It’s 4 p.m. the day after a late-night Chicago gig, and Twilight Singers frontman Greg Dulli still hasn’t peeled himself from the previous night’s floor.
Dulli’s appetite for self-destruction is legendary, and not long ago, one might’ve concluded he was sleeping off a coke/smack ménage-á-trois. But sobriety has given him a new sense of clarity. “Did I have a drug problem? Absolutely,” the former Afghan Whigs frontman drowsily rasps. “Sometimes, by the end of a gig, I needed subtitles so people could understand what the f— was going on. But I’m two years down the line from all that now.”
The Twilight Singers’ fourth LP, Powder Burns, was forged from the pain of Dulli’s confrontation with his demons and the sorrow of post-Katrina New Orleans, where most of the album was recorded.
“[Though] what I saw in New Orleans had much more impact on what this album sounds like,” says Dulli of his former home. “You could walk for miles and not see another human being; there were animal carcasses on the road, boats in the trees, cars inside of houses. It smelled like death. And the ghostly absence of life weirded me out—I’ve learned I don’t like that kind of quiet. I don’t know any other town that could take a bigger whipping and still remain standing. It was like the f—ing Twilight Zone.”