Dulli sticking with his Twilight Singers project

By ED CONDRAN
PhillyBurbs.com

When Greg Dulli came up with the Twilight Singers concept a decade ago, it was modeled after the Golden Palominos.

“I just wanted to do what Anton Fier did with the Golden Palominos,” Dulli says while calling from New Orleans. “It was about one guy, me, being surrounded by different players.”

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Dulli didn’t count on the Twilight Singers being more than a side project. The group formed after The Afghan Whigs, his intense alt-rock act, broke up in 2001 following a 15-year run.

However, Dulli, who works on other projects such as The Gutter Twins, is on Twilight Singers disc No. 5, “Dynamite Steps,” which dropped in February.

“That shows that you never know what will happen,” Dulli says.

“Dynamite Steps” is comprised of intense, melancholy tracks. Dulli is at his most angst-ridden, which recalls his finest hours as an Afghan Whig.

“My approach hasn’t changed,” he says. “I make music for me. I make music that I would like and I think about other people (listeners) later. I love working on these albums with people like (singer-songwriters) Mark (Lanegan), Ani (DiFranco) and (vocalist-violinist) Petra (Haden). Every album, every song is different.”

That alone helps Dulli stand out in a world of recording artists, who release albums with a single and nine songs that sound like the featured track.

“That’s no way to be,” he says.

The Twilight Singers will showcase “Dynamite Steps” Tuesday at the Trocadero.

Expect Dulli to continue crafting Twilight Singer albums. An Afghan Whig reunion is unlikely.

“I’ll never say never, but I don’t see that happening,” he says. “(Afghan Whigs bassist) John (Curley) played with me during my acoustic tour (in 2010) for the Afghan Whig songs. I hadn’t talked to (Afghan Whigs guitarist) Rick (McCollum) in five years. But he called me yesterday and I spoke to him for five minutes.

“It’s good talking to those guys, but I think I’m just going to continue with this. Going back with them would be like having sex with your ex-wife. Maybe that’s fun, but I don’t think I want to do that. I’m having a good time with this. I think I’m doing good work.”

That’s especially so with live performances. Dulli is an engaging entertainer, who lets it all hang loose live.

“I like to go all out,” he says. “I perform like how I want people to perform. I recently saw Prince, and I’m not easily excited, but I was jumping up and down like a little girl at his show. That’s the kind of experience I want to provide. I want to do what moves me. I don’t need to do the expected. I never wanted to do that.

“There’s guys that are way more successful than me, who do what’s best for their career and then there are guys like Jack White, talk about a cash cow, who doesn’t play it safely. He does what he wants and that’s cool because the world really is your oyster.”

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