Prior to the Afghan Whigs' performance at Lollapalooza in Chicago, Greg Dulli seemed as excited to discuss other performers as the work of his own group. "You watch," he said of rapper Kendrick Lamar's latest single, "Swimming Pools," a song about the appeal of and downsides to heavy drinking. "College kids will turn this into a drinking game, when it's really the opposite."
Dulli remains an enthusiastic music fan. While he's not too excited about music festivals in general ("It's too much like going to a concert at an airport, know what I'm saying?"), he seems to draw on the energy of many of the artists who populated this year's Lollapalooza, eagerly sharing his plans to catch Frank Ocean and M83.
A conversation with Greg Dulli, though, tends to wander through various topics with a natural flow, to the extent that it feels like a bar conversation with a friendly stranger. He talks baseball (he predicts an Angels-Reds World Series) and reminisces about the time that his one-off supergroup Backbeat, which included Dave Grohl, nearly reunited.
"Foo Fighters were playing Jazz Fest," said Dulli, a New Orleans resident. "I got contacted by my friend who runs a club called One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans. I was like, hey, I'm here! We could do it. We made that record in, like, 24 hours. Each song was two minutes long. I could [still] sing those songs now with no problem."
The unpredictable results of the Whigs reuniting was something he'd discussed with interviewers earlier in the year, before the group had played any shows together, but he seemed to be rolling with the punches with Zenlike confidence.
"Like life, [there have been] good times and bad times. But that's the way it is in any band. Everybody's cool, and honestly, we're having a good time. I don't do things that aren't a good time, not anymore. I don't have to." This kind of thinking seems evident even in his conversational flow. It's refreshing to hear someone who, more than two decades into a career, still seems enamored of the work of other recording artists.
After discussing his interest in Black Sabbath's Lollapalooza performance ("Tony Iommi is one of the greatest guitar players of all time,") the conversation turns to favorite Thin Lizzy songs. The first track the reunited Afghan Whigs performed together was a cover of "Little Darling."
"I have so many favorites," Dulli said, reflecting. "One of my favorites is called 'Dear Heart.' It's a ballad. Really, really beautiful song. I love Thin Lizzy."