Damn Fine Music Fest: A Celebration of Twin Peaks at Cheer Up Charlies



Welcome to the town of Twin Peaks, director David Lynch’s fascinating and surreal TV show spanning three seasons over the last 28 years. Incorporating eerie and haunting visuals, a moody score by Angelo Badalamenti and a cast of intriguing characters, there’s no doubt that there’s plenty to reflect on and plot points that leave more questions remaining unanswered. With a fanbase spread worldwide and a multitude of themed parties taking place last year for the highly anticipated arrival of the new season, 22 Austin TX based musicians teamed up to form five “supergroups” and create an original half hour score based on five characters from Twin Peaks. With no member in a group in the same band as each other, Damn Fine Music Fest: A Celebration of Twin Peaks highlights the collaborative spirit of the city with musicians joining together to create something uniquely their own in conjunction with their love of Lynch. Once assigned characters, members got into the right frame of mind and communication with their respective teammates to start putting together a set. “When I was first introduced to Bob via David Lynch, I initially assumed he was a mortal murderer on a killing spree. Of course, things are never this cut and dry in Twin Peaks. As Bob’s character continued to be revealed, I begun to notice some qualities that finally made me realize he is the epitome of evil, and transcends mortality”, says Buddy Hachar of desert rock band Greenbeard, and compliments the third season’s execution by its involvement of many of the same characters while also putting the story on a whole new continuum. Multiple personalities and layered traits are a constant in Lynch’s craft — Thomas Echols of his solo project Man, Woman, Friend, Computer, tied in with the Laura Palmer group mentions “[t]here is that aspect of Laura that she was known for in her community:  the “good” Laura who does meals on wheels and has  her photo in the trophy case at school. There is “One Eyed Jack’s” Laura, who we see in the bar scene of Fire Walk With Me —then there is the aspect of Laura that is Bob, or is becoming Bob. All of this means that Laura, as a character, has a lot of musical moods to draw from when composing for this project, since each one of these aspects has particular parts of the original score devoted to it.” Omniscient characters or those that seem more than mere mortals are a common trademark in Lynch’s work as well. Timothy Bond (The Gary Wilson Band) of the Log Lady group highlights the importance of her being on the series — “I thought initially the show was kind of about her or from her perspective; she seemed to understand what was going on while the other citizens of Twin Peaks were still guessing.”




Groups took the time to research both individually and as a group about their respective characters, honing in with a variety of processes to transfer ideas and references to each other. “We started by improvising new material and recording our jams each week. Eventually individual songs where developed by adding vocals to a few of the recordings we produced. We continued to develop the set further each week trying different instrumentations and working on the song structures”, states synth player Christian Ellsworth of Agent Dale Cooper’s group, and hints at their tracks pertaining to references in his many different personas depicted in season three of Twin Peaks. While some musicians were familiar with other member’s musical projects within their group, others were assigned to work with musicians whose work might have been unknown to them previously. “Collaborating with strangers is kind of intimidating, but also exciting. I feel like collabing is always an opportunity to learn about myself and to explore the boundaries of my comfort zone a bit”, says Echols. Tapping in to the fine details of Lynch’s charater personalities, the Log Lady group discovered that on top of her introduction videos to each episode being a revelation, she was also a ballroom dance instructor, which presented a major influence on the rhythms and structure of their set. Multi-instrumentalist Walter Nichols of Emme eased into his group for Audrey Horne by group discussions on Audrey’s character and putting themselves in the right head space by listening to the series’ soundtrack together. “Some of the romance aspects of the show that might come off as a little corny or trite today landed riiiight on the mark when I first watched it. (There were tears.) Honestly the theme music still immediately puts me in a pretty specific emotional state.” When asked about the collaborative undertaking, he remarks at the effortlessness in which the group settled into their rehearsals. “The writing process was actually much smoother than I expected it to be”, says Nichols, “[b]ecause everyone is so professional and open to new ideas, there’s kind of a faith that every rehearsal is going to be fruitful. It’s really nice to be able to relax into that.”



For those of you that live in Austin or nearby you won’t want to miss this unique event taking place on Friday, September 21st at Cheer Up Charlies (900 Red River St)! Each group will be paired with a local artist creating original visuals for the five characters, plus themed photobooths, drink specials, vendors selling handcrafted Twin Peaks goods, cherry pie, doughnuts and a Do512 hosted costume contest. You can purchase pre-sale tickets here for $7 or entry for $10 at the door the night of. See you in the trees!


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