Going Down with The Gutter Twins and Saturnalia

Posted: June 7, 2014 by generationgbooks in Music
Tags: ,


The Afghan Whigs hold a special place in my heart of musical hearts. No, it doesn’t just involve that swaggering, chain-smoking lead singer Greg Dulli (I like them tall, dark, and troubled). It doesn’t involve any one time period in my life or one particularly bad relationship, rather they are the one band that I listen to that embraces the dark, seedier side of things that hide in the bushes of one’s troubled subconscious. For every Duran Duran that litters that vinyl record player, there’s an Afghan Whig or a Greg Dulli side project that’s sitting in its plastic waiting to be unleashed. The Whigs never fail to stir up the creative side. Often they stir up dark, submerged memories that should be left thousands of feet underwater. Often, more often than not, they make me turn that radio up higher and try to figure out what makes Mr. Greg Dulli tick. More and more lately, I have turned to their records in an attempt to find my fountain of inspiration, which has left me arid in the middle of deserted cacti. Do To The Beast is incredible, by the way. Not just good, or okay. Incredible. It’s the type of record that should be played when you are sitting alone in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, unable to dream, unable to write, unable to be, well, anything. At least you’ll have one hell of a soundtrack to put some wrappers in your brain, things that may later give birth to incredible outbursts of creativity, or at least make you pay heed to what’s rustling around in the attic. This latest album has inspired me to head back into the catalog of Whigs and Co. material. I went on a mission to find all of the vinyl. First I found the CD for Saturnalia, then I went through two more boxes of stuff and found the vinyl. What the hell are the Gutter Twins? Well, friends, let me give you a small history lesson.

Also, not to shortlist the other talented part of The Gutter Twins, Mr. Mark Lanegan. Mark Lanegan spent sixteen years as lead singer and visionary of the band Screaming Trees. After the band ended in 2000, he went on his merry way, doing anything from solo records to guesting on prominent band albums (mostly Queens of the Stone Age), to side projects with notable musicians. He and Dulli began this collaboration in 2003. I have a lot of Lanegan’s music as well, solo and Screaming Trees, and he doesn’t disappoint. Put the two together and albums like Saturnalia are born. The duo worked on it over the next five years, and it finally found its release on March 4, 2008 (time of Pisces. Go figure the dark, brooding nature of parts of this album).

Sadly, I didn’t connect with Saturnalia until August of 2008. Duran Duran’s Red Carpet Massacre had been released in November of 2007, and distractions of that nature took a while for me to get past. I was also, to great regret, re-igniting that long snuffed out torch known as the ten-year error in judgment. I was, for the second time in my ten years loving the wrong individual, “The Other Woman”. No, the romper room fruit plate gifting fool wasn’t married, but was in a committed relationship with one woman, and carrying on with me behind her back. Am I proud of both lapses in judgment? No, definitely not. However, you don’t learn to move on and past things if you aren’t shat upon repeatedly by the same bird of prey. I finally woke the fuck up, and when it did happen, it was ugly. And the soundtrack to this happenstance? The Gutter Twins Saturnalia.

As I have said with previous albums, it’s hard for me to pick favorites on some of the vinyl I own. This would be one of those occurrences. The time, nor the place, really matter because every single time I listen to it, a new bevy of emotions threaten to consume me as Mount Vesuvius did Pompeii. It doesn’t matter what sort of mood you’re in when you put this record on, or what sort of calamity may have befallen you on that day, but you’re going down when you put this record on. It’s a cathartic experience. It’s one that should be experienced, repeatedly. It’s worth owning the vinyl, the CD, and if it exists (I am not certain if it does), on cassette. Because that’s how you roll with music you really love; any and all formats are appreciated and should be owned.

About that vinyl. I got it on Alabamazon from an independent seller for $14.02. It came in the mail trashed. I filed a complaint and got a refund. I couldn’t play the fucking thing; it was scratched worse than Clinton’s nut sack after Lewinsky got done. The second vinyl I ordered came in pristine condition, but broken. In two. Thanks, UPS, you can suck it. We had a UPS driver in Willow Springs who liked to throw any and all boxes on top of the staircase. I lost plenty of vinyl over the years from that fucker. The third time was, thankfully, the charm. I finally gave up on ordering it online, and I hit Musicland in Chicago Ridge Mall looking for it. Steven Joseph of the Mataros Mafioso (LCP) was managing it, and gave me the old stink eye when I told him I was looking for that on vinyl. That motherfucker wouldn’t order a jazz record if you asked him, unless you gave a shout out to his favorite “singer” of all time, Ms. Sheryl Crow. I waxed some bullshit about how “Everyday Is A Winding Road” changed my karmic outlook toward world peace and manure piles, and he ordered it. Since it was a “special order”, it took almost a month to come in, but the rejoicing was mine when I picked it up. I believe a special celebration was in store that evening: me, myself, the gentlemen Lanegan and Dulli, and a bottle of Southern Comfort. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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