Collaborations brew with leader of The Twilight Singers
By: John Wenz
Laundry was never a rock star trapping.
But just before The Twilight Singers started its tour Tuesday, that’s exactly what Greg Dulli was doing.
He also had to get a hold of the gardener to make sure everything was in order and get somebody to pick up his mail.
For the gentleman who once asked us, “Do you think I’m evil,” it’s all so downright … domestic.
“The bus is picking us up at midnight tonight, so I have to do all this stuff now,” Dulli said, speaking Monday from his Los Angeles home.
Dulli is almost certainly the most confessed prick of 1990s alternative rock, rising up from Ohio with The Afghan Whigs, who would become the first non-Washington band signed to Sub Pop Records. The band’s records were a mix of hard rock, funk, soul and liberal doses of nihilism, self-loathing and dark energy.
But on the breakup of the Whigs after its album “1965,” Dulli began to continue forth with some of the work he had been doing on his own, striking out as The Twilight Singers.
If the Whigs was Dulli miring in his twisted muck, The Twilight Singers is the upward battle to redemption.
“The Afghan Whigs were four guys that got together when they were 20 years old,” he said. “It’s a gang mentality – you against the world.”
But with that gang mentality comes the inevitable clash of the egos, and any move made in the band is one that potentially causes friction.
But with The Twilight Singers, Dulli has reign over the music that comes out.
“The Twilight Singers is a collective with me at the head of the snake, and if I decide to bring anybody in, nobody’s toes get stepped on,” he said.
This means that in addition to his touring band, Dulli has been able to bring in collaborators, like ex-Screaming Trees/Queens of the Stone Age musician Mark Lanegan and singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco.
In the former, Dulli has also found a continuous collaborator, one who has shown up for Twilight Singers performances. It has even led to a partnering of the two minds under the name the Gutter Twins.
“He’s one of my favorite singers ever. We share a lot in common musically,” Dulli said. “I think when you have a friend of the caliber and talent of his, you’re a fool not to collaborate with him.”
Liken it to what you want – two of the most menacing songwriters together in one place, an inversion of the Glimmer Twins (Mick and Keith) – but Dulli goes down a less urban route.
He cites Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s collaborations as the inspiration that comes to the forefront of his mind.
“I loved that they were doing Waylon and Willie songs, but that they’d both sing on the other guys’ songs as well,” he said.
But will that be the model for the Gutter Twins?
“It’s rock ‘n’ roll, man. (It) doesn’t have rules,” he said. “What we’re doing now is not what we’re doing with the Gutter Twins.
“To plan too far ahead … I’m not a civil servant, I don’t have to.”