This year, Twin Peaks turned 25. Celebrations, thinkpieces, and a special anniversary edition of the entire series followed, along with an announcement that the 90s television cult classic would probably be coming back into our lives in 2017. The Gallery of Modern Art in Australia even commissioned co-director David Lynch to mount a massive retrospective of 50 years of his own work as an artist, filmmaker, and musician. After the show opened this past Spring, the Brisbane museum recruited Twin-Peaks-obsessed experimental singer-songwriter and Xiu Xiu frontperson Jamie Stewart—long known for his haunting covers of popular songs—to perform a live interpretation of Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti's original score with his band.
This month, Jamie Stewart and his live band are set to embark on an October tour that will hit cities like London, Los Angeles, and Amsterdam, playing covers of songs from the soundtrack along the way. Ahead of tomorrow's performance at Amsterdam venue The Rest Is Noise, we got a chance to chat with Stewart about why he loves Twin Peaks so much, and how the show has influenced his sound.
THUMP: Do you remember the first time you saw Twin Peaks?
Jamie Stewart: I was a little too young, and a little too uncool, to really grasp [Twin Peaks] when it was on originally aired on television. I had some older friends who took me to a Twin Peaks party where people just sat together and watched it, but conceptually, I couldn't deal with it, and I talked through the whole thing until I was asked to leave. But I knew there was something there and the seed was planted.
After watching several other [David] Lynch films and finally being old enough to get it, I rented [the show] on VHS tapes like a possessed fiend, running back and forth to the video store a few times a day. When I got to the final episode, the tape jammed in my player. I panicked and ripped off the top panel, essentially destroying the player, and I found out the video tape had ripped. I carefully glued it back together, went to the store, and bought a new VCR on credit (I was totally broke at the time); to my relief, the glue held and my heart was full.
What makes the show so great in your opinion?
There is no other show that is as horrifying, amusing, creative, unusual, funny, difficult, beautiful, odd, touching, inspiring, or detailed as Twin Peaks. It has the best set of characters ever, the best sound track, the best dialogue, the best plot and the best magical beings of any show. It takes the ideas of death, sex, sweetheartedness, the spirit dimension, good, evil, and love, and turns them inside and out of each other. [The show] goes everywhere but remains singular and focused thought.
Who's your favorite Twin Peaks character? And if he/she is not dead, what do you think they'll be up to 25 years from when the show ended?
The man from another place. It's hard to say if he is dead or if he ever lived at all. 25 years later, I doubt very much he went and got a regular job as a baggage handler at the airport—more than likely, he's still escorting doomed souls in and out of the red room, and [will continue to do so] for all time.
Besides Twin Peaks, what's your favorite Angelo Badalamenti soundtrack for David Lynch?
It's hard to say, as they are all so stunning, but probably Lost Highway, even though so much of that soundtrack is by other people. In context, "Fred & Renee Make Love" is the best love/humiliation scene music I have ever heard—it's beyond perfect for the unknowable tone and palpable fear of who or what they were as characters.
What's a question on your mind that you would really like to be solved by the Log Lady?
Why am I such a loser?
What's your favorite David Lynch movie, and why?
All of them—just commit and watch all of them. Each one is special, each one will open your mind, each one will terrify you psychically, and each one will show you something you've never seen or imagined. But [Lynch's films] will all do it within a recognizable world—they are all of a piece, and they are all incredibly strong on their own. I recommend watching them in random chronological order.
How do like your coffee?
As black on a moonless night.
Which of the following female characters in the series would you most like to share a slice of blueberry pie with: Shelly, Audrey, Donna, Josie, or Maddy?
I have a big appetite. Josie and Audrey.
What is your favorite scene in the whole series?
That last scene where Cooper smashes his head into the mirror, possessed by BOB. It shocked me when I first saw it and then delighted me that they had the guts to end the series on such a dark and ambiguous note.
Check out the Xiu Xiu Plays The Music of Twin Peaks Tour below:
OCT 1 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - Leipzig, Nato
OCT 2 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw
OCT 3 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - Bristol, the Lantern
OCT 4 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - Leeds, Howard Assembly Room
OCT 5 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - Gateshead, The Sage
OCT 6 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - Liverpool, The Kazimier
OCT 7 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - Brighton, Komedia
OCT 8 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - London, St.John at Hackney Church
OCT 9 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - Moscow, Central House of Artists
OCT 10 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - St. Petersburg, The Place
OCT 29 Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks - Los Angeles, Masonic Lodge