The Gateway Dulli Interview
October 20, 2006
Gravelly voiced and constantly poetic, musician Greg Dulli sits in his Los Angeles living room talking to me on the phone.
“It’s a beautiful, loving tapestry of complexity,” he says of his new base of operations.
If anyone else on Earth were to say this about LA, you’d think they were posturing for the audience. With Dulli, you know it.
He is genial, but a little sassy. He is a talkative and frank. He is seductive, playful and little full of himself. And he should be.
For the greater part of the 90s, Dulli fronted the alternative band Afghan Whigs, which was the first non-Seattle band to be signed to the grunge powerhouse label SubPop. After the Whigs’ demise he moved on to new pastures. Without stopping to graze, Dulli leapt directly into the Twilight Singers.
The Twilight Singers, while sharing the same velvety sound the Whigs were notorious for, have a slightly more melodic and symphonic feel. They stand under Dulli’s banner of soulful writings and are less guitar-driven than the Afghan Whigs. Instead, they are lush with orchestral arrangements, ballsy covers and guest artists who listeners may have never seen coming.
Despite their very similar faces, Dulli maintains the two bands are inherently different beasts and that fans are starting to see them as two separate entities.
“I’m seeing it really in Europe more than ever. I will occasionally play a Whigs song in my shows: only if I’m feeling it. I don’t ever really do it for any perfunctory [reason],” he says. “[The Twilight Singers] has become its own thing now. That’s the way it is.”
Dulli, who has admits to wrestling in the past with drugs, says he has been clean for quite a while and couldn’t “remember the last time he drank.”
The Twilight Singers were placed on hold for a few brief moments last summer when Dulli formed a Motown inspired side project called The Uptown Lights. They played a few shows in Dulli’s beloved LA before he retreated to a post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.
There he poured over Powder Burns, the latest Twilight Singers full-length release. On Oct. 10 the band released A Stitch in Time, a five-track EP that focuses on former Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan’s bluesy contributions to The Twilight Singers. Lanegan has been recording and performing with the group extensively over the last three years. On the band’s Myspace.com page, myspace.com/twilightsingers, Dulli and Lanegan are referred to as “The Gutter Twins” in one photo caption.
Powder Burns fostered the song “Bonnie Brae” which ended up as the music for a pivotal scene in the F/X drama “Rescue Me” this summer.
Despite this swipe at large scale commercial success he says his presentation and attitude don’t bend to the will of any scene or tour stop.
“Why would I do that?” he asks with indignation in his voice. “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. Every town has some kind of scene.”
Even though he is irritated by the last question, Dulli, a confirmed bachelor with a silver tongue and a way with the ladies, still flirts a little while we wrap up our conversation.
“Love happens when it happens,” he says with a sly laugh. “To be with a particular person is selfish. I like to spread myself around.”
The Twilight Singers will be at Omaha’s Sokol Underground on Oct. 30. The all ages show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are available for $15 at onepercentproductions.com or at any Homer’s location. The Stars of Track and Field as well as Jeff Klein will open.