INTERVIEW: Dennis Sheridan talks Twin Peaks!

Dennis Sheridan is one of my top aces. With that in mind, and with full knowledge that I am absolutely biased, proceed forward with the full caution that and absolute disclosure that this happened out of friendship and not payola, because that’s not how Never Nervous rolls! Having talked to Sheridan last year, we decided to ask him about something very near and dear to everyone’s hearts: the new Twin Peaks. You can catch Sheridan at the Follow the Train reunion this Friday night, and listen to his music below. We caught up to ask him what he’d tell the have a light dudes, Dougie, and FtT last album!

Never Nervous: How did Twin Peaks impact you as a musician?

Dennis Sheridan: This is a difficult question to answer. I’m just going to explain how it possibly affected my whole life, which includes playing music. I watched Fire Walk With Me when it first came out, long before I knew how to play an instrument, and I loved it even though I had no idea what was going on. A few years later when I was in College, I’d just finished a semester that (without going into detail) was the worst 4 months I’ve ever experienced. I spent a few days renting the EP mode tapes as my first “binge-watching” experience. I’d go to Video Vault or Blockbuster – I think one or the other was missing part of the full volume, but collectively between the two stores, they had the complete set – until I finished the whole thing.

“The part that pulled me in was the fact that there was this closed community of odd people sitting on a great darkness that they could no longer hide from.”

The show had this wonderful balance of being creepy and hilarious with a bit of fantastic, but the part that pulled me in was the fact that there was this closed community of odd people sitting on a great darkness that they could no longer hide from, and this eccentric and noble FBI agent shows up and helps battle the darkness by just being a good person. I realize I’m glossing over a lot of the garbage in the second season, but I loved Cooper and the redemption he seemed to offer everyone around him (unfortunately at a cost to himself). It think it was therapeutic and a lot of great things happened shortly after that.

You can hear plenty of Twin Peaks references in song lyrics I’ve written in past bands. I’d like to also think that the mixing of the sad and dark tunes with the anthemic pieces, and the subversive silliness was influenced by Twin Peaks, but that would also be implying that something I made might have some kind of value.

I saw this clickbait (yes, I took the bait) article circulating not too long ago by a smug person whom I assume is younger and fighting one of those typical artists’ Holden Caulfield complexes, but its thesis could be reduced to say that if you do anything on this list of things, then you’re a cliche; and one of those things was making references to Twin Peaks. I feel like there must have been a point between where I couldn’t get anyone to watch the show with me and now (when it is ostensibly so overdone you shouldn’t even allude to it), where I might have been “cool.” But I guess that’s kind of like Guildenstern saying there must have been a time when he could have said no.

“I loved Cooper and the redemption he seemed to offer everyone around him.”

NN: What about David Lynch’s work resonates with you in particular?

DS: When I first got into Lynch his flavor of “odd” was pretty unique. It was the pure “weird” at first. But over time I’ve appreciated how he builds each scene – every frame is a painting. The combination of visual and audio atmosphere is immersive. I used to applaud his creation of characters too, but after living in Southern California for a while, I’ve realized you can take a 2 hour walk down Venice Beach and find enough characters for 10 David Lynch films.

NN: What was your favorite episode of the first two seasons and why?

DS: Ooh… Another tough one… Everyone hates on the second season for valid reasons, but the last episode was definitely my favorite because of the long black lodge scene. I’ve rewatched that so many times (even projected that scene behind a show once at the Rud a long time ago). There’s a Follow the Train song off “A Breath of Sigh” where the words to the chorus are “The next time you see me, it won’t be me!” But my favorite moment in the series is where Major Briggs tells Bobby about the vision he has. I think it’s a great bit of connection to the Bobby we get to see in Season 3.

NN: Did you expect a follow up to the original series?

DS: I did not. After the Mulholland Drive debacle Lynch said he’d never do television again. I expected he would stick with that decision.

NN: What do you think so far?

DS: The new series requires a lot of patience. The original series was slow and non-linear like the new one, but Season 3 is obviously very different – more like a nexus of all things Lynch. There are hints of all past works and the way the episodes are quilted together, in some ways it can be a bit frustrating. Equally, I’m thankful for the lack of constraints. My favorite part so far was Episode 8, and there is no way that could have happened in the original series. (I want a poster of this on my wall)

The other thing I really like is the music the kicks off the credits at the end of (almost?) each episode. I’ve been sucking at discovering new music. I’d never heard Au Revoir Simone before but I’m probably not the only person who has them in regular rotation now after watching the show.

I’m feeling that there will not be a tidy ending to the series, but also hopeful for some kind of resolution and I’m along for the ride no matter what.

NN: What do you think about Dougie? Too long? Not long enough? Will we see the real Agent Cooper?

DS: Cooper’s character anchored the show in the original series. I enjoy the Dougie scenes. You have to admit Kyle MacLachlan’s acting is so good even if you’re getting sick of waiting through his bits. But they are such a tease because you have these flashes where you think he might wake up, but waiting drags on. That pie scene in the last episode was brilliant and yes I like Dougie, but we only have 7 episodes left and I’m ready for Dale to come back to us. The waiting is becoming like one of those painful sitcom tropes and I have to believe Lynch has more to offer than “Will Ross and Rachel ever get together??!!”

NN: If the Woodsman asked you for a light, what would you do?

DS: The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within; and while you’re thinking about that, my ass is running away as fast as I can…

“The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within; and while you’re thinking about that, my ass is running away as fast as I can…”

NN: What is your favorite song from the score?

DS: The Laura Palmer theme is so pretty, so going to say that even though I love it all. I got to see Angelo Badalamenti perform it at the Henry Fonda Theater a few years ago and it makes the music even more special.

NN: Did that final record ever come out?

DS: Our last record, “Mercury” was out digitally for a few years on Removador Records. The label is now pretty much defunct and Darla has offered to re-release for us, but I’m still working out the specifics. Hopefully sometime in the coming months. I guess it will just be an excuse for another show 🙂