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We Speak to Twin Peaks

Walking in to the dark and delightfully dingy we felt a slight pang of anxiety, not of the impending performance, which judging by their previous record would be unhinged and chaotic in perfect morsels of garage rock. No, we were more concerned with our possible place in history.

Twin Peaks, a quartet from North Side Chicago, have been making so many waves there is a slight feeling that these boys may mature into leathery ageing rock stars before our eyes and we wanted to be a part of it.

As we scanned across the faces of Cheech-ing eyes and mischievous smiles you may have been forgiven for thinking this was a line up for ASBO of the year. But regardless of the youthful energy which permeated beyond the herbal smells Twin Peaks have the quiet confidence of a band who know, if they play their cards right, they are gonna be hanging around for a long time.

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One thing is for sure if they continue to produce albums like their last there will definitely be a place in history for Twin Peaks. Wild Onion was for me, about as close as you can get to a modern-day classic. It had all the nuance of an analogue recording from the 60’s but with the vigour of a band biting at the teat. Tracks like ‘No Way Out’, ‘I Found a New Way’ and ‘Slopp Jay D’ mix heavy power chords with sonic and lyrical mastery. The LP featured on pretty much everybody’s list for Best Album and affirmed the band as ‘ones to watch’ – if you hadn’t been already. Though Cadien wasn’t entirely pleased. “I love the album, don’t get me wrong. But I just feel some of the tracks are a bit stagnant, they lack the verve we have on stage. The next album will be a mix between this one and ‘Sunken’”

As Cadien (Vocals and Guitar) and I sit down in the infamous dressing room of the 100 club, adorned with scribblings of bands from across the ages, I knew I owed it to the Far Out Fans. I had to ask the hard questions. Those kind of questions which sink through to the white bone of the band, like a hot knife through butter.

So, you’re Mr Blonde from Reservoir Dogs, you have a razor in hand, who do you put in the chair and what song is playing

“I would put Nicolas Cage in the chair, I think he would have a great reaction. You seen his freak-outs in all the movies? I would put him in the chair just to see if he actually freaks out or just whines like a little bitch. I would do it to ‘Close to the Edge’ that’s like 19 minutes long. Or maybe the lead singer of Fat White Family and play ‘Touch The Leather’”. I wondered if there was ‘beef’ but no. No scoop there. “Oh no, we are massive fans. I just think it would be dark and he would love it”.  

At which point, Jack the band’s bassist walks in looking for a lighter and with the kind of face that labels him a ‘scamp’, he instantly lights up at the question. “Justin Bieber in the chair and make him listen to Lou Reed’s ‘Metal Machine Music’ for a few hours. With all that industrial noise just to really freak him out. He would definitely bitch out.“  

With that indelible question cleared up we moved on to what really made the industry stand up and take notice of some kids in Chicago making a racket. Their insatiable appetite for writing 60’s/70’s inspired songs is what endeared so many fans to an otherwise run-of-the-mill story. But Cadien and the band see it as just that, a natural thing for some kids who grew up on bands ranging from The Black Lips to The Beatles. “We just all grew up on that shit. Like the Stones and The Beatles and we liked modern Garage bands as well like The Black Lips and Thee Oh Sees. The Black Lips used to come through Chicago every year, once a year, and would tear it up. We loved that”.

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Twin Peaks aren’t quite filling stadiums like The Rolling Stones yet, Cadien demands “Give me the stones playing in a fucking basement and I will die happy. Fuck this shit, bringing out Lady Gaga to sing with them” but they are true to their word and will be performing a series of DIY shows across the country, something which is intrinsic not only to the band’s success, having toured across America playing only house parties, but is also part of their DNA. Having put shows on in Clay’s house the band quickly developed an appetite for the raw and chaotic nature of DIY shows.

After enlightening Cadien about the infamous Libertines guerrilla gigs (a comparison i would quite happily make again with the dual frontman, the anarchic poetry and devotion to their fans) at The Albion Rooms we spoke more about how vital these kind of shows are to a growing band and burgeoning scene. “It doesn’t just give bands a place to play and a crowd to play to but it helps the scene out. You have older guys who you think ‘wow. They’re fucking cool, I wanna play like them’ and then my friends can drink!”. I wondered whether people just worried that their small gigs would turn in to a sprawling house party full of hookers and Biker gangs. “Probably, but it’s a real supportive scene. Everyone looks out for each other and that’s how we got our breaks”.

It’s something which isn’t seen as much over here in the UK, most likely due to the lack of accessible venues for suburban kids in the US but that’s something that is now starting to hit us here in Blighty too. So perhaps DIY shows are the way to go now? Cadien seems to think so. “I just prefer it, there’s no obligations no sound guys, no techies and no stage, just us and the crowd connecting like friends with no separation.”.   

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It’s hard not to agree, the band are effortless tonight in their performance smashing out hits like ‘No Way Out’, ‘Sweet Thing’ and other classic from the amazing Wild Onion Lp. It is full of the kind of crowd-surfing and beer throwing (none by me Mr Slightly Balding Man directly in front of me, honest) and furious playing the band have become famed for. But their point about connecting with real fans is entirely apparent as move beyond the 150 or so entirely devoted to the cause, crushing the band and the stage and there was a sea of industry folks writing emails and discussing the quality of the vodka.

For that reason we must all champion bands like Twin Peaks for their veracious attitude and willingness to commit to the ethos. DIY shows up and down the country might seem a bit odd for a band now selling out venues across two continents but their devotion to the scene stretches beyond their devotion to their bank balance. They’d rather gain real fans and friends than politely play to a bunch of industry num-nuts who would rather eat a Pret and drink Prosecco than go to the pit.

As our time draws to a close and Twin Peaks imminent destruction of the incredibly historical 100 club stage looms we had to address the elephant in the room. Was Twin Peaks named after the infamous and arthouse driven David Lynch TV show. “No. Well kinda, but we hadn’t seen it yet” . So what TV show would best sum up the chaotic, anarchic yet highly entertaining Twin Peaks. Without a single moment’s hesitation Cadien, true to his word and his band’s development “Trailer Park Boys”.  

That’s about all you need to know about Twin Peaks.

Got to their website to keep up to date on where the DIY shows will be.

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Jack Whatley