Interview with Greg for the Italian magazine Rockerilla.
November, 2003 Edition
1. What happened in the years between the first and the new Twilight Singers record and which is your view of Twilight Singers right now?
**i split up my band, moved back to los angeles, bought a bar, ran it for awhile and didn’t play music for a year. then we had an earthquake and i thought i should make an album- and so i did. the twilight singers are an imaginary band of pirates that sail the oceans of my imagination.
2. There were more than 20 musicians beside you in the making of the new
record. Between them, people like Mark Lanegan and Apollonia Kotero. How did you choose the artists to work with on your album?
**i knew most of the people i worked with. the musician communities of new orleans, memphis and los angeles are beautiful cats who love to play and have a good time. mark is one of my closest friends and i think apollonia has a crush on me.
3. What is the meaning of the title “Blackberry Belle”?
**the prettiest girl in the room and the motherfuckin devil in disguise.
4. The epic, opening track is titled “Martin Eden” and some quotes from the
Jack London’s novel appear in your website. In which way the touching and tragic story of Martin Eden influenced the concept of this record?
**i had a death in the family and i could not shake the sadness that descended. when i read “martin eden”, i thought it was the most exquisitely beautiful and poetic description of sorrow i had ever read. and with that i decided to honor jack london’s spirit with a song of my own.
5. “Blackberry Belle” has been anticipated by an EP with 3 tracks that are not on the album. Maybe these 3 songs didn’t fit well with its overall concept? Which is the story behind “Domani”?
**”black is the color” was recorded after the album was done. i had mixed feelings about “domani”, as it was written before my friend’s death. i heard it a year later and loved it again. as you know, it means tomorrow and tomorrow is a generous gift often taken for granted. “son of the morning star” i did in cincinnati with some friends a few years ago.
6. You produced the first Twilight Singers record with Fila Brazilia and then you worked with DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill and british collective Lo Fidelity Allstars on their respective albums. How do you felt working with such different artists? Are you happy with the final results?
**i was and am a huge fan of all three artists. it was thrilling to record and hang out with such talented and genuinely beautiful people.
7. A few years ago you’ve acted in the Ted Demme movies “Beautiful Girls”
and “Monument Ave.”. As a musician, how it was acting in front of a movie
camera? Are you considering the idea of pursuing both of these careers?
**i have been acting since i was born. doing it for anyone other than teddy
is kind of a chore. he’s gone now, so i’m retired.
8. You have lived in cities like New York, Seattle and New Orleans before
moving to Los Angeles. Which of these places is closer to you, as a man and an artist?
**i love every city i’ve ever lived in, but i have to say new orleans is my favorite. if i had the willpower to stay away from old scratch i’d be writing you from there.
9. You own a club in L.A. called “The Short Stop” where sometimes you play your records. Which music do you like to play?
** i love to spin funk, soul, hip hop and rnb. i can’t tell you the rush i get from making people dance. i’ve especially been digging african and south american funk from the 70’s lately.
10. Exactly 10 years ago “Gentlemen” was released. That record is widely considered the Afghan Whigs’ masterpiece and has been often voted one of the best 100 albums of the 90’s. Do you agree with that? Which is your favorite Afghan Whigs’ album?
**i still like all the records the whigs did. some more than others. i’m happy that “gentlemen” struck a chord with people. it was a lonely time writing that record and without the love and talent of my bandmates to keep me going i would have lynched myself. that said, i like 1965 the best. it is easily my favorite.
11. Are you still in touch with the other members of the Afghan Whigs?
**i talk to them all the time. i think they’re all gonna get up and play with the singers when we hit their respective towns.
12. In august you played at the Spaceland in L.A. your first show as Twilight Singers since 2000. Did you enjoy it?
**it was one of the greatest nights of my life.
13. Have you planned a full tour in support of the new record? Are you gonna play in Italy?
**we are playing america in november ’03. we plan to do the uk and europe in
january. we’ll gladly play italy if you’ll have us.
14. Which musicians are you gonna bring on tour with you?
me- of course
mathias schneeberger- keyboards and guitar
jon skibic- guitar/vocals
scott ford- bass/vocals
15. Would you like to write me some short “track-by-track” comments?
**the second to last song written and my first try at 3 part harmonies.
i think i sound like a satanic brian wilson.
**the last song recorded and i still love pretending to be in the burt bacharach/pink floyd (who am i?) band.
**the lusty firstborn son of “the twilite kid”. everybody wants to fuck this young man.
**the patron saint of mischief and overindulgence.
**the story of jerry lee lewis as told to salvador dali and roger waters.
**the french quarter street closest to the mississippi river. it is where i will die. smiling.
**the first song written and a reminder to obey your mother, fucker.
Follow You Down:
**i always do.
**written and recorded in new orleans on christmas day, 2002. just six days before my last nervous breakdown.(really!)
**where all the beautiful monsters live. you can almost see their souls before they eat you.
**i hope they don’t sue me. on second thought, it’s way cooler than cat stevens.
with a smile-
los angeles, ca
29 sept 2003