Alt-rock veteran keeps active
By SUZANNE SANDERS
Greg Dulli remains one of the most celebrated figures of the alternative rock boom of the late 1980s and ’90s. His Afghan Whigs found a cult following with a garage-based sound solidified by deep lyrics.
Dulli has remained active with what originally was a side project. The Twilight Singers will perform May 19 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago, in support of the band’s new album, “Powder Burns.”
“I like the live feel of it,” Dulli said of the album. “The other couple of records were sort of in a solitary environment — done kind of piecemeal,” he said. “This one was done with actual players in the same room at the same time, so it has that energy. And it hangs together cohesively, although the songs are varied and eclectic. What ties it all together is the live mood.”
The album is a lush-sounding affair that is just rough enough around the edges. Noise reigns here, but melody underscores it.
During the gigs, Dulli says, the songs take on lives of their own.
“The songs stretch out live, and they’re like children in that they begin to gain an identity and an individual personality,” he said. “I have no interest in re-creating exactly what I did in the studio. So they take on a personality, and they’re unchained.”
Dulli’s career itself has taken on a life of its own, as well.
“I own two bars in Los Angeles, so that takes the pressure off,” he said. “I do various things. I certainly don’t count on rock ‘n’ roll to feed me, clothe me and house me. But it’s like the mafia: Once you’re in, you’re in until you die.”
Still, Dulli acknowledges that the pull of the music does drive him.
“It’s the work itself, the creation, the application and the craft of doing,” he said. “It’s my favorite thing to do in the world — to make records. And I love to play live. That’s the reward in itself.
“If you’re locked in with the audience and the give and take and push and pull begins, it’s downright sexual.”