Post-Whigs Warm up

With his new solo album coming out, we sit down to chat with former Afghan Whig Greg Dulli

CHRIS VARIAS
Cinweekly.com

Greg Dulli is doing a bit of housecleaning.

On Tuesday, the former Afghan Whigs singer releases Greg Dulli’s Amber Headlights, a collection of songs that dates back to 2001, after the breakup of Cincinnati’s beloved Whigs.

Dulli was in the midst of the Amber Headlights sessions in January 2002 when his close friend Ted Demme died unexpectedly at the age of 38. After that, Dulli shelved the tapes and set out on another musical project.

Now, more than three years later, Dulli feels the need to put out those long-ago recordings. During a phone conversation from his Los Angeles home, the Hamilton native explains why and tackles other pressing matters of the day.

CIN: Is it tough to get fired up to do publicity for a record you made three or four years ago?

DULLI: No, I love to talk about myself. Are you kidding me?

CIN: Why are you finally getting around to releasing it?

DULLI: It wasn’t a finished record. It was that moment in time before everything happened. I got asked by people all the time about those songs. I decided to put it out, so I could get it behind me and people would stop asking me about it.

CIN: Talk about Ted Demme. Why did his death affect you as it did?

DULLI: Ted was a very talented film director (Blow, Life, Beautiful Girls). He was also a very good friend of mine. We lived in New York at the same time, and we collaborated on some movie projects. We moved to L.A. around the same time. He was my running buddy. I saw him on a Friday night, and he died Sunday afternoon. It would be like if your brother or sister died, when you become that close to someone in life. The songs I was working on up until Teddy’s death meant nothing to me. That’s why I stopped and began working on (the Twilight Singers’ 2002 record) Blackberry Belle.

CIN: Are you touring in support of the record?

DULLI: No. The Twilight Singers (Dulli’s post-Whigs band) have a new record coming out around February called Powder Burns. We will be touring then.

CIN: (Ex-Whigs bassist) John Curley makes an appearance on Amber Headlights. Will this be the last project you guys do together?

DULLI: No way. When (Curley’s Cincinnati band) the Staggering Statistics left for their mini-tour of the East Coast a couple months ago, I called him in New York and said, “What are you doing there?” At the end of the Whigs he was tired of the road. It shows that rock ‘n’ roll is like the mafia: You don’t quit it; you’re in it till you die. The chances of John and me playing live or in the studio are 99 percent. He’s my guy. I love to drive him crazy. He’s one of the best bass players on the planet and one of the best people on the planet.

CIN: Justin Jeffre from the boy band 98 Degrees is running for mayor of Cincinnati. Does he have a chance?

DULLI: If he runs as a Democrat in Cincinnati he’ll lose. That’s all I can say to that. (Jeffre is an independent.)

CIN: Would you ever run for elected office back home in Cincinnati or Butler County?

DULLI: I would have to run on a complete and utter painfully honest ticket. I’d have to start my speech, “You’ve probably heard a lot of bad things about me, and most of those things are true.” I have no interest in politics, dude. I will help people and work at doing good things, but not in politics.

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