Afghan Whigs Are Uptown Again

The emotional anthropology behind the band's return

"The great thing about comedy is the honesty and the personal catharsis that they're having," he says. "They're telling you things about themselves that, most likely, you recognize, not unlike a songwriter. Anyone who connects with the part of your soul that you recognize, you know—that is a guide. We're all carrying each other. It would certainly be a lonely place if there weren't other people there."

In concert, Dulli has proven to be pretty funny, his spot-on asides about baseball (he's a Reds fan) and Daft Punk providing a sort of emotional ballast to the lyrics. But don't expect him to go into comedy anytime soon: "That is the loneliest, scariest job in the world," he says. "I can't imagine that. I really can't. It's one of the greatest art forms. It's observational, it's personal—it moves between the two poles. You pick up on things about yourself that you recognize in others."

It's a calculus not dissimilar to that put forth by Dulli's work—though don't ask him exactly how he balances between the two.

Rebirth of the cool: Afghan Whigs.
Sam Holden
Rebirth of the cool: Afghan Whigs.

"If art was an exact science, I certainly wouldn't be in it."

The Afghan Whigs play the Bowery

Ballroom on May 23. I'll Be Your Mirror USA takes place September 21 through 23 in Asbury Park.

mjohnston@villagevoice.com

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