David Lynch once rejected a Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails song for ‘Twin Peaks’
With both cinemas and music venues forced to remain closed amid strict social distancing measures, the period of flux has allowed time for reflection. A time to look back at some of the closest artistic collaborations and, sometimes, the ones that just didn’t materialise. Here, as part of our ‘From The Vault’ section, we take a look back at why David Lynch came to the decision to reject a song from Nine Inch Nails for his brilliant television series Twin Peaks.
Band members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are the names on everybody’s lips at the moment. The creative force behind Nine Inch Nails have taken their vision into the world of TV and film in recent years, a direction which has seen their abilities flourish to a new level. Having picked up their first Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special after their work for HBO’s Watchmen was rightly recognised, Reznor and Ross are close to EGOT status—an accomplishment which would confirm the duo as landmark musicians of their generation. However, their path to acclaim hasn’t always been a straightforward one, you only need to look back at Twin Peaks for that.
In 2017 Lynch launched his supremely popular comeback of the now-iconic mystery drama television series alongside his partner in crime Mark Frost. Twin Peaks: The Return, otherwise known as season three, marked the end of a 25 year wait as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper headed back to Twin Peaks in suitably surreal fashion. For the comeback, Lynch who sourced contributions from a host of different musicians and artists for the revival but, in a surprise move, he decided to turn down an effort made by Nine Inch Nails because it sounded too much like a Twin Peaks song should. Lynch would also go on to note that the material wasn’t “aggressive and ugly” enough.
During the eighth episode of Twin Peaks: The Return, the band appeared for a performance of ‘She’s Gone Away’ from their 2016 record—but it should never have been that track.
Reflecting on the collaboration, in an interview on Chicago’s 101WKQX, Trent Reznor explained how Lynch decided to switch up his original plans: “We wrote a different song initially, and [Lynch] said, ‘How about something less ‘Twin Peaks-y’ sounding, and more aggressive and ugly,’” Reznor said before adding that Lynch wanted the track to “make my hair stand on end.”
“[It was] a complete honour to be involved,” Reznor added. “Lynch has always been a hero of mine. I was thrilled to learn that he was gonna put the effort in and bring Twin Peaks and do it in the style that he did. I was thrilled to see what it became because we didn’t know any more than anybody else. We filmed our bit… a few months later he said you want to come by my house and check out your footage.”