West Coast Surprises
For you lucky guys and gals set to see the Twilight Singers on their West Coast dates, you’ll get a Gutter Twins preview.
Mark Lanegan will be joining the band for the California, Seattle, and Portland shows. This means a few surprise numbers added to the set. Just another reason to quit your job, buy an old VW bus, and follow Twilight – trading love beads and incense for food and whiskey.
Press Release – Issued 4/12/04 PM
Mark Lanegan joins the twilight singers for final leg of U.S. tour
the twilight singers, led by Greg Dulli, will be joined by singer Mark Lanegan (ex Queens Of The Stone Age, The Screaming Trees) for the final leg of the twilight singers’ second national tour of the U.S. since the release on One Little Indian/Birdman of the critically acclaimed second twilight singers album blackberry belle. Lanegan will be providing vocals on several songs at the twilight singers’ West Coast shows, reprising his performance on “#9” from blackberry belle, singing two songs that will appear on she loves you, the album of covers the twilight singers are releasing this Summer; and a “special surprise.” The tour began March 27 and officially ends April 20 (itinerary attached below), the group having recently concluded an extensive, triumphant European tour. The touring line-up consists of Greg Dulli – vocals/guitar/piano, Jon Skibic- guitar/vocals, Bobby Macintyre- drums/vocals — the same personnel that toured the U.S. and Europe — with the addition of John Nooney – keyboards and Michael Sullivan – bass/vocals (primary bassist on the latest album). Greg appears on two tracks on Mark Lanegan’s latest solo album Bubblegum. This pair have also been working on a joint album under the name “The Gutter Twins.”
the twilight singers have overhauled the set-list since their Fall ’03 tour and this time around the show will include some of cover versions that are slated for inclusion on the “she loves you” EP that the group are recording in March for a Summer ’04 release on One Little Indian. The live repertoire will also feature selections from the amber headlights album (the work-in-progress which Greg set aside to write and record ‘03’s blackberry belle), a couple whigs tracks Dulli says the group “wanna play before I die,” complementing the repertoire from the critically acclaimed blackberry belle album. blackberry belle was released to overwhelming kudos from critics and fans alike, here and abroad and the subsequent U.S. club tour also drew raves notice across the board, to wit:
With the Twilight Singers’ second album, he’s placed his transcendentally dark songwriting in a host of shadowy settings: the Whigs’ urgent post-grunge, gritty wah-wah soul and electronica-dosed psychedelia (The Dark Side of the Moon gets referenced throughout). Blackberry focuses on Dulli’s bizarro literary fixations; among other macabre subjects, he sets his sights on a vampirically carnal romance, drug addiction and his 1998 near-murder by a Texas thug. The banjo-driven grace of “Papillon” recalls the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” while “Teenage Wristband” hot-wires “Jungleland” with “Baba O’Riley.” This is old-school album rock, each fragment linking to tell a story, every nuance begging to be savored. MATT DIEHL/Rolling Stone 12/25/03
For more than a decade—first with his band the Afghan Whigs, then with the more-or-less-solo Twilight Singers–Dulli’s M.O. has been pretty much the same: sex, drugs, emotional terrorism, guilt, redemption, repeat. He’s one part pagan Anne Rice and one part Catholic Graham Greene hero, and he writes killer songs, too, swiping all the right moves from ’80s indie rock and ’70s R&B. Blackberry Belle abandons the coffeehouse trip-hop affectations of the Twilight Singers’ debut; many of the glistening rock songs here wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Whigs’ awesome swan song, 1965…But it’s the quieter moments, peppered with funeral-parlor humor, that really resonate…On “Fat City (Slight Return),” he asks himself, “Why you watch a car wreck, motherfucker?” then blankly replies, “‘Cuz it looks fun to die.” It’s best to think of Dulli as a tour guide through the parts of the human experience most of us would prefer to avoid–the crashes, the come-downs, the mornings after. “I think we’re lost,” he mutters at one point, only to reassure us: “Don’t worry–I’ve been here before.” Chris Ryan/Spin February ‘04
…Onstage, The Twilight Singers are as paint-blisteringly powerful as the Whigs in their prime, and Dulli has lost none of his relish for the stage…One of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Should I ever find myself stricken down with a terminal ailment, one of my dying wishes is to see off a bottle of whiskey in Greg Dulli’s company, with a pile of his favourite records. Failing that, another Twilight Singers show will do just fine. Simon Price/London Independent February ‘04
The Twilight Singers recently released their sophomore full-length, blackberry belle, and Friday at the Black Cat they treated the crowd to a freewheeling set that combined loose-as-a-goose covers (or fragments thereof) of songs by Marvin Gaye, Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush, John Coltrane and Tom Jones with plenty of sharp-edged originals, including a mordant “Martin Eden” that Dulli dedicated to Elliott Smith. “Papillon” and “Esta Noche” featured marvelously crunchy guitar by Jon Skibic; the let’s-stay-up-all night anthem “Teenage Wristband” cleverly toyed with Pete Townshend’s synthesizer intro to “Teenage Wasteland.” Really — who needs emo when you have Tom Jones? Mike Little/Washington Post 11/17/03
Sounding nearly as scary as that fume-sucking dude in Blue Velvet, Greg Dulli opens belle with a leering directive to “Black out the windows/It’s party time.” For this second Singers session, the former frontman of the Afghan Whigs reimagines Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours as a drive down a dark, snaking alt-rock highway with a gutful of vodka tonics, no headlights, and a minor riding shotgun. It turns a beguiling side project into a band you hope will stick around. Will Hermes/Entertainment Weekly 10/17/03
Dulli is not the first rock singer-songwriter to crave a widescreen sound, of course. Some of the album’s arrangements suggest the first generation of operatic-rock composers, and the dramatic piano intros and lonesome saxophone solos recall the epic mode of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” Yet such Springsteenian moments as the “You want to go for a ride?” chorus of “Teenage Wristband” are rare. Rather than break free, most of these darkly lovely songs just burrow in deeper. “If you’re in trouble, then I’ll follow you down,” sings Dulli, an apt summation for this set of downwardly spiraling funk-noir vignettes. Mark Jenkins Washington Post 11/14/03
Alt-rock’s patron saint of fucked-up womanizers is at his diabolical best, conducting an overture of lust, betrayal, and addiction. He takes his demons on a soulful midnight drive. Take this CD on your next one, too. *****Maxim/David Peisner November ‘03
TWILIGHT SINGERS A name behind which the Afghan Whigs’ singer Greg Dulli makes whatever kinds of albums he wants to make. blackberry belle is slightly grandiose pomp-rock, with Mr. Dulli’s whispery voice feather-dusting the songs. Like, say, Tom Petty, but along entirely different music-business models, Mr. Dulli is finally a guy who simply knows how to make music that feels good in the ear. Sunday New York Times/Ben Ratliff 9/7/03
He quickly locates listeners in Dulli territory on album opener “Martin Eden,” a loose, mid-tempo rocker that finds him crooning “black out the windows, it’s party time/ You know how I love stormy weather/ So let’s all play suicide.” While the songs’ subjects are those Dulli knows best — desperate lovers taking long drives, drinking too much, and betraying each other — he pushes his musical range, incorporating R&B vocal stylings, funk rhythms and sophisticated instrumentation. His voice grows husky over a strutting guitar on “Decatur St.,” and swings with a jaunty melody over twanging banjo, low rider bass and lyrical strands of clavinet keyboard on “Papillon.” These are more beautifully rendered tales of the dark side from a menacing master of seduction. – Sarah Tomlinson, Boston Globe 10/24/2003
the twilight singers are an ever changing collective, a chance for Greg Dulli to be in whatever kind of band he needs to be in at any point in his career. Not a Dulli solo project, but more a particular outfit assembled to record a particular collection of musical moments/compositions.
Greg Dulli came to the writing and recording of blackberry belle after devoting over a decade to The Afghan Whigs, one of the most original, expectation-defying and yet stylishly sophisticated outfits to emerge from the latterday American underground rock scene having left behind a recorded legacy that includes Gentlemen (regularly listed as one of the top rock albums of all time) and the dark masterpiece Black Love.
The first twilight singers album twilight as played by the twilight singers was begun in 1997, Dulli and his fellow Whigs having gone on hiatus, to cope with the degenerating relations with their label. The project was put on hold as The Afghan Whigs made what turned out to be their last album together, the highly regarded 1965. Thereafter, Dulli proceeded to strategically reinvent much of the twilight singers’s recordings in cahoots with dance-maestros, Fila Brazillia.
Moving to Los Angeles, Greg wrote almost 30 new songs in preparation for what would become blackberry belle. He decided to record the complete album before involving labels and had recorded five great songs when a close friend died suddenly, changing his feelings about the record he wanted to make. The songs that he had done or had intended to record no longer fit with where his head was at and he went back to the drawing board. Writing new songs and reworking some older material went back and forth between studios in Los Angeles and New Orleans crafting the new project. The newer songs and the treatment of all the material was darker more rich browns and reds, with Rembrandt-esque light showing just parts of the crime scene. blackberry belle is as sad as it is triumphant. A dark, majestic masterpiece.
TWILIGHT SINGERS TOUR DATES
4/13 Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
4/14 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
4/15 Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland
4/17 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
4/19 Portland, OR – Berbati’s Pan
4/20 Seattle, WA – Neumos
4/29 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks