Gred Dulli (The Twilight Singers): Interview
Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles
couple of years, be thankful that we get another helping of Dulli. On October
14th, the former Afghan Whigs frontman brings sex, Maker's Mark, and late nights
back into music with the second album from his Twilight Singers. With a
revolving cast of musicians, friends, and all around creepy guys, Blackberry
Belle is an excellent return to form from the OG of Rock and Roll. About to
embark on a national tour with his new band, Greg was kind enough to answer some
questions posed by one of his many admirers.
Tiny Mix Tapes: I got to see the band play "Spaceland" and "Sunset
Junction" last month and was surprised to see how much the fans missed you on
stage. Does it still surprise you to see the reaction the fans have in response
to your music?
Greg Dulli: Au contraire, I need them to go where I go. They are the
rider to my Cadillac.
Tiny Mix Tapes: Tell me a little about the recording of Blackberry
Belle. Does the city of Los Angeles provide any inspiration for the new album?
Greg Dulli: The recording was split evenly between LA and New
Orleans. They seem to be the cities that tweak my imagination and my ability to
observe and participate in the freedom of indulgence and decadence and its many
rewards and consequences. I am from a lost tribe of ancient children and we are
Tiny Mix Tapes: You've mentioned that Blackberry Belle has over 25
different musicians throughout the album. Was it a conscious effort to work with
these people on specific tracks or was it just a matter of who was in town at
the time of recording?
Greg Dulli: It's the Twilight way. I got a song that wants to strut,
let's get some hookers in here to fuck.
Tiny Mix Tapes: You've also mentioned that you had a follow-up to the
first Twilight Singers album but you scrapped it when your friend Ted Demme
passed away. Does his passing affect the core of the new album?
Greg Dulli: My love for Ted Demme is infinite and the lights dimmed
when he checked out. For me to move on, I had to articulate the absolute depth
of my feelings for him and not only what he brought to my life, but what he
taught me about living it. His inspiration and the passion he felt for Carpe
Diem will ride shotgun in my car till I join him at the poker table he's running
in the afterlife. A straight up pimp, that man.
Tiny Mix Tapes: Fila Brazilia was a big part of the first Twilight
Singers album. Was it a one-off project to work with them or was there an effort
to do the next Twilight Singers album without their input?
Greg Dulli: I am a slave to my whims and a functional schizophrenic.
If I think a showtune showdown w/Stephin Merritt is my next best move, put your
money on the Twilite kid and book a flight to Dubai.
Tiny Mix Tapes: Tell me about the new band. How long have you known
Greg Dulli: The live band is an experiment with disparate personalities
seeking loving and compassionate emotional nihilism. Mathias and I have accepted
the fact that we are each others karmic penance.
Tiny Mix Tapes: This new album is the first on the independent,
Birdman Records. How would you describe your time on major labels? Do you feel
they did a good job with the Afghan Whigs' and Twilight Singers' material? Is
being on Birdman any different than being on Elektra or Columbia?
Greg Dulli: Anytime the casino let's you gamble with the houses
money, pull up a chair and start ordering drinks. Be it Caesar's Palace or
Whiskey Pete's in Stateline, I'm gonna double down and chase the ace.
Tiny Mix Tapes: Obviously, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye and Stax Records
have been major influences on you. Has this music always inspired you? Are there
any other artists that you have an affinity towards? Any new music you're into?
Greg Dulli: I love to be turned on whether by Ella Fitzgerald and
Skip James or by Reign In Blood or Loveless. Music is life and the
most reliable gift we cretins get. Right now, I'm all over Martina Topley-Bird
and the untouchable Andre 3000.
Tiny Mix Tapes: Living in Los Angeles, do you ever get inspired by
film? Would you ever consider writing music for a film (besides the occasional
song for a soundtrack)?
Greg Dulli: I can't wait to score a film. To paraphrase Crispin
Glover; "It's my density."
Tiny Mix Tapes: The Afghan Whigs always had their die-hard fans but
over the last few years, interest in the band's work has increased
exponentially. Playing rock music on Sub Pop during the 'grunge' days or later
on when watered-down punk music was the flavor of the day, do you ever feel that
the band's music was never fully appreciated during its existence?
Greg Dulli: it was nurtured, loved and appreciated by The Afghan
Whigs, I can tell you that. Anyone who jumped on that train got a passionate
embrace and a warm tongue in their mouth.
Tiny Mix Tapes: What are the touring plans for the new album? Do you
Greg Dulli: We're gonna rock it around. I love to play live, I hate
the travel and the idle hours that flash the nonstop "temptation vacancy" sign.
On second thought, that's pretty cool sometimes, too.
Tiny Mix Tapes: Why has their never been a 'Greg Dulli' solo album?
Greg Dulli: Who the fuck is Greg Dulli?
Tiny Mix Tapes: Your music is obviously affected by the relationships
you find yourself in? How are you doing these days?
Greg Dulli: Trick question or not, I'm always game and ready to share
Tiny Mix Tapes: Five years later...Jennifer Lopez?
Greg Dulli: When it happens, everybody in the neighborhood will hear
an ass gettin slapped and me demanding "Quien es tu papi?"
Tiny Mix Tapes: Gullick's photo of you in 1996 for NME...can you
elaborate on it? I have a friend that still think it's the greatest photo ever.
Greg Dulli: I got a picture of Kobi Tai that would blow your fucking