The Afghan Whigs reunion is about 20 dates old now, and new ones are regularly being added. The band is splitting its time between big outdoor festivals in the U.S. and Europe as well as late-night club gigs. Hive got a chance to catch up with Whigs’ frontman Greg Dulli after his Lollapalooza set on this past Friday afternoon to find out what his ever-evolving future plans are for the reunited band.
When you started looking into material that you wanted to play again, how far into the back catalog did you get?
We went back to Congregation. We’re gonna play at least one song from Up In It tomorrow [at a Lollapalooza aftershow]. We’re going all the way back now.
Your band isn’t an afternoon thing to listen to —
Do you tailor your set with that in mind when you play festivals?
Yes. Songs that we’ve been opening with, they’re nighttime songs. We’re a nighttime band. I played at 4:15 because they told me to, not because I chose to. “Crime Scene” was not gonna happen. I’m not gonna sing, “Tonight” at 4:15. I’ll sing it at 4:15 in the morning in Madrid. But I’m not gonna do it here.
Some of the songs are so personal and about things that seem like they’d be unpleasant to revisit. How did you approach that?
Anything that’s unpleasant for me to revisit, I just don’t do. The rest of the songs are fully vetted and emotionally conjured on a consistent basis.
How do you relate to something like “Fountain and Fairfax,” which is about addiction and has lines like, “Let me tie off”?
It’s got the Bo Diddley beat. It’s got a killer hook. Watching everybody get ready for the moment where I say “Fountain and Fairfax” is very exciting. I have the same anticipation they do. The payoff on that song is worth the price of admission.
You covered “Lovecrime” by Frank Ocean. He’s playing Lollapalooza. Have you been in touch with him?
I have not been in touch with him. I saw him play in L.A. a couple of weeks ago – phenomenal. But I have never spoken to him.
Are you finding anything new when you’re playing with John and Rick?
Sure. We started jamming out — there’s a jam that happens at the end of “Milez Iz Ded” now that was never there before. That just kind of happened spontaneously. It started happening on a day-by-day basis. That’s just right off the bat.
How much of your attention does the Afghan Whigs have right now?
Since I’m on tour with them, almost all of it.
When you’re writing new songs, are you thinking, “Maybe these would be fun to play with these guys?”
Yeah. Maybe — I’m keeping the door open for whatever. Right now, I’m just having a great time. Summertime with my friends. That’s the way I’m looking at it. It’s amazing. John’s kids were here today, running around and going to get me coffee, like good little slaves.
Watch the Afghan Whigs perform “Milez Iz Ded” from this past spring at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City: