The band was formed in 1996 by synthesizer -player/ vocalist David Swanson, bassist Steve Damstra, and drummer Brad Holland, all sixteen years old at the time. The band’s name originates from the cover art done by Raymond Pettibon for Sonic Youth ’s 1990 release Goo . They played their first show on March 17, 1997. In 1999 the group was joined by guitarist Jason Eberspeaker and released a 45, continuing to play gigs around Michigan.

One such gig was attended by Jack White of The White Stripes , who offered to record them. On June 20, 2000, the same day as the release of the White Stripes’ album De Stijl , Whirlwind Heat recorded a handful of songs in White’s attic studio. A single entitled “Glaxefusion” was released on Italy Records soon after, as well as a track on White’s 2001 compilation, Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit released by Sympathy Records .

Eberspeaker soon left the band to follow a career in fine arts. In August 2002, over a brief four-day period, the remaining trio recorded what would be the debut album not only for the band, but for White’s label collaboration with V2 Records, Third Man Records. (White also produced the album.) The album, Do Rabbits Wonder? , was released on Third Man Records with distribution by V2 Records and XL Recordings on April 15, 2003, as well as later releasing a cover of the White Stripes song “You’re Pretty Good Looking” for the soundtrack of The Hot Chick . The music video for the single “Purple” was shot by fashion/celebrity photographer Terry Richardson in New Paltz, NY. The video featured models, Susan Eldridge and Kemp Muhl .

In 2004 the band released a short EP entitled Flamingo Honey , written and recorded in five hours. The EP features ten songs, all approximately one minute in length.

The band’s second full-length album Types of Wood was released on April 24, 2006 in the by Brille Records. The album photos of model Susan Eldridge were shot by Terry Richardson . Types of Wood has 11 tracks including the singles Reagan which also features on the Reagan EP . Along with the release of the album, the band filmed a video for each song. The video for Reagan was directed by Matthew Gray Gubler who cast his younger brother in the video as a fourth member of the band.

Whirlwind Heat’s last live performance was at Summer Sonic Festival in Tokyo, Japan on August 13th, 2006.

In 2007 Whirlwind Heat collaborated with Devonte Hynes (of the now defunct Test Icicles , Lightspeed Champion , and currently Blood Orange ) and called the project Lightspeed Heat .

The band self-released Self Titled or Scoop Du Jour on July 4th, 2008, under their own record label imprint Heat Enterprises.