buy the afghan whigs in spades

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New Album: In Spades

Party Like It’s 1965

Afghan Whigs Party Like It’s 1965

Greg Dulli leads a decent life. His band, the Afghan Whigs, has always been critically acclaimed, if not appreciated at the cash register, but Dulli knows that that’s not the most important thing in life. “Superduper superstardom is not what I’m shooting for,” he tells Wall of Sound. “About five years ago, I looked at my life, and I found I was with the people I wanted to be professionally linked with, i.e., my band members, and I was doing exactly what I’d always wanted to do. I would be pretty ungracious and ungrateful if I didn’t realize that. Of course,” he adds with a laugh. “I’d be a f—ing liar if I said I didn’t want to sell more records.”

He may get his chance. 1965, the band’s forthcoming record, is set for a Tuesday release. This time around, though, Dulli and his mates have a brand new label, Columbia, watching their backs. “This is my third [label],” he says. “I demand loyalty and respect. —I guess I’m a rather petulant lover.” His demands, he says, weren’t met by his previous bosses. “When we began recording the new record, we were still under contract, but I refused to make another record for them,” says Dulli. “So, having confidence in my crack legal team and believing in my band, I put up the money for this record myself, and got paid back when it was done. I hadn’t done that since I was 22. It was a little scary. Tthere’s nothing like trying to take 20 bucks out of a cash machine, and being told you’ve only got 14.”

1965 may signify a new beginning for the Whigs, but the title itself, obviously, is a look back at the past. “That was the year that John [Curley] and I were born,” says Dulli. “Rick [McCollum] was born a year later. We wanted something that represents where we came from. Looking back, we realized that 1965 was such a tumultuous year in American history, and we just started to wonder if maybe we’re all f—ed up because of that.”

Through all his problems with his former label Elektra, and through the two and a half years since the Whigs’ last album, Black Love, was released, Dulli, a former film student, has managed to keep himself busy. He recently appeared in the film Monument Avenue, and providing four songs for the flick’s soundtrack with his side project the Twilight Singers. The three-man group, says Dulli, is “my way of doing a solo record without hanging my ass out there alone. The other two singers are Harold Chichester (Howlin’ Maggie) and Shawn Smith (Brad).” A side effect of the Whigs leaving Elektra is that the Twilight Singers followed suit. The band has completed an 11-track album called Twilight, which, says Dulli, has also been picked up by Columbia. “It’s coming out next year,” he says. Fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for a Twilight Singers tour, though. “It’s a very lush, thick record. Unless they want to put an orchestra out there with me, we’re not going out on the road.”

—Anders Wrigh

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