Greg Dulli will be celebrating his past at Sub Pop’s Silver Jubilee this summer in Seattle, but the Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers leader is also planning for a prodigious musical future.
“I write songs all the time, so I’ve got a ton around — a couple hours’ worth, at least,” Dulli tells Billboard. But, he adds, he’s not sure what he’ll be using any of them for yet. “They’re me, and right now I really like when songs are kind of stripped-down and haven’t been put through a band machine yet. They’re very kind of pure and innocent, and I want to perform them this way before or if I decide to run them through a band machine. I have a studio in my house and I’m happy not rolling all over the world for a little while and just kind of hanging out and living my life and watching baseball games and taking walks.”
The Sub Pop celebration is set for July 13 — “They’re my family, man, a significant portion of my life,” Dulli says of the label and its principals. He plans to roll out some of his new songs at the show, where he’ll be accompanied by guitarist Dave Rosser and multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson. It’s Dulli’s only show planned for this year, so far.
Among the candidates for some of that new material is a collaboration with The Church’s Steve Kilbey. “We’re making a record,” confirms Dulli, who traveled to Australia for two and a half weeks earlier this year to work on songs with Kilbey.
“I’ve been listening to The Church since I was 18 years old,” Dulli says. “It’s just a really, really influential group on me, and (Kilbey) in particular as a songwriter. He’s one of my favorite lyricists; his words have been like poetry to me.” Dulli says he and Kilbey “got some great stuff done” Down Under, and Kilbey is planning to come to Los Angeles during summer to “take another hack at it.” But Dulli says there’s no firm plan for when the project will be released.
“I don’t really do well with timetables,” he says. “Timetables get me in trouble. But it is ongoing and we’ve been sending things back and forth over the (Internet) and are definitely working at putting out a record together.”
Dulli says a new Afghan Whigs, which reunited in 2011, may also result from his latest spate of writing.
“We had a great time, and I’m not going to out of the box dismiss anything anymore,” he says. “Maybe I’ll play them for the guys and say, ‘Hey, do you want to try to do these?’ ”
One of the Whigs’ more memorable shows, of course, came at this year’s South By Southwest where the group performed with Usher at the Fader Fort, which Dulli dubs “one of the coolest things I’ve done in recent times. That young man is a very talented and a very cool cat. We rehearsed for probably 15 hours over two days to get that show down, and he was there all 15 hours, right there with me — and even got there earlier than me on the second day. I had a blast; I’ve been a fan of his for quite some time, and it was a thrill to work with him.”