Is The Afghan Whigs’ “Miles Iz Ded” One Of The Greatest Songs Ever?

Jul 6th, 2008 // 13 Comments


It’s probably fitting that I was at a bar when I realized that my musical aesthetic of right now was more informed by the Afghan Whigs’ bonus-track-gone-EP-anchor “Miles Iz Ded” than pretty much any other piece of music in existence. Originally a “bonus” track on Congregation that flowed right into (and in my opinion outshone) a lot of the material on its attendant album, it has taken on a life of its own in my personal pantheon (even if it’s not offically realized by discographers); its junkies-gone-wild video above has only helped that process. (For those of you with long-ish memories: It’s been a year and a half since we posted this song, so I think it’s fair game for revisiting at this particular moment, i.e. me finding it on my local’s jukebox and realizing that it’s still so freaking good.) The last-call apocalypse feel of this track, which I suppose is more epitomized by the description “drinking itself into oblivion” than anything else, rings as true for me now as it did 15 years ago, when I was first wondering “wtf is this?” while letting my 5-disc changer run wild. After the jump, a video clip of “Miles” live (from an unnamed-on-YouTube festival) that more than holds up to the studio rendition.

Oh, Madonna. I really hope that Matthew Perpetua includes this track in s his whole “Your New Influences” thing sometime very soon.

(PS: The question in the subject line might in fact be moot, because “Miles” is definitely one of my favorite songs ever. I don’t know what would even challenge it for No. 1. “Across 110th St”? “Borderline”? “Bathroom Wall”? The mind reels.)

Afghan Whigs – Miles Iz Ded] [YouTube]
MILES IZ DED the afghan whigs [YouTube]
Congregation [Sub Pop]

idolator

  1. OingoBobo

    Holey moley, that video. Goodness.

  2. dyfl

    I love this song. I sometimes have fantasies about being a multi-millionaire who could bribe the Whigs into reforming just to play it for me. Leaving it off that best-of was a big mistake (but then, that best-of skipped “Somethin’ Hot” too, so y’know, WTF).

  3. Luke N Atmaguchi

    Dulli noted . . .

  4. bnb614

    Thanks for the memories Maura!

    Great song, but nothing will top the CD “Gentlemen” for me. The song My Curse with Marcy Mays’ (The Scrawl) haunting vocals is amazing.

    Too bad these guys broke up before their time considering Greg’s acting career never really took off. The last record 1965 had promise but ended up not being too great.

    How great it would be to re-live some of the Afghan Whigs/Howlin’ Maggie tours from the 90s…

  5. Whigged

    Reason #23 why the band should be reuniting at the SP20 show this weekend. No offense to The Gutter Twins or anything.

  6. amandacobra

    @dyfl:

    If said moneybags is gonna pony up the loot to get the Whigs back together, can I ask that “Retarded” also appear somewhere in this reunion setlist?

  7. bnb614

    In a recent interview Dulli (and Lanegan) both said they get tons of money thrown at each of them to reunite the Afghan Whigs and Screaming Trees respectively, and both said they have no desire to do so…..

  8. Quickreach

    Not as good as Crime Scene Pt. 1 off of the Black Love album but I digress. :-)

  9. mackro

    I saw the Whigs open for Teenage Fanclub in ’92 (at Fairfax High School in L.A., I think). They ended with “Miles Iz Ded”. Lotsa bobbing heads for that one.

  10. Anonymous

    @bnb614:

    I was nostalgic for those days not too long ago and dug out Howlin’ Maggie’s Honeysuckle Strange. I kind of put it on while cringing, fully anticipating that it would sound really dated. But alas… not dated and I loved it all over again.

  11. skweetis

    I’m not trying to hate, but has anyone noticed that every Dulli song, including Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers, and Gutter Twins uses the harmonic device where there’s one note that goes with all of the chords? So you could just sit there and rock out on that one note and it would never sound “wrong” for the whole song? Once I noticed it, it drives me crazy whenever I here one of his songs. I call this musical device “a hit Goo Goo Dolls song”.

  12. I got this

    Hate to break this to y’all…if there is a ’2′ anywhere in the year of your post, you are best off not writing about any of this. Some of do care, and long before u. I think greenday might be more your speed.

  13. Ido_Tel_Aviv

    Story behind the song –

    The album was already done when singer Greg Dulli received indirect inspiration on the day Miles Davis passed. Dulli checked his answering machine; there were two messages. The first was from music-biz veteran David Katznelson, providing directions to a cookout. The second, also from Katznelson, was just seven words long: “Miles is dead. Don’t forget the alcohol.” Dulli had his lyric, guitarist Rick McCollum had the riff, and the rest fell into place in the studio hastily, giving us an Afghan Whigs classic and a glimpse of what was to come on their seminal 1993 album Gentlemen. (Recorded at Ultrasuede Studio, Northside.)

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