CiN Weekly – The Gutter Twins

CiN Weekly – The Gutter Twins
Welcome to Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan’s dark world

One image is a shoddy X-ray of conjoined twins. Another is a snapshot of a desolate neighborhood. And another is a sinister portrait of Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan.

Together they make up the art for The Gutter Twins’ new album, Saturnalia.

It’s the debut disc produced by Dulli and Lanegan, arresting frontmen of now-defunct alt-rock bands The Afghan Whigs and Screaming Trees, respectively.

It marks their willingness to plunge into the dark realm of songwriting.

“We wanted it to be different than anything we’d done before, and I think we achieved that,” Lanegan says.

ROMANS AND RELIGION

Saturnalia was a lavish festival in Ancient Rome. During the festival, slaves were viewed as equals to their masters, joining the week-long party.

As the title suggests, Lanegan and Dulli draw on spiritual and tribal values as The Gutter Twins, a very Gothic-blues project.

They sound off like two men playing in a burning church, backed by an acquiescent orchestra. Lanegan’s baritone voice rumbles throughout the album, contrasting with his collaborator’s scratchy, melodic wails.

“I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed it,” Lanegan says of the album. “Although there are a lot of approaches to the songs, they all sort of went together, and I thought it was a complete, realized thing.”

He is semi-taciturn when reached by phone at his Los Angeles home. He’s later asked about the frequent references to heaven and hell on Saturnalia: “And should it please you, Lord, I give this trumpet up to Gabriel,” he and Dulli sing on “Who Will Lead Us?”

“Any song that I’ve been a part of usually starts from some sort of reality - whether it’s past or present, an imagined future,” he says.
THE TWINS

Lanegan and Dulli crossed paths in the late ’90s, staying friends as their aforementioned bands ran their courses. They’ve produced solo albums as well as formed/joined new bands in the subsequent years.

Lanegan was an auxiliary member of Queens of the Stone Age - most notably on its album Songs for the Deaf; he eventually joined Dulli’s full-time band since The Afghan Whigs, The Twilight Singers.

“He was immensely talented and charismatic. I didn’t know how much fun it would be,” Lanegan says. “We had played on each other’s records. We had just never sat down and created a whole album before.”

Dulli splits time between New Orleans and Los Angeles, while Lanegan is a permanent resident in the latter city. But the distance has no bearing on The Gutter Twins.

“I think it’s something we can do whenever we want; whenever we have the time,” Lanegan says. “We enjoy each other’s company. We enjoy traveling together. We enjoy creating together. I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t happen again.”

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