8 April, 2008
The Gutter Twins
By: Amy Phillips
"Yeah, I mean, we're friends. We don't sit around and count the days
until the apocalypse, it's not like we're Satan's elves."
Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan are two of the most intimidating
dudes in rock'n'roll, their lengthy discographies littered with bad drugs,
bad women, and the violence (physical, emotional, and spiritual) that
surrounds these bad situations.
As the frontmen for the Afghan Whigs and the Screaming Trees, respectively,
they spent the mid-1980s through the late 1990s on the fringes of grunge
and alt-rock, building up loyal followings among those searching for something
just a little more evil. When those bands disintegrated, Dulli started
a new project, the Twilight Singers. Lanegan continued a solo career that
had begun with his 1990 album The Winding Sheet, did time in Queens of
the Stone Age, and made an album with former Belle and Sebastian member
Isobel Campbell. Both men also contributed to too many other musical projects
to mention in one sitting.
The idea of Dulli and Lanegan collaborating together as the Gutter Twins
has been in the works since 2003, and Lanegan joined the Twilight Singers
on tour in 2006. But it wasn't until last year that the pair finally turned
their full attention to the project. Saturnalia, the Gutter Twins' debut,
was released earlier this year by Sub Pop, a label that the Afghan Whigs,
the Screaming Trees, and Lanegan solo had recorded for in the 1990s. The
album is yet another exploration of the dark side, searching for salvation
among the temptations of the flesh.
Throughout the interview, Dulli drank iced tea and Lanegan watched the
Bulls play the Celtics on TV (on mute). We broke the ice by chatting about
the 1993 Phillies. Turns out these guys like sports. A lot. In fact, sports
are pretty much the only thing Mark Lanegan wants to talk about these
Pitchfork: How did you end up back on Sub Pop? It's been over a decade
and a half since you guys last put out records on that label.
Greg Dulli: The devil you know is better than the devil you don't. That's
Pitchfork: [laughs] Mark, do you agree? Is that it?
GD: He didn't even hear what I said.
Mark Lanegan: What he said.
Pitchfork: [laughs] OK then! It's funny thinking about you guys in the
context of Sub Pop now; they have such a varied roster, but very little
of it has much in common with the kind of music the Gutter Twins are making.
How does it feel to be on a label with, like, the Shins and Iron and Wine?
GD: I think the Shins and Iron and Wine make nice music, you know? I don't
know a lot about them but I've heard some stuff. You just kind of like
what you like. Even when I was on Sub Pop, luckily, I liked Mudhoney,
I liked Tad, I liked Nirvana, I liked the Fluid, I liked L7, I liked Cat
Butt. So I did like the bands they were putting out. When they first started
putting out Mark's solo records that, to me, was their first turn into
another style of music. He was certainly trying something new but...I
like what I like, I don't really associate it with towns or movements
I listen to new music frequently. Jeff Klein, he plays keyboards in our
group, he's like 29 or 30, he turned me on to Pitchfork and Stereogum
and stuff like that. I don't really read much music stuff but I was aware
of this kind of-- and I'm going to get killed for saying this-- snarky
hipsterism, exclusionary thing. It's like, "We listen to bands that
haven't even formed yet." That punk rock thing of trying to be cool...
Pitchfork: Well, that attitude certainly isn't anything new, it's not
like the internet invented music snobbery...
GD: ...and as soon as some other dude likes what you like you can't like
it anymore. You have to move to the next thing. I just think that's kind
of-- and I'm not saying your site or the site you work for is like that--
but that's always a thing that repelled me. I mean I can certainly see
a band like Nirvana, like when they started having to play to the kind
of guys that beat them up in high school-- that was probably shocking.
But you make music to move people and you don't get to pick who you move.
You just don't. It's exclusionary and elitist and I just never felt that
way about music, of all things. The great unifier.
Pitchfork: Mark, do you have anything to add?
ML: [looking at television screen] I was just thinking how big [Boston
Celtics forward] Glen Davis was in college. He was humongous. They just
had a picture of him in his LSU uniform.
GD: Big Baby.
ML: Yeah, he must've weighed like 350.
GD: I think he was pushing 400, I think he was 370.
GD: He's still over 300 pounds.
Pitchfork: So Mark, basketball's your big thing? Music and basketball?
ML: I enjoy watching basketball, yeah.
Pitchfork: Do you play at all?
ML: I have not played in quite a few years. Only time I did play recently
was me and my dad played in December and he beat me.
GD: In Alaska? Really?
ML: Yeah, he's 73 years old, my dad is.
GD: Where was he shooting from?
ML: Way out.
Pitchfork: Must be in good shape.
GD: I played basketball all through school and then even played in this
30-and-under league for a little while. It's funny, as long as I've known
him [Lanegan], I guess we've never been around a basketball court, but
at some point this run [we should]. We threw a baseball on the last Twilights
tour, in North Carolina, and my arm hurt for a week after that. But Mark
pitched in high school.
Pitchfork: Greg, do you think you could take Mark in a basketball game?
He did get beat by a 73-year-old guy.
GD: If his dad can take him...I'm not saying I could take him in a one-on-one
game, but if his dad beat him it would take me exactly 20 minutes to dial
in three shots that are really hard to follow up in HORSE. Coffin corner,
top of the key, way out to the left side, and a couple of weird lay-ups.
ML: Hope you're good with your left hand.
GD: I am, actually. Are you gonna call left hand shot?
GD: Oh shit. All right.
ML: The gauntlet has been thrown down. [laughs]
GD: Well I'm ready for that. Can you hit with your left hand? Are you
ML: I shoot really well with my left hand.
GD: Can you throw with your left hand?
ML: I've had to, yeah. Actually I played a game left-handed once.
GD: Wow. What position did you play?
ML: Second base.
ML: I fucked up my shoulder and we didn't have enough guys on our team.
Pitchfork: I imagine a basketball team's a lot like a band. Everyone's
got their thing...
GD: Everybody's got their role. Drawing up the plays, strategizing before
the play. Absolutely.
Pitchfork: You guys both spent many years in a single band, but now you
seem to be drifting around, collaborating with different people all the
time. Is that a result of having been in one group for so long? Is it
kind of like being married and then getting divorced, playing the field
GD: I think when you're young and you get together with a group of guys
who think like you and you start to make something that moves you as a
group of people and you have a common goal, that's an exciting time. The
more years you put behind you, hopefully making music that surpasses what
you did before, you're playing bigger places and it kind of weirdly becomes
a business. In my opinion young bands have a shelf life and it ranges
in time. I'm really glad the Whigs went to make [final album, 1998's]
1965 because honestly it's my favorite record that we made. It was the
most fun I had on tour with them and I was even looking forward to making
another record with them. In between that time and the time it took to
make another record, it just wasn't there anymore. And you have to know
when that is.
Since then, the ability to play with different people is infinitely fascinating
to me. Just the people I've played with: I've played with [Cypress Hill
DJ/producer] Muggs, I've played with [Italian band] Afterhours, I've played
with Mark, I've played with [British rave group] Lo Fidelity Allstars,
who I love. Intramural [the latest project from Denver Dalley of Desaparecidos
and Statistics]. I've jammed with Lucinda Williams, you know. And that's
not to mention that I played with the MC5, I played with War, the Whigs
toured with Aerosmith and Neil Young.
So I've kind of gotten to do a lot of things and meet a lot of people
that I admired outside of what I did. When you get a chance to play with
people--informally is one thing, but when you hook up and make something
that's going to last or mean something to someone, I take it very seriously.
I take it no less seriously than the band I was in for 15 years; it's
just a new place that I'm in. I'm in the Gutter Twins right now and that's
what I am. But if I'm a Twilight Singer next year, it will be with no
Pitchfork: So what's the plan right now for this? Is there going to be
another Gutter Twins album? Will this name stick around for a while?
ML: We enjoyed the process of making the record, we enjoyed the results,
we enjoy each other's company, we enjoy traveling together. So I don't
know why we wouldn't make another record. Whether it's the next thing
that we do or not, I can't really say, but I'm sure that there'll be another
GD: I haven't had this much fun touring, ever. I get to hear him sing
every night, I get to sing with him. We've done this so many times, there's
no hassle, the band and crew all get along. It's a joy to do, you know?
And the fact that we go out and there's a rammed house every night, and
they didn't even know the songs...
Pitchfork: Yeah, the record just came out this week.
GD: ...but we won them over every time. It's very encouraging.
Pitchfork: Mark, do you share that feeling? Is this the best time you've
ever had on tour?
ML: It's great, I get to hang out with my friends, hang out, play music.
Pitchfork: Does this feel like a comfortable place for you? Is this is
where you want to be-- this band right now? You seem to be a very restless
musical spirit, always looking for something new.
ML: It's just that we've played together a lot of times, this is new,
new songs, new experience. So yeah, of course, I'm digging it.
Pitchfork: You guys are in a lucky place that I'm sure a lot of bands
envy. You've built up a loyal fanbase that will be interested in pretty
much anything you put your name on.
GD: Yeah, but you've got to back it up, man. The thing is, if you just
stick your name on something...eh. You could do yourself damage, too,
by putting your name on something that sucks. And suck is relative, but
I've never put my name on something that I didn't believe in 100%.
Pitchfork: The rock star perception of you guys is that you're scary,
dangerous, evil. I mean, you call yourselves the Gutter Twins, for one
thing. How much of that is myth, how much of that is theater? Because
I'm sitting here with you guys, and you don't seem very frightening.
ML: We're too old to be scary.
GD: The interview's not over yet, either.
Pitchfork: [laughs] That's true. But is it a persona? I mean it's a good
persona, it makes for great records.
GD: I think a myth is created from truth and I think the fact that we
haven't gone around and publicized every aspect of our lives like a lot
of people do-- it's such an instant gratification backstage access entertainment
world, with websites where you go into people's houses, "here's my
car, here's my girlfriend," and I don't really want to know all that
stuff about people. I would prefer that you were like Led Zeppelin, who
didn't let anybody take pictures and weren't on their album covers. Pink
Floyd, too. When they came to your town, you went because you wanted to
see if they were real or not. And all the stuff: Jimmy Page lived in Aleister
Crowley's castle? Wow. But I didn't get to see it, you know?
There's just so little mystery left in music or film. It was all that
was magical to me as a child. And I'm a very private person. What I did
in the past or what somebody heard me do or has a bootleg of me doing...well,
if you have a bootleg, then I did it. But I've never presented myself
as anything less than a flawed person.
Pitchfork: You're a private person, but you put forth a public persona
that is in some way rooted in who you are, right?
GD: Yeah, but Al Pacino isn't Tony Montana. That's why I always liked
Bowie, he would take it on, he was the Thin White Duke, he was Ziggy Stardust,
he played with that and that's cool. That's why when the Whigs made 1965
and I wore a hat or a fedora or cock feather or had a cane or I had a
12-piece band. When you get in that environment, you start to act like
a different person and it's kind of fun. You get to not be you for two
hours and you're entertaining people. I mean, I certainly wasn't that
when I put on my sweatpants and played checkers in the back of the bus.
It's escapism and it's escapism for the audience and it's escapism for
yourself. That's what I've always loved about music, that I could go be
another guy for two hours. But ultimately it all comes back to: do you
have the songs, can you sing them, do you have a great band that can play
them with you? You're charging money to have people come watch you play;
I want them to feel taken someplace good or provoked into thinking my
way for an hour and a half or two hours. I have been a provoker and I'll
probably always be one in the public arena for the rest of my life.
Pitchfork: Mark, do you feel like you're playing the role of an entertainer
when you're writing songs or when you get on stage? Or do you feel like
you're just being you?
ML: I'm pretty much exactly the same way I am right now. Only a little
[Laughter all around]
Pitchfork: One thing I noticed on the Gutter Twins record is that your
voices sound really strong. I mean, both of you have been up there screaming
your lungs out for years and years; how do you keep your voices in such
ML: Just lucky I guess. [laughs]
GD: I think that when we started to sing together, just casually at my
house in L.A. eight years ago, singing other people's songs-- we both
are fans of music and keen interpreters-- when we sang together on my
back porch, I remember thinking that we sang well together and it was
very natural, the low end and the high end. And there are times on this
record where I'm the low guy, he's the high guy. Rarely, but it's cool
when it happens. That to me was why I knew this would be cool, because
we didn't have to try, we just did it and it sounded great and the battle
was won right there. All we had to do was put forth the material to back
When I heard that Massive Attack song ["Live With Me", covered
by the Twilight Singers with Lanegan on the 2006 EP A Stitch in Time]
a couple years ago, I knew exactly what to do with it and I called him
and told him, "I have one for us." That sort of reignited the
fact that we should probably finish the Gutter Twins record and get it
out before Chinese Democracy came out.
Pitchfork: And you succeeded. This project had been in the works for something
like five years, right?
GD: Since late 2003. The entire process was three years and nine months
from start to finish, but that time is all accounted for. I think that
when he toured with the Twilight Singers, I just asked him to do one gig
and he ended up doing 100. At the end of that we were in Australia, and
he had to go to Scotland to sing with Isobel [Campbell], and I asked him
if he wanted to finish the record this year. He said yes and I said, "meet
me in New Orleans in 30 days." I picked him up 30 days later at the
airport in New Orleans and we started working on it. We worked on it in
March and then in May and June, we worked on things separately and then
I went out to L.A. in July and stayed until it was done.
Pitchfork: I'm sensing a certain dynamic here, between you guys: Greg,
you talk a lot, and Mark doesn't talk a lot. Does it ever reverse itself?
GD: As soon as you leave it will. And I don't talk a lot, I just fill
up the uncomfortable spaces of him not talking. [laughs]
Pitchfork: Well, thank you! So one thing I wanted to talk about is the
cover of Saturnalia, which I think is just gorgeous. It's like something
terrible is about to happen or something terrible just happened. What's
the story behind that image?
GD: I have a friend named Frank Relle who takes long exposure night shots
of New Orleans. I was already familiar with some of his work, but he took
a nighttime shot of [New Orleans jazz club] Vaughn's for [jazz musician]
Kermit Ruffins' record cover [2007's Live at Vaughn's]. Kermit has been
playing Thursday nights at Vaughn's for 20 years. I really liked that
shot. He showed me a couple shots after Katrina. I believe the one we
used is from Solomon Street, down in the Ninth Ward. The two chairs got
me and the empty space, the nakedness of the shot. Scott Ford, who plays
bass in the group, tweaked it out for its apocalyptic drama.
Pitchfork: The sky looks amazing.
GD: Yeah, he did the sky. I've always been a fan of album covers with
no writing on them and have used them a lot in my own groups.
Pitchfork: But then the label always puts a sticker on the cover with
the band name on it.
GD: But you take it off. In the end it's probably cost me sales because
they don't know who I am. But again, I like what I like, so I showed the
picture to Mark and he just wrote back, "I love it," and we
had the cover.
Pitchfork: When you open the CD, the first thing you see is a photo of
you guys laughing. I thought that made for a great counterpoint to the
desolation of the cover. There's a sense of joy there. Was that the intention?
ML: I just liked it because it reminded me of the Muddy Waters record
Electric Mud. Inside, there's a picture of him sitting in a barber's chair
getting his hair cut, just so random and weird. It was fitting somehow.
GD: Yeah, I mean, we're friends. We don't sit around and count the days
until the apocalypse, it's not like we're Satan's elves.
Pitchfork: What do you guys do together as friends, when you're not making
GD: We went to a Bulls game last night. Shitty game. Usually we just hang
out over lunch and we'll watch sports together. But a lot of times we
don't live in the same town so we don't hang out. We have, of course,
lives outside of music. But whenever I'm in California I probably see
him like once a week.
Pitchfork: You live in L.A. and New Orleans.
Pitchfork: And you own a bar in L.A.?
GD: I own two bars in L.A., I own one bar in New Orleans.
Pitchfork: You're a mogul!
GD: Uh, mogul, no. "Burgeoning entrepreneur" perhaps would be
the phrase I would use. Bring on the passive income, that's what I'm talking
Pitchfork: Mark, is music it for you? Do you do other stuff?
ML: You mean to make a living?
ML: No, I pretty much just play music.
GD: Counting stacks of money he makes from his lucrative...
ML: ...musical career. [laughs]
Pitchfork: Mark, I want to talk about your collaboration with Isobel Campbell.
You just announced this week that you two have a second album in the works.
[Sunday at Devil Dirt is due out May 5 in the UK on V2/Cooperative Music.]
When you two collaborate, she writes all of the music and then you come
in and sing it. That's an interesting dynamic, because you usually write
the music that you sing. What drew you to that project?
ML: It's just something different. I could see my place in it and it's
something outside the norm, which keeps music interesting for me.
Pitchfork: Are you going to tour with Isobel Campbell again?
ML: A little bit, yes.
Pitchfork: The title of the Gutter Twins album, Saturnalia, is the name
of an ancient Roman festival during which slaves and masters trade places.
Who is the master in the Gutter Twins? Who is the slave? Or are you both
the master or the slave?
GD: I believe it was Depeche Mode who said, "we play a game called
master and servant." So it's perhaps our homage to Depeche Mode,
perhaps that's the best way I can describe it. I think you can find yourself
in life perhaps not really being the master of your own life and it is
within your own will and tenacity whether you switch the roles or not.
So I think it has more to do with that, a person's individual will to
be master or servant. I've been both in my own life and I prefer the former.
Pitchfork: The Gutter Twins have been covering the José González
song "Down the Line" on this tour. What drew you to that particular
GD: Well, I love him. I really love that type of music where someone can
take a guitar or light instrumentation and a beautiful voice and can send
me somewhere. There are two artists currently who do that to me better
than anyone. José González is one and Vetiver is the other.
I can honestly say that I have all the Vetiver records, all the José
González records, and I never skip any of their songs. I love all
of their songs. And I really can't say that about anybody else. I know
Vetiver has a new album coming out and I cannot wait to hear it. I love
them. I think that guy's voice is beautiful; I think he writes perfect
little songs. I hope he becomes rich and famous--at least rich. And José
González, too. We were playing this festival a couple years ago
in Norway and I was backstage and I heard this guy playing guitar. I just
kind of peeked in, didn't bother him, didn't say anything. I looked at
his name right on the little cabin, it said "José González".
I heard him play, he wasn't singing or anything. Then I heard him sing
and I went, "oh my goodness, beautiful voice."
From that I went and started listening to him. His covers are fantastic.
That Knife song-- unbelievable. The Kylie Minogue song breaks my fucking
heart. And the Massive Attack song that he did. So with his covers I felt
like he was ripe to be covered. "Down the Line" was one that
I felt like I could do. I was doing this acoustic show in Seattle back
in October with Jeff Klein and Petra Haden. We did it in my living room
and whipped it up and we had it. We ran through it one time and it was
like oh, sweet.
Pitchfork: That version is up on the Twilight Singers' MySpace page.
GD: Yeah, then he sent a message to my manager that he liked it, too.
I would like to see him live one day. I would love to see Vetiver live
one day too. The only bands that I've YouTubed are those two.
Pitchfork: Have you seen the "Down the Line" video?
GD: Yeah. With the pig? Pig man? It's fantastic. I also like MGMT.
Pitchfork: Really? I think they're terrible. Except for that one song,
"Time to Pretend".
GD: You don't like "Electric Feel"? "Electric Feel"
is killer, man. That song is the shit. I like them, I like Yeasayer. Who
else do I like right now? I don't know if I could find myself really listening
to their records that much, but I found myself at a Brightblack Morning
Light concert with these crazy kaleidoscope 3D glasses that they gave
out at the show. I did smoke some reefer at that show and I totally dug
it. Give MGMT another...I feel the backlash coming on those guys.
Pitchfork: I've been trying, man. Everybody loves 'em.
GD: They're good-looking kids. I saw them on "David Letterman"
and they wore Dracula capes and I was like, sweet. Drummer even in a Dracula
cape, sweet. They seem tentative live.
Pitchfork: They're terrible live.
GD: The heavy hand of Dave Fridmann is all over their record, you know.
But they'll figure it out. I think they'll be very good and I think they'll
be very good for a while.
Pitchfork: Have you heard this new band called the Whigs?
GD: I have not heard them. I've heard of them and best of luck to them.
My next band is going to be called the Stones. Or the Lips. I couldn't
be bothered to see them. But I'll accidentally hear them one day, I'm
sure-- I hear they're getting pretty popular.
Pitchfork: You also started a Twilight trend. There are a few Twilight
bands out there now: the Twilight Sad, Twilight Sleep...
GD: Not only that, but it's Twilight with an S! Using Twilight is fine
but use another consonant to follow it!
Pitchfork: Nobody really seems to have followed the Screaming Trees' example,
though. I guess there are a few Trees bands: Taken by Trees, the Dead
ML: Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies. That's the only one I can think of. Screaming
for Vengeance, the Judas Priest tribute band. [laughs]
Pitchfork: You guys were both at one point in MGMT or Yeasayer's spot,
the buzzed-about hot new thing. What would you say to these dudes? Obviously
it's a very different landscape now than when you were starting out.
GD: Get everything up front. Get all the money up front. Unless you know
something that I don't know, always take it up front. Don't wait for it,
it never comes.
GD: Mark, what would you tell the young kids starting out in music today?
[Lanegan rolls eyes]
Pitchfork: Good advice! Mark, what artists are you excited about right
ML: Delroy Wilson.
GD: A 70s reggae artist.
ML: Johnny Clarke, another 70s reggae artist. And I was listening to a
lot of Lightning Bolt the other day.
GD: The other day? You've been listening to Lightning Bolt for a couple
of weeks, man.
ML: In between Delroy Wilson.
Pitchfork: That's a nice contrast-- one is very chill, and one is not
chill at all.
ML: But Lightning Bolt is chill. They totally chill me out for some reason.
GD: I listened to Lightning Bolt and it made me feel like I needed to
lay down. I liked them but it was very aggressive. I liked it, don't get
me wrong-- it reminded me of Squirrel Bait a little bit, some of the drumming.
But I was riding on the train with him in Belgium while he was listening
to Lightning Bolt at full fucking blast and he seemed to be in a transcendental,
peaceful state. So what works for people, I don't know. Have you heard
Cully [Symington]'s band 1986?
ML: I have not.
GD: They're a two-man outfit, too. The guy kind of sounds like J Mascis
a little bit, but they're pushing way harder that Dinosaur. The absence
of a bass player always makes things go faster and hit harder in the high-end
range. Check it out. Cully's our drummer, Cully's 23 and he's a badass.
Pitchfork: I suspect you have to be to play with you guys.
GD: Full-blown badass and he's got this band called 1986 that are, I think,
really, really great.
Pitchfork: Mark, would you ever want to make a reggae record or a brutal
ML: Maybe a brutal noise reggae record.
GD: Maybe you could get Dr. Know to produce it. That would be the guy.
Pitchfork: Speaking of Bad Brains and Dinosaur Jr., with all of these
reunions going on lately, did either of you guys ever want to jump on
the reunion train with your old bands? The Afghan Whigs recorded a couple
new songs for last year's Unbreakable retrospective and there were rumors
of some live shows.
GD: Anything lower than mid-six figures is not going to get me interested
in that. And honestly, I just don't want to. It's nothing against those
bands that have gotten together because for whatever reason they've gotten
together it's working for them. I'm guessing that a lot of that is a financial
thing, far be it from me to judge anyone. I'll say this, I saw Dinosaur
in New Orleans in December and they were awesome. They were actually really
good and the new songs that I heard sounded good. So if we re playing
festivals this summer and My Bloody Valentine is on one of those bills,
I will go watch them play.
Pitchfork: I'm kind of afraid of the My Bloody Valentine reunion. It might
be great, but...
GD: You run the risk of falling on your face, but, again, music is an
individual pursuit-- it is made to please yourself first. The pleasure
of other people is a byproduct of the pleasure that comes from yourself
so again I cannot judge or look down on someone who does whatever they
feel like doing. Conversely, for me the past is the past and I would hate
to dilute the great times I had in the Afghan Whigs by dragging it back
out and beating its corpse. I just don't know if I could do that.
Pitchfork: Mark, do you share those feelings?
ML: I share those feelings and I have a great many more of those feelings.
[laughs] I prefer to stay in the here and now and move forward. There's
a reason why it's not part of my life anymore nor can I ever see it being
a part of my life again.
GD: I look at it this way: if he or I were having to rehearse for a reunion
tour, you don't have time to write new songs that mean something to you
now. We've made careers after our groups that people come to. There are
people that I've met that didn't know who the Afghan Whigs were when they
came to a Twilight Singers show and that's great. I loved being in the
Afghan Whigs, Rick [McCollum] and John [Curley] are still two of my best
friends ever, and when we did the songs that we did for the retrospective
it was fun with the understanding that that was it. We were doing someone
at Rhino-- a mutual friend of all of ours-- a favor by doing that. It
was fun, it was so much fun, but then it became not fun and that's when
you know. It's like, you don't go shacking up with your ex-girlfriend
or ex-boyfriend. It ends in tears.
Pitchfork: When Unbreakable came out, there was talk of the Afghan Whigs
doing a video for one of the new songs.
GD: Lies, lies, lies.
Pitchfork: I specifically remember an interview you did with Billboard
that mentioned a video for "I'm a Soldier".
GD: I lie all the time. [laughs] That is my right as a liar.
Pitchfork: Are you guys going to make any Gutter Twins videos?
GD: We made one for "All Misery/Flowers" down in New Orleans
and that one's done now, but it's the one for "Idle Hands" that
I cannot wait to see. That's all I'm going to say. I cannot wait to see
it. We are not in it but I cannot wait to watch it.
Pitchfork: Greg, one thing I wanted to ask about was how the Twilight
Singers were one of the first people to cover Outkast's "Hey Ya",
and then you were one of the first people to cover Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy"...
GD: ...and we would've covered [Rihanna's] "Umbrella"!
Pitchfork: That was my question!
ML: Why did you not?
GD: Because we weren't touring. But the first time I heard that song I
went, "oh shit." Loved it, loved it. I would've done it in a
fucking heartbeat. And I would've done it before everyone else like I
did the other ones. I did it in my house. I had a version of it that I
played for myself.
Pitchfork: Every cover of "Umbrella" that I've heard has sucked.
GD: Yeah, when people do them just like they were already done: boring.
Actually, more than "Hey Ya", I loved the cover that we did
of "Roses", the Outkast song.
Pitchfork: I don't think I've heard that, actually. Was it live only or
did you record it?
GD: Yeah, it's live, but there's a bootleg of it somewhere. It's on piano,
it's a very gospel-sounding song. [TV on the Radio's] "Wolf Like
Me" was good too, I thought.
Pitchfork: What is it about a song that makes you want to cover it?
GD: I just hear it. It's gotta be great, it's got to make my hair stand
up and I have to wish that I wrote it and then I wish it so much that
I do write it again for me. And it's always for me. It's for my own entertainment.
Again, if someone else likes them, great, but you are indulging me watching
me do that.
Pitchfork: Your songs have been covered by Dashboard Confessional, the
GD: Haven't heard it.
Pitchfork: Emo guys seem to like you. Why do you think that is?
GD: I don't know. He was asking me that the other day. I don't know.
ML: There's nothing wrong with it, it just seems a little weird.
GD: Perhaps it's because I'm the Godfather of Emo. [laughs] It's weird,
emo, which is short for emotional-- of course music should be emotional.
It's like soul music, isn't it all soul music? Otherwise what is it, non-soul
music? I-have-no-soul music? Soulless music? People need to put a name
on something to identify it, and I understand it, but I have not heard
either one of those covers.