Put That Love Thing On Ya

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Afghan Whigs idol Greg Dulli on suits, Barry White and, of course, soured relationships:

S: How was the band’s cameo in Beautiful Girls, the new Uma Thurman film?

G: Uma was really nice. And we went to see the Black Crowes with Martha Plimpton (Mosquito Coast star). We’re the bar band, we were supposed to be called Johnny Seizure and the Romans, but I heard we weren’t credited as that, which bums me out.

S: You cover Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” in the film.

G: Ted (Demme, the film’s director and nephew of Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme) said, “You guys think you can fuck with old soul songs. I dare you to do some Barry White.” He wanted us to do “My First, My Last, My Everything.” I came back and said we’d do “Can’t Get Enough.” Barry’s heard it too, Ted played it to him and he liked it. We passed the Barry White test , so fuck y’all!!!

S: Aren’t you tired of soul covers?

G: Not at all. We pick songs we genuinely have affection for and jetfuel them or tear their guts out. If we did straight, predictable covers then we’d be Michael Bolton or Simply Red. The common ground between us and the soul songs? We both like to put that love thing on you, baby.

S: Black Love shows you’ve not had much luck with women…

G: Aaah, it’s not all about that again. Gentlemen kind of painted me into that corner. This time there’s a sense of humour that was MIA last time and you can dance to this one. Relationship-wise, the last record was so clearly man/woman. This time a lot had to do with friendships that went bad, and not necessarily with women. And the anger’s more palpable too, it’s more confrontational. Like “Blame,” that’s one pissed off song. Whatever I had up my ass the day I wrote that was pretty bad. No. I’m not a good man to cross. If I love you, I really love you, if I hate you, then look out baby.

S: But it still has that moody, ‘noir’ feel.

G: I hadn’t realised until recently the effect James Ellroy (American crime novelist) had on this record, particularly Black Dahlia, and the film Blood Simple (Coen brothers debut). The record is supposed to unravel cinematically, tell a story that unfolds as you’re listening to it.

S: Glad to see you’re still wearing the suits.

G: Yeah, I got this one six months ago. Got two new ones recently. We were never into plaid or ripped jeans. We were always kinda uniform, it’s always been black. But we could only afford black jeans and black T-shirts, But rips? I don’t wear rips.

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