It’s Sunday, July 5, and in two days the Gutter Twins should be acoustically setting La Trastienda on fire with their particular brand of bluesy rock. In Argentina for the first time, their name might not be on the tip of your tongue, but this duo comprising Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan have credible CVs: Dulli played in The Afghan Whigs and Backbeat Band while Lanegan fronted Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age and their popularity peaked in the 1990s with their grunge rock sounds.
A phone call a few weeks ago with Dulli reveals him to to be sharp, dry and amusing. A singer and musician originally from Ohio, he now divides his time between Los Angeles and New Orleans. “I’ve lived on and off between the two cities for about 20 years,” he says. But isn’t LA overly superficial? It seems odd that a songwriter known for his dark, depressing lyrics would call it home. “No. I live on the east side which is a series of artistic and bohemia neighbourhoods. Some amazing people live there.” They seem two juxtaposing places to live. “I moved to New Orleans 12 years ago then six years ago I got a place and kept it, and I’ve been coastal ever since. Sometimes I stay in New Orleans for eight months without leaving but often I don’t go there for a year. It keeps it interesting.”
Two figures as a magical number for Dulli, what with two homes and his current band incorporating best friend Lanegan. Although tonight is billed as “An Evening With Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan” a third wheel will be in motion in the shape of Twilight Singers’ guitarist Dave Rosser. This isn’t the first time Rosser has stepped on board the Good Ship Gutter. “Dave’s from New Orleans, Mark doesn’t play an instrument and last time we toured I needed some help. Dave sings, Mark was also in the Twilight Singers…” tails off Dulli so it should all work out.
Provided La Trastienda isn’t closed tonight due to the health scare, what’s on the cards? Dulli says: “Mark and I will be playing an overview of our careers, incorporating Whigs and Screaming Trees songs.” Twelve months ago the Gutter Twins released their debut album Saturnalia which will also be on the agenda.
Comments left by fans on the Twins’ MySpace website refer to last week’s shows in Chile and Brazil and they’ve come away from the debut South American tour thrilled to have been on the receiving end of a Whigs-Trees mash-up.
FUTURE PERFECT. Once this tour ends Down Under, Dulli will return to the studio. “My next formal project is a Twilight record that I hope will come out next year, and then we’ll tour. What inspires me after all this time? Inspiration is waking every day. As for Mark, he’s working with his next project Soulsavers so although he’s my best friend, after this tour we’ll both go off and do our own things.”
But never mind albums coming out in 2010, we’ve got to get through 2009. What with H1N1 causing havoc in Argentina and foreigners spotting filled body bags coming out of Buenos Aires basements, assurances about tonight’s San Telmo show are necessary.
I drop Dulli an email. Subject: “Are you still coming to BA?” Message: “Swine flu and wine flu are taking over the country, that’s why I ask…” That was 7.30pm Sunday. A little later, not the most syllabic of replies but it was enough. “GD” sends a short, informative email: “I am here, Sorrel Moseley-Williams…”