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Dulli’s Ego in Bono World

Dulli’s ego is in Bono world

By John Benson

Being a rock star is a hard gig, no matter what anyone tells you. And for every hundred or so self-indulgent, hackneyed posers who gain ephemeral success and think celebrity is their profession, there are one or two self-indulgent individuals who can justify the title of rock star, even if their success is more in their head then on the record charts.

That brings us to Greg Dulli, former singer/songwriter of the Afghan Whigs who is continuing his musical career with his own band the Twilight Singers. In terms of ego, Dulli is in Bono world, but his honesty is refreshing in an industry filled with smoke-and-mirror aided imposters.

Currently touring the Twilight Singers’ sophomore release “Blackberry Belle,” with a Wednesday show at the Grog Shop, Dulli reacts to the comment that his latest disc is a decadent affair.

“Well, you know, I’ve been accused of decadence in the past, using my name in the same sentence as the word decadence does not surprise me,” said Dulli, calling from his home in suburban Los Angeles.

“That’s a winning bet every time. I’d bet trifecta on that. Probably because of my past, in the subjects that I chose to write about throughout my life, that’s probably where that comes from. I tend to be a little more interested as a writer, the more morally ambiguous subject as it were.”

The Twilight Singers’ debut disc “Twilight as Played by the Twilight Singers,” which possessed an alternative and trip-hop sounding flair, was a marked departure from the Afghan Whigs’ alternative-meets-soul sound.

As for “Blackberry Belle,” which includes another revolving door of interesting and valued musicians, such as Queens of the Stone Age/Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan and even former Prince singer Apollonia, the heart of the disc remains true to the first album’s mindset with occasional dalliances into the Whigs’ penchant for R&B rhythms.

In regard to the upcoming Twilight Singers tour, fans of Dulli will find the singer/musician in good vocal shape but should not expect the same improvisational-jam-friendly atmosphere that marked the live Afghan Whigs experience.

“Because with the Whigs, you had a group of guys who had been playing together since they were 19 years old, who could just read each other’s minds,” said Dulli. “I’ll never have that again. That’s just repetition and living with each other for years at a time in vans and buses.”

As a veteran touring musician, Dulli has gained insight into the business of rock’n’roll that perhaps sounds cocky but ultimately is nothing more than a rock star voicing his truth after discovering what works best for his show, his time in the spotlight.

Despite the fact local act Rosavelt has been named opener for the upcoming Northeast Ohio show, Dulli offered his opinion regarding the concept of an opening act.

“I don’t really concern myself with who else plays,” said Dulli.

“As we got later and later into the Whigs career, I preferred to have DJs open up for us because that is an easy cleanup when they are done. I have nothing against other bands, but I’m not usually there to see them. And if I’m going out to do a tour, it is kind of a selfish, all about me, experience.”

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