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Twilight Zone

Ex-Afghan Whigs frontman explores his dark side

By Michael C. Harris

After spending the last 20-plus years touring, Greg Dulli has wound up in an enviable position for a musician. He owns a hipster hang in L.A. (the Short Stop, a rehabbed cop bar in the shadow of Dodgers Stadium) and he got out of his major record label deal, allowing him to record and perform only when he wants and with whomever he wants as The Twilight Singers.

Fans got their first taste of Dulli’s wry, soulful approach while he fronted the acclaimed rock outfit Afghan Whigs. With The Twilight Singers, Dulli, 38, takes a darker approach, particularly on the band’s new album, “Blackberry Belle.”

The new album opens with the line “Black out the windows, it’s party time.” Are the Twilights strictly denizens of the night?

Yes. “Black out the windows” is speed freak parlance for let’s make it nighttime for two weeks. There’s not much vernacular that gets past me. I listen to what people say, and when I heard that [phrase] I thought it was one of the eeriest things I’d ever heard.

So there’s a distinct noir-ish feeling to The Twilight Singers?

I love James Ellroy. Love Raymond Chandler. Love “Dial M For Murder,” “Double Indemnity”–I’m fascinated by that [stuff]. To me, messing with someone’s mind is way worse than anything you can do to them physically.

Ever get the urge to write something crazy, like a love song?

Yeah. I’ve tried it a few times. I don’t know what happens, but something mean happens around the chorus. It starts out nice ….

You’re on an independent label, so you actually lose a chunk of change every time someone downloads your music for free. Do you care?

I think they should pay me for it. But I’m not uptight about it. It’s inevitable, and to fight the inevitable is folly. But I can’t just go into your orchard and start picking apples ’cause they’re there, you know? I’m all for downloading, but somebody somewhere has to kick a brother a nickel.

Catch the Twilight Singers at Double Door.

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