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Dulli Honors Demme

Dulli Honors Demme on “Belle”

New Twilight Singers album inspired by late director

Greg Dulli returned to the stage for the first time in three years last night at Los Angeles’ Spaceland to debut the new lineup of his band the Twilight Singers and their album, Blackberry Belle, due October 14th.

Backed by guitarist Jon Skibic, bassist Scott Ford, drummer Bobby McIntyre and keyboardist Mathias Schneeberger (who co-produced most of Blackberry Belle), the former Afghan Whigs frontman played seven of the album’s eleven tracks, as well as material from the first Twilight Singers disc and some of the eclectic covers (Kate Bush’s “Cloudbursting,” the instrumental portion of Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla”) fans have come to expect.

The Twilight Singers began as a collective Dulli modeled after Anton Fier’s Golden Palominos, but since the breakup of the Whigs they have evolved into a full-fledged band. Among their guests on Belle are Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan to Purple Rain co-star Appolonia Kotero.

Their hiatus was not supposed to last so long, but when Dulli received word in January 2002 that his friend and filmmaker Ted Demme (Blow, Beautiful Girls, which features a cameo by Afghan Whigs) had died, he scrapped a nearly completed album and started over.

“That guy was my big brother,” Dulli says. “I was with him Friday, and he was dead on Sunday. So the shock of his passing . . . My life changed inexorably after that. That record wasn’t me anymore.”

There’s a raw sound to the new album, particularly compared to the Twilight Singers’ moody 2000 debut, which paired Dulli with Fila Brazillia. “That wasn’t going to be my trip this time,” says Dulli.

Dulli penned the eleven tracks in a creative burst. “I’m a pretty visceral writer,” he says. “Whatever’s happening to me is going to come out in anything that I do.”

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