Dulli Interview – Omaha City Weekly
Omaha City Weekly
By Jeremy Buckley
Sometimes it’s something as simple as the death of a loved one or the birth of a child for a person with a drug problem to realize it’s time for some change.
For Greg Dulli, former lead singer of the Afghan Whigs and someone that has battled drug addiction for years, it took one of the worst natural disasters in American history to set him straight.
“Four of my friends lost their houses completely (during Hurricane Katrina) and it’s impossible to be in a situation like that and not be affected,” Dulli said.
Dulli, who currently performs with the Twilight Singers with former Screaming Trees member Mark Lanegan, will be in Omaha on Oct. 30 to perform songs from the bands newest album “Powder Burns,” recorded in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Katrina.
The band used generators to provide power and many of the lyrics to the album’s songs were written by candlelight.
“I saw kind of a parallel between my situation and what was going on in New Orleans and some things went hand in hand,” Dulli said, referring to his drug addiction.
“It helped me stop self destructing and it’s been over 1,200 days since I’ve done any drugs.”
Some musicians are reluctant to open up about their problems with drugs, but Dulli said he’s open to discussing anyone’s situation if they’re struggling with addiction. He stressed that he never tells people what decisions to make from that point on, but to listen and share his own experiences and let people draw their own conclusions about what to do.
“I won’t tell anyone not to do the things they’re doing. I don’t have any children. I’m not your daddy,” Dulli said.
He said being on the road for constant touring makes it easy to fall into the habit of self-medicating, pointing out that even with a 90 minute show each night there is still 22 and a half hours a day to kill.
“Powder Burns” is largely an autobiographical album for Dulli, but the band still put efforts into finding collaborators to work on the different songs. The album features appearances from Joseph Arthur and Ani Di Franco, with Di Franco chiming in on multiple songs.
“It worked out pretty easy with Ani,” Dulli said. “Her boyfriend is my producer and I just asked her over lunch if she wanted to be involved.”
Dulli also recently collaborated with Omaha musician Denver Dalley on a project he’s working on called Intramural. The debut album from that band is still in the works but Dulli said he’s always open to collaborating on various projects.
“When I met Denver I could tell right away that he was just a lovely young man,” Dulli said. “He asked me if I was interested in contributing some vocals and when I listened to the track it just blew my mind.”