Episode 33: John Curley of the Afghan Whigs

Musician. Producer. Recording Engineer. Photographer. Non-traditional college student… John Curley is best known for his work with the Afghan Whigs, but he’s also played in a few local bands, and produced and/or engineered music for hundreds, mostly at Ultrasuede Studio. He’s still playing, still producing, but recently went back to college as well. We chat with John about all those things — and the worst radio promotion the Afghan Whigs ever did — in this episode.

John Curley, WXPN/former 97X DJ Dan Reed, and Greg Dulli
The Afghan Whigs original lineup.
John at Ultrasuede Studio (Photo credit: Anna Bentley, the Cincinnati Enquirer)

After 25 years in Camp Washington, John’s Ultrasuede studio (formerly the historic QCA Studio A) was forced out in 2018 when a new owner bought the building . Check out this CityBeat article about Ultrasuede’s final days on Spring Grove Avenue.

Photo credit: John Curley

At the Spring Grove address, John produced and/or engineered essential recordings by numerous acts, including Joe’s band Wussy, The Greenhornes, White Stripes, Ronnie Spector, Patti Smith, Ass Ponys, Buffalo Killers, Magnolia Mountain, Pearlene, Heartless Bastards and Barrence Whitfield & The Savages. His early production successes include the Whigs’ covers EP Uptown Avondale and album tracks such as Congregation’s “Miles Iz Ded” and Gentlemen’s “If I Were Going.” He even recorded the violin-like whine that opens the Whigs’ Black Love album by ambient mic’ing the railroad tracks that wind past the studio and recording the sound of a freight train’s squealing brakes, which were later cross-faded in the mix with a Hammond B-3 organ.

From this CityBeat article

John is now producing music at The Lodge in Dayton, Kentucky. Here’s a nice article by Gil Kaufman about John’s move there.

The Lodge co-owner Scott Beseler and John Curley. Photo from this WCPO.com article.

Working with original bands to make great recordings since vinyl was cool the first time.

From the Ultrasuede Studio website

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