Although there are a couple of freshly recorded covers floating around and a new original song in the set, Greg Dulli remains non-committal about whether the reunited Afghan Whigs will be a going concern after the group’s current U.S. tour wraps up in early November.
“The group is a going concern as it’s going,” Dulli tells Billboard. “I am being utterly honest when I tell you we haven’t really talked about anything other than what we’re doing right now. It’s kind of cool that it’s happened that way because it’s very much in the moment, and appreciating the moment is something that sometimes gets lost in everyday life. Everything that’s happening now is happening in its own inimitable, organic way. So right now I’m surfing this wave. If the way continues on I’ll know it, and if it’s time to hop off the wave, I’ll know that, too. But I don’t know the answer yet.”
Dulli and company hopped into the studio for a pair of covers — Mary “Queenie” Lyons’ “See and Don’t See” and Frank Ocean’s “Lovecrime” — that it’s distributed for free via the Internet. Dulli says the band has also “recorded a couple more things. We’ll see if they pop out at an appropriate time.” Meanwhile, Afghan Whigs have one brand new song in the set, “Into the Floor,” but Dulli says distributing it now would be premature.
“It’s not available because the words change to it every night,” he explains. “(The song) just sort of started happening and started to evolve, and then we honed it in the sound checks. Now it’s got a couple different ways it’s played — that’s mostly between me and the drummer (Cully Symington). I have signals that indicate which version of the song we’re gonna play so the drummer knows which version of the song is going to happen.”
On the whole, Dulli says he’s happy he decided to put the group back together for this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festivals in London and New Jersey, and that it decided to add more shows in both Europe and the U.S. “I’m not going to put a band together for two gigs, especially five months apart,” Dulli explains. “So I turned loose the booking agents, and I’m glad I did. It’s been really fun to play and see everything. It’s a great rock band, great rock songs. As a rock ‘n’ roller, that’s kind of what you want to have when you get up on stage — good people to play with, good songs to play.”
He adds that Afghan Whigs “drove (the band) ’til the wheels fell off” leading up to its 2001 breakup, but he never believed the group was over and done with. “As soon as you break up or as soon as you stop doing something, everybody wants to know when you’re going to do it again,” he says. “So the easiest way to handle that was to completely set it down, (and say it’s) never going to happen — maybe I believed that for a time, but here we are.”
Dulli adds that he’s focused on nothing but Afghan Whigs until the tour winds down Nov. 10 in Los Angeles, so his other projects — including the Twilight Singers (whose lineup has featured current Whigs members Dave Rosser and Rick Nelson) and the Gutter Twins (who Symington plays for) — are on hold. “Right now I’m sort of playing everything by ear,” Dulli says. “I have no idea what’s going to happen next. And I like that.”