Greg Dulli just returned from Joshua Tree the night before. A regular retreat, the two-hour drive from his Los Angeles home resets him for the project at hand. At the moment, the project is recording new material for The Afghan Whigs.
Joshua Tree, specifically Christopher Thorn’s Fireside Studio, is Dulli’s destination of choice. He has his system down pat. Even during the COVID-19 lockdown, he’s managed to return to recording—albeit in a bubble. At home, he works out with a trainer on his patio three times a week. He plays golf three times a week. He even does FaceTime yoga three times a week. Dulli is a methodical man. And there’s a method to his madness, even following the release of his solo debut Random Desire (Royal Cream/BMG), his first in a nearly 30-plus-year career.
Faced with the inability to tour around the album following the shutdown, Dulli was determined to at least play some of the songs live before moving on to new music and is set to perform two live-streamed shows from Gold-Diggers, a Los Angeles bar, hotel, and recording studio, on August 1st.
“I’ve made 16 albums, and this the first time I’ve made a record and not toured it,” says Dulli of the recent self-isolation and being off the road. “It’s odd, but hey I’m honestly kind of a loner anyway. I live with two cats.”
Prior to the lockdown, Dulli was set to tour along with The Twilight Singers’ and The Afghan Whigs’ guitarists Jon Skibic and Rick Nelson, and drummer Trey Bourgeois this spring.
“I finished the record and I went to Europe on vacation, then I came back—and went back to Europe again in December to do a press tour,” says Dulli. “When I came back, my friends in Europe were calling me in early February and telling me about what was going on, so I kind of saw it coming pretty early. There was no way we weren’t all going to experience this. If you ever saw the movie Contagion, it’s really not far off.”
Burning through an epitome of something illicit, Random Desire evokes the dusty haze of Joshua Tree and cracks open the cinematic and cerebral portal to Dulli’s world, one that hasn’t been touched by The Afghan Whigs or The Twilight Singers. Scene by scene, Random Desire is an exploration of life, death, survival, love, loss, and the other maddening circles of humanity—something Dulli has managed to continuously dissect in song over the years.