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Up In It: Greg Dulli Talks Afghan Whigs Reunion

From Spin Magazine:

The frontman for the reformed ATP headliners speaks for the first time on his old band’s new lease on life

While last week’s announcement that the Greg Dulli-curated 2012 edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties in New Jersey would be capped off by the first Afghan Whigs shows in 13 years may not have been a shock to anyone minding the indie-rock rumor mill, or keeping track of which beloved ‘90s bands had yet to give into reunion fever, big questions still abound: Why now? What else is in the works? And no one better to pose these questions to than Dulli himself, in New Orleans overseeing some home renovations that could be seen as plenty metaphorical, if one were so inclined.

Dulli was cagey as to whether or not the band would perform publicly before or after the September festival date, other than to continually lapse into the plural, so we just leave you to think of all the other bands that reformed after more than a decade to only play one festival show. [Note: We are winking at you so hard right now.]

You’ve obviously been asked about getting the Afghan Whigs back together countless times over the past 13 years. Why is this the right moment?
The best way I can answer that is, it’s the perfect storm: I did this acoustic tour about a year and a half ago and [Whigs bassist] John Curley did six of the shows with me, and we had a great time. We hadn’t spent any time on the road together since the band. In the spring, I spent a couple days in Minneapolis with [Whigs guitarist] Rick McCullom, and that was also a great time. I started talking with [ATP founder] Barry Hogan on the phone, and I really admired what he’s done, and the combination of those experiences convinced me this could be a good time. Plus, I had nothing really pressing this summer, so it gives me something to do. The clincher, though, was playing those songs acoustically — I hadn’t performed them in 15 years and I thought it’d would be cool to play them again electrified.

And there wasn’t a disconnect? Those songs are so visceral and personal and you’ve made so much other music in the years since.
Oh, we’re playing all new material. No old songs, just new stuff we’ve come up with. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Well, I’d think that the way bands like the Pixies and Pavement and My Bloody Valentine have done it the past few years, there’s not really the expectation for new material. Does that make it easier or take some of the pressure off?
I don’t really know. I will say that when we first got together in New Orleans after Thanksgiving, we ran through, like, 30 songs, and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I found it to be a transcendent experience. I felt deeply connected to the material, and I think that bodes well for the performances. We did record four cover songs last month, just to see how it would jibe, and we did them kinda fast and easy-peasy. We’ll be playing those in the shows and we’ll release a couple of them somehow, I’m sure.

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