Friday, February 28, 2020

Greg Dulli Debuts 'A Ghost' From First Solo Album 'Random Desire'

Greg Dulli has done plenty since he emerged in front of Afghan Whigs during the late '80s. There have been other bands, both real (the Twilight Singers, the Gutter Twins) and fictional (on the soundtrack of the 1994 Beatles film Backbeat). He's appeared on albums by Foo Fighters, dEUS and Joseph Arthur and on tributes to the Moby Grape's Skip Spence and Doug Sahm.

What Dulli hasn't done yet is a solo album, but that changes with the Feb. 21 release of Random Desire, whose track "A Ghost" is premiering exclusively below.

"Y'know, I always liked playing in bands, so I went from the Whigs to the Twilight Singers and everything else and never thought about (a solo album)," Dulli tells Billboard. "I think now, by having done all those things, there was something I had not done and that looked attractive to me, so I decided to take a swing."

The opportunity, meanwhile, presented itself after Afghan Whigs finished touring to promote its latest album, 2017's In Spades. "The other guys all had stuff going on," Dulli explains. "Once I realized that (bassist) John Curley was going to be busy with college and Patrick Keeler was gonna go play drums in the Raconteurs I was like, 'Well, that's easily a year to a year and a half. Man, I'm gonna make my own record! I'm gonna see what that's like,' and I started cranking."

The 10-track Random Desire became a true solo effort for Dulli, who played nearly every part on the album, though contributions came from Whigs guitarist Jon Skibic, Mathias Schneeberger of Twilight Singers, Jon Theodore of Queens of the Stone Age and the Mars Volta and a few others. Dulli wrote and recorded at his home in Silver Lake, Calif., in Crestline near San Bernardino and in New Orleans, while most of the finished work was done at engineer Christopher Thorn's studio in Joshua Tree, a locale Dulli says made a profound mark on the sound and feel of the album.

"Just the space and quiet of Joshua Tree really influenced the sound," Dulli says. "There was a solitary vibe to it as well; It was just (Thom) and I and I would build the track and then if I decided to invite someone I would do that, but only for a specific reason and they would come in and do their part and leave. That all factors into the travelogue vibe of the thing. The record is constantly moving. It feels liquid. I really feel it moving forward from the time the music drops in 'til the time it fades away."

As for working primarily alone, Dulli says that, "I loved having to solve all the problems. For the most part I could fix just about any (problem) I would get myself in. I enjoyed relying on my own resources and talent."

The spacious, airy "A Ghost" is Random Desire's oldest track, started back in 2016 when Afghan Whigs were working on In Spades in Memphis. "It did not work then, so I just put it back in the 'working on' folder and then pulled it out last year and recut it," he remembers. "It started to come together when I went down to New Orleans. The song just reminded me of a journey across the Sahara or something, like a gypsy version of Ennio Morricone."

Dulli begins a solo tour on March 19 in Ireland, returning to North America in late April. Besides songs from Random Desire he and his band will play some Twilight Singers songs and a few covers. "I'm gonna come up with something that is comprehensive, but I'm gonna try to stick to this century," Dulli says. He calls himself "positively self-involved" at the moment, meaning the future is of minimal concern.

"I certainly would love to play with (the Whigs) again, so I hope that does happen," Dulli says. "I have also really enjoyed this, too. I'll probably have to start to put things into different piles now and look at it like that -- what's for me, what's for the band. But as of right now I'm totally living in the present. I’m doing this until I'm not."

Dulli's upcoming tour dates include:

March 19 - Róisín Dubh - Galway, IRELAND

March 20 - Whelans - Dublin, IRELAND

March 22 - SWG3 Warehouse - Glasgow, UK

March 23 - Gorilla - Manchester, UK

March 24 - Islington Assembly Hall - London, UK

March 26 - Paradiso Noord - Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS

March 27 - Muziekodroom - Hasselt, BELGIUM

March 28 - Trix - Antwerp, BELGIUM

March 30 - Luxor - Cologne, GERMANY

March 31 - Lido - Berlin, GERMANY

April 02 - Hotel Cecil - Copenhagen, DENMARK

April 03 - Debaser Strand - Stockholm, SWEDEN

April 04 - Parkteatret - Oslo, NORWAY

April 24 - 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN

April 25 - Metro - Chicago, IL

April 26 - St. Andrew’s Hall - Detroit, MI

April 28 - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH

April 29 - Woodward Theater - Cincinnati. OH

April 30 - Mr. Smalls - Pittsburgh, PA

May 01 - The Great Hall - Toronto, ON CANADA

May 03 - Paradise Rock Club - Boston, MA

May 05 - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC -

May 06 - Webster Hall - New York, NY -

May 07 - Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA

May 09 - The Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC

May 10 - Cat’s Cradle - Carrboro, NC

May 12 - The Loft - Atlanta, GA

May 15 - One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans, LA

May 16 - 3Ten @ ACL Live - Austin, TX

May 17 - Granada Theater - Dallas, TX

May 19 - Bluebird Theatre - Denver, CO

May 22 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR

May 23 - The Showbox - Seattle, WA

May 26 - August Hall - San Francisco, CA

May 28 - Palace Theater - Los Angeles, CA

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