Album confronts Dulli’s demons

The Enquirer – Album confronts Dulli’s demons
By Gil Kaufman

There must be easier ways to record an album. But even if there were, former Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli wouldn’t have tried them.

When it came time to work on the fourth CD by the Twilight Singers, Dulli waded into the waters left behind by Katrina to lay down tracks in his adopted home of New Orleans. The results can be heard on “Powder Burns,” which blends chilled-out tracks with Dulli’s patented mix of rock and soul, and lyrics that allude to his struggle to emerge from a nearly decade-long drug haze.

The album, in stores Tuesday, also features help from friends such as singer/songwriters Joseph Arthur and Ani DiFranco and former Whigs bandmate John Curley. Dulli will swing into town on Saturday for a show at the Southgate House.

Question: How did you end up in New Orleans after Katrina?

Answer: I like to finish what I started where I started it. I’ve recorded my last four records in New Orleans, and my reason for doing that was New Orleans is a dear friend of mine, and if you only stick around your friends in goods times and not bad, you’re not a friend.

Q: Do you think some of that chaos sunk into the record?

A: I don’t see how it could not have. I don’t know if you could see what I saw and not be affected. If you have a soul, you’re gonna feel things that you’ve never felt before. I saw people crying for food and water.

Q: What’s different about writing songs sober? Or relatively sober?

A: Yeah, relatively. I drink a bit still. It’s not harder, but it’s hard for me to remember what it was like doing it the other way. I seem to have done OK. I definitely sing better, but do I play better? Nah. I think I played some great stuff (messed) up.

Q: You keep in touch with John Curley, who is on the album. Any chance of a Whigs cash-in reunion?

A: I’ve played with him for almost 20 years, and he’s my favorite bass player. I think that bands break up for a reason … they’ve done what they’re going to do. I have a deep abiding friendship with John Curley and (ex-Whigs guitarist) Rick McCollum and I would rather have that.

Q: Is there anything you miss about Cincinnati?

A: I was there in September for MidPoint and hung out for a while and saw mom and sister and cousin. After we play the show on Saturday, we go to Indianapolis on Sunday and I’m coming back Monday to go to the Reds game. I have a satellite package so I can watch them wherever I am. I always will be a Southern Ohio boy.

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