Sunday, January 15, 2012

Greg Dulli and the "rebirth of the cool"

For those unfamiliar, Greg Dulli was the front man of the 90s rock band, The Afghan Whigs, and has a current project, Twilight Singers. I'm sure you've heard of one or both of these bands, because they are fairly well-known and appeal to both indie and popular circles. However, despite that popularity, Dulli has been defecated on undeservedly more than any other indie musician, and many people who share similar tastes as mine tend to write him off as being 'lame' (just one of the many vague descriptors I've heard used to describe his music)

Here is a recent short exchange I had regarding Dulli with a newly made internet buddy of mine:

Friend: Matt. I never thought of it before, but Dulli really is one of those outliers that can both demand AND defy explanation.

"Outliers can occur by chance in any distribution, but they are often indicative either of measurement error or that the population has a heavy-tailed distribution. In the former case one wishes to discard them or use statistics that are robust to outliers, while in the latter case they indicate that the distribution has high kurtosis and that one should be very cautious in using tools or intuitions that assume a normal distribution."

I think Dulli is a sign of both a measurement error AND a heavy-tailed distribution.

But it would take a serious stamp of approval from some current rock divinity to introduce him as the anti-clsasic classic he is (Maus can't do it, yet, but maybe Chris Owens? or some pitchfork douche like twin shadow? anyway it's all too gross to think about but I would want it to bring Dulli some much deserved recognition. Wouldn't it be funny if Hedi Slimane did a "rock journal" photo session with an actually FAT guy for a change, instead of all those NAMBLA shots of precious brooders?

Me: I don’t get it why a band like, say, Sonic Youth, or any number of countless others who try to exemplify 'cool' ARE considered cool, while Dulli isn’t. I mean I get it from (sub)cultural standpoint, I just think its silly and it irks me.

Dulli’s sexuality (or sex appeal or whatever) is perhaps the best (or worst kind…I don’t know, it’s at least fun/interesting) . If I had to call it something I’d call it ego or hero sex – sex that’s far more human than animalistic. Anyways, yeah people call him cheesy and lame and shit (and fat, apparently, which I don’t think he is, and even so, this is kind of douchy/tasteless)…but a) I find his music to be fatally and drippingly sexy and b) isn’t everything fraudulent/acted to some degree? So fuck the haters.

I would definitely consider him to be an outlier. Interesting word, also because I tend to be drawn to those kind of artists (Lawrence of Felt is another, there are plenty). I’m also quick to dislike something based on associations…for example if a group of people I typically loathe enjoy something, I’m partial to dislike it for that reason alone. But, not always. So if Twin Shadow's fans suddenly started swooning over Dulli’s music because it became trendy to do so, I’d probably still like it, it'd just sour the whole affair a bit for me, if only a little. [I think it's this very mentality that cause people to overlook his music, because many of his fans are not cool, rather they are the type of people who think they know what 'cool' is, but in reality haven't a clue and these fans give Dulli himself a bad rep. Guilty by association. Also the fact that he is a cocky asshole, isn't that the archetypal rockstar personality? I will say that his latest T-shirt designs aren't helping the cause much, either]

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