RIFTrock.com – Dulli Interview
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Writers note: My interview with Greg Dulli of The Twilight Singers and Afghan Whigs fame comes right before the Twilight Singers embark on a US tour to promote “Powder Burns” the band’s new disc. Greg was able to conduct the interview through e-mail.
Ben: Greg, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. I’ve been a big fan of yours for many years now and I’m very grateful for this opportunity.
Ben: The new album, Powder Burns, is excellent. It seems a bit more uptempo than the earlier Twilight Singers discs, what influenced you during the recording process?
Greg: I think that my joining the Italian rock group, Afterhours for their tour a year ago rekindled my interest in hard rock. I really enjoyed playing electric guitar again and i think that carried over more than anything else.
Ben: It’s pretty well known that you love New Orleans. Were you in the area last year when Hurricane Katrina hit? And how did the hurricane affect your writing/recording of Powder Burns?
Greg: I was in Italy touring with the aforementioned Afterhours when Katrina arrived. However, I maintain a residence in New Orleans and had begun recording there just a few weeks before the storm. There was never a question in my mind that I wouldn’t finish the record there. It is my favorite place to write and record. The fact that it was apocalypic and virtually abandoned when I returned last October certainly influenced my feelings and observations. I don’t see how they couldn’t have.
Ben: The show here in Omaha, NE is being billed with Mark Lanegan. Vocally, Mark has had a fairly limited role in the Twilight Singers, what brought about the decision to bring him on tour this time and what will he bring to the band on stage?
Greg: Mark has been touring with us since May and has played approximately 50 shows with us so far this tour. It is a cabaret act in a sense, and as he and I have been collaborating on a project recently, we saw it as an excellent excuse to dress rehearse the Gutter Twins dynamic.
Ben: Between the revolving door of additional musicians for the Twilight Singers and the set lineup of the Afghan Whigs, which type of band setting do you prefer to work in?
Greg: The set dynamic in the Whigs worked for us then, because it was who we were at the time. Once that ended, I was left to experiment and continue to do so. I’m just walking down the road…
Ben: You’ve done lots of work with other bands and musicians through your career, from Muggs to Afterhours and Lanegan among many others, what draws you to work with these other musicians and contribute in such a big way to their records?
Greg: I am a fan of their music and am humbled to be asked to participate. I really love to play, I have since I was a boy and I like the learning experience of collaboration.
Ben: Speaking of Afterhours, I love their new disc, tell me a little about how you became involved in that album.
Greg: The Twilights did a tour with them in Italy during Blackberry Belle and we hit it off. They asked me to produce their next album and I took them to a studio in Sicily and built it with them from the ground up. I ended up co-writing 4 songs and playing on almost all of them, so they asked me to join the band for a bit and I ended up moving to Italy for almost a year.
Ben: Summerskiss.com has begun looking for bands to do an Afghan Whigs cover album. Your music is very inspirational and influential, my wife and I even played “66” and “John The Baptist” at our reception, how does it feel to know that your music has touched so many people in different ways?
Greg: Well, I’ve always thought that music moved in a communal way. It has been my constant companion since I can remember and I think that when someone can evoke a feeling you’ve felt either conciously or not, there is a connection to the writer and performers that is almost familial.
Ben: There’s also a note on Summerskiss about a possible reunion of the Whigs, can you tell me anything about it?
Greg: We recorded two songs for a retrospective and that is all. There will be no tour, no new album. Just old friends hanging out for a week.
Ben: Are there any surprises or new songs you’ve been working on that you’ll be bringing on the road this tour?
Greg: Of course.
Ben: Lastly, I always like to ask what kind of bands my interviewee is listening to lately. Are there any new bands that you’re excited about?
Greg: Slender Means from Seattle and The Hiders from Cincinnati
Ben: Thank you again for your time and the interview and especially the years of great music. I look forward to seeing you in Omaha next month.
Greg: Ciao, amico mio.