Posts Tagged ‘Greg Dulli’

Following the success of last year’s ‘Somebody’s Knocking’ LP, Mark Lanegan has announced the news of his new solo album, ‘Straight Songs Of Sorrow’, released 8th May via Heavenly Recordings.

When considering any great work of art, be it a painting, a novel, or a piece of music, it’s natural to wonder what might have inspired it: ‘the story behind the song’.

Mark Lanegan’s new album, “Straight Songs Of Sorrow”, flips that equation. Here are 15 songs inspired by a story: his life story, as documented by his own hand in his new memoir, Sing Backwards And Weep. The book is a brutal, nerve-shredding read, thanks to Lanegan’s unsparing candour in recounting a journey from troubled youth in eastern Washington, through his drug-stained existence amid the ’90s Seattle rock scene, to an unlikely salvation at the dawn of the 21st century.

There’s death and tragedy, yet also humour and hope, thanks to the tenacity which impels its host, even at his lowest moments. As Lanegan writes near the end: “I was the ghost that wouldn’t die.” Today, Lanegan is a renowned songwriter and a much-coveted collaborator, as adept at electronica as with rock, constantly honing his indomitable voice: an asphalt-laced linctus for the soul. While the memoir documents a struggle to find peace with himself, his new album emphasis the extent to which he came to realise that music is his life. “Writing the book, I didn’t get catharsis,” he chuckles. “All I got was a Pandora’s box full of pain and misery. I went way in, and remembered shit I’d put away 20 years ago.

But I started writing these songs the minute I was done, and I realised there was a depth of emotion because they were all linked to memories from this book. It was a relief to suddenly go back to music. Then I realised that was the gift of the book: these songs. I’m really proud of this record.” Straight Songs Of Sorrow combines musical trace elements from early Mark Lanegan albums with the synthesized constructs of later work. The meditative acoustic guitar fingerpicking – provided by Lamb Of God’s Mark Morton – on Apples From A Tree and Hanging On (For DRC) echo 1994’s Whiskey For The Holy Ghost. Yet one of that record’s touchstones was Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, echoed in the new album’s opener I Wouldn’t Want To Say, where Lanegan extemporises *à la Ballerina over musique concrète wave patterns generated by his latest favourite compositional tool, a miniature computer-synth called the Organelle. The lyric clings onto the music, emulating his book’s queasy momentum: *“Swinging from death… to revival.” “That song is the explanation, the beginning and middle and end of that entire period of time,” Mark says. “The encapsulation of the entire experience, book and record. So I started with that.” Lanegan affirms that every song references a specific episode or person in the book, albeit some more explicitly than others. Hanging On (For DRC) is a loving ode to his friend Dylan Carlson, genius progenitor of drone metal and a fellow unlikely survivor of Seattle’s narcotic dramas.

“I was always unhappy, and he was the guy who was always smiling, even through my crazy schemes that eventually got both of us into a lot of trouble.” The richly cinematic mood of Daylight In The Nocturnal House, meanwhile, paints a more impressionistic scene: factory smoke, rain, a phone call from *“somebody’s grand-daughter”, who’ll “pay to make somebody crawl/And send you to heaven.” The singer’s perspective is ambiguous. “I got into a lot of shady business in those years,” Lanegan says. Longtime observers will recognise some familiar recurrent themes. Death. Destruction. Bad behaviour. In the case of At Zero Below, all in the same song. “Yes, I did burn someone with a cigarette,” Mark says. “Yes, I did spit in somebody’s face – maybe more than once in my life. Stuff I’m not proud of.

That song is also about one of my many ex-girlfriends who is no longer with us. It’s all linked to the book.” At Zero Below features two of the album’s many stellar guests. Singing admonitory harmonies with himself is Greg Dulli, another ’90s alt-rock veteran, Lanegan’s erstwhile partner in mischief and fellow Gutter Twin. The song’s incantatory fiddle is played by The Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis. No lesser figure than Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones provides Mellotron on the serpentine Ballad Of A Dying Rover (*“I’m just a sick sick man/My days are numbered”). Aside from mandolin, all Daylight In The Nocturnal House’s cobwebbed atmospherics are by Portishead’s Adrian Utley. Ed Harcourt is Lanegan’s pick for album MVP (“He’s all over it – everything that he plays, piano or Wurlitzer, becomes magical”), with special mention to bassist Jack Bates, son of Peter Hook; that duo make especially distinctive contributions to Churchbells, Ghosts a bleakly humorous lament to the drudgery of life on the road (*“I’d ask somebody for a quarter/If there were someone for me to phone”). Ketamine is a numb blues, with Lanegan shadowed by Cold Cave vocalist Wesley Eisold, who inspired the album’s only overt drug song (ironically, about a drug that Lanegan has never actually taken). “Wes is good friends with Genesis P-Orridge,” explains Mark, “and he said the last time he saw Gen she was in a hospital bed, saying to this priest, ‘No thank you sir, I don’t need any last rites, but if you have any ketamine that would be perfect.’” He laughs. “So I immediately wrote that song and had him sing on it. There’s drugs throughout the record – they’re rife in Bleed All Over – but that song was the only real specific one.” The material on the last two Mark Lanegan Band albums had Lanegan’s words set to music by various other sources. But aside from the Mark Morton collaborations,

Straight Songs Of Sorrow was built from the ground up by Lanegan alone, aided by producer Alain Johannes, his longtime consigliere. Only two other songs have shared credits, and even these stay in-house: Burying Ground and Eden Lost And Found were co-written by Mark’s wife Shelley Brien, with whom he also duets on the Rita Coolidge/Kris Kristofferson-style ballad This Game Of Love. “Let’s put it this way,” says Mark. “Every girlfriend I’ve ever had, for any amount of time, left me.

All the good ones left me! Until my current wife. It was great to sing that with Shelley, it really shows she’s a great singer. And it has a depth of emotion that I’m not used to. This is a more honest record than I’ve probably ever made.” A crushing twin-song centrepiece proves that. First, Stockholm City Blues, a sparse, beautiful, strings and finger-picking meditation on the remorse code of addiction (*“I pay for this pain I put into my blood”). Then, the seven-minute epic Skeleton Key, a supplicatory confessional (“I’m ugly inside and out there is no denying”) that also provides the album title. It’s a remarkable performance from a man whose punishment for plumbing the depths was simply to continue further along the road. “My wife called that my ‘redemption song’,” says Lanegan. And indeed, there is a happy ending to this story. Just as his book closes with the hero overcoming adversity and turning, battered but cleansed, towards a new day, so Straight Songs Of Sorrow closes with Eden Lost And Found. *“Sunrise coming up baby/To burn the dirt right off of me,” marvels Lanegan, with his words echoed by Simon Bonney of Crime & The City Solution, an all-time hero. “I wanted to make a positive song to end this record, because that’s the way the book ended,” Mark says. “And what’s more positive than to have your favourite singer sing with you?” Straight Songs Of Sorrow feels both definitive and unique, a culmination of its creator’s arc yet also indicative of the energy that drives him onto future horizons. No wonder Lanegan is proud. “I do feel this is something special for me, something honest,” he says. “’Cos records are not real life, man – in case no one told ya. They’re just a fake version of life!” Mark Lanegan laughs. “Well, at least you have one now that’s a little closer to being real. Unfortunately, it’s by me.”

The album, which is closely aligned to his forthcoming memoir, “Sing Backwards And Weep”, features guest appearances from Greg Dulli, Warren Ellis, John Paul Jones, Ed Harcourt and more

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For the last 30 years, Greg Dulli, has been the frontman of The Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers, He has been the poet laureate of the bizarre whims and cruel tangents of desire. A foremost authority on the sell-your-soul rewards of carnal lust, the high voltage epiphanies of chemical enhancement, and the serotonin lows left in their wake. Therein lies “Random Desire”, the first solo album under Dulli’s own name, via Royal Cream / BMG.

The album opener. Pantomima, sets the tone from the sardonic taunts of the album’s first bars: desolation, come and get it. Random Desire started in the aftermath of the last Whigs record, 2017’s In Spades, which Pitchfork named one of the best rock records of the year, hailing it as a “heavy, menacing work of indie rock majesty…thrilling and unsettling.” Drummer Patrick Keeler was about to take a short sabbatical to record and tour with his other band, The Raconteurs. Dulli’s longtime collaborator, bassist John Curley went back to school, and there was the tragic death of the band’s guitarist, Dave Rosser. In response, Dulli returned to his teenage bedroom roots, finding musical inspiration via the model of one-man-band visionaries Prince and Todd Rundgren.

The Los Angeles-by-way-of-Hamilton Ohio native wrote nearly every part of the record from piano lines to drums to bass riffs. As always, the music came first and the lyrics were completed later. Recording and writing way stations included his home in Silver Lake, the village of Crestline high up in the mountains above San Bernardino, and New Orleans. But the bulk was finished amidst the arid beauty and stark isolation of Joshua Tree (at the studio of engineer Christopher Thorne). Dulli handled most instrumentation, but an all-star cast of characters appear across the track-listing including The Whigs’ guitarist Jon Skibic and multi-instrumentalist Rick G. Nelson, Mathias Schneeberger (Twilight Singers), pedal steel wizard, upright bassist, and physician Dr. Stephen Patt, and drummer Jon Theodore (Queens of the Stone Age, The Mars Volta).

Clocking in at a lean 37 minutes, Random Desire is a clinic put on by a veteran master operating at the height of his powers, offering evidence of the hard-fought and weary wisdom learned from setbacks and victories alike. A lucid, confident and self-assured document of the songs of experience, the perils of existence, and the possibilities that offer themselves anew with each breath. Another death and rebirth from an outlaw who has seen it all and somehow lived to tell.

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Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers frontman Greg Dullihas announced his first-ever solo album under his own name, titled Random Desire and out February 21st via Royal Cream/BMG. (If you’re wondering, Greg considers 2005’s Amber Headlights “a project and not a solo-record.”) Taking inspiration from Prince and Todd Rundgren, Dulli played nearly every instrument on the record himself, but it does feature appearances from Afghan Whigs’ guitarist Jon Skibic, multi-instrumentalist Rick G. NelsonMathias Schneeberger (Twilight Singers), Dr. Stephen Patt on pedal steel and upright bass, and drummer Jon Theodore (Queens of the Stone Age, The Mars Volta). The first single and opening track is “Pantomima,” a soaring, anthemic blast of post-punky rock. .

Greg has also announced UK/EU solo tour dates for March and April.

Pantomima by Greg Dulli Random Desire, the debut solo album by Greg Dulli will be released Feb 21st on Royal Cream/BMG.

The Afghan Whigs who lost guitarist Dave Rosser to colon cancer almost exactly one month ago. Today, the alternative icons are paying tribute to their fallen band mate with a cover of one of his favorite songs,“You Want Love”. originally by the band Pleasure Club.

Pleasure Club was a legendary New Orleans band and Dave Rosser and I had spoken for years about performing this song,” said Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli .  “In light of his passing we decided to record it in his honor.”

In Spades

It was an hour after midnight EST when Greg Dulli tweeted out three simple words: “It’s on now.” Word spread quickly that the singer was referencing the release of the first Afghan Whigs album since the 2014 comeback effort “Do to the Beast”. The record, their eighth, is titled “In Spades” and is released May 5th on Sub Pop Records.

The first single, “Demon in Profile,” can be listened to below, and is available for purchase through all the standard online retailers.

The slow-burning track begins with Dulli accompanied only by piano, reminiscent of the Do to the Beast standout “It Kills,” before blooming into the familiar blend of rock and soul with the frontman delivering lines like, “I’m so deep inside you/I’m your silhouette.” A stripped down version of the song first appeared during Dulli’s solo acoustic tour a year ago.

In addition to “Demon in Profile,” three additional numbers from the ten-song LP will be familiar to hardcore Whigs’ fans; “Toy Automatic” and “Oriole” made their debut during the two benefit shows for band guitarist Dave Rosser this past December held in New Orleans and Los Angeles. Album closer “Into the Floor” has been popping up in the group’s setlists since the 2012 reunion tour.

The Afghan Whigs made their mark in the early ’90s with the alt-rock classics Gentlemen and Black Love, where Dulli poured his tortured relationship angst out for all to see on tracks like “Debonair,” “Be Sweet” and “Bulletproof.” Following extensive touring to support the critically acclaimed 1998 release 1965, the band called it a day before reuniting in 2011.

The legendary Afghan Whigs. Greg Dulli and company took a sixteen-year hiatus in between albums but their latest, titled Do To The Beast“, is a refreshing reminder of their impact in the alternative music scene. They were joined in studio on couple of songs by the vocalist Van Hunt.

 

 

Afghan-Whigs-Do-To-The-Beast

Sixteen years after their last proper release, it seems more ludicrous than ever to lump the Afghan Whigs in with any grunge movement, surprising events that have helped define this band’s reunion. Never mind youthful energies — the Afghan Whigs have always pursued the kinds of qualities that needn’t necessarily diminish with age, like a visual flair courted both onstage and off , plus the iconic album covers for Congregation and Gentlemen.

Do to the Beast finds the group still boasting a surplus of panache; witness visual artist Amanda Demme’s wonderful cover photo of what appears to be a shirtless man giving himself a double-fisted cocaine facial. Likewise, lead vocalist Greg Dulli’s dark obsessions and predatory narrators manage to sound as erotically entrancing as he pushes 50 as they did when he was courting 25,

The songs are unstoppable … sixteen years is a long long time to wait, and to release a collection as instantly vital as this takes my breath away. What an album.” I love this video too.