d consider himself a skeptic.”