David Lynch discusses Elvis, Janis and Richard Strauss(!) on KCRW


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Art fans in L.A. know just how deeply David Lynch’s creative cortex is rooted in musical inspiration. His recent photography exhibition at Michael Kohn Gallery was inspired by the new album ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, and was one of the L.A. gallery scene’s starriest events of the year so far. In his films, the great enigmatic one has repeatedly inserted famous pop numbers at crucial plot junctures, signaling ruptures in psyches and consciousness, using them not as sonic wallpaper but as a fundamental part of the elaborate soundscape.

Today, Lynch reveals more about his musical preferences when he drops by KCRW as part of the station’s guest DJ project. (A snippet of the show has aired on the program ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic,’ but the program is intended to be experienced online. You can click on the above media player for the entire session.)


The Oscar-nominated filmmaker and artist talks about the various pop singers who have influenced his movies and visual art, among them Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and more. One big surprise: Lynch singles out Richard Strauss and ‘Im Abendrot,’ which the German composer wrote when he was 84 as part of the series Last Four Songs.

And here’s a mini-scoop for all of you Lynch-ophiles: Culture Monster has heard from a little birdie that the director is planning to release an album of his own music within the next few weeks. No title has been revealed yet, but stay tuned to for further developments.

Keep reading for some of Culture Monster’s favorite musical moments in the Lynch filmography...

Blue Velvet’: Isabella Rossellini performs the title song by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris at a sleazy dive bar.

Wild at Heart’: Over the final credits, Nicolas Cage’s Elvis-infatuated delinquent serenades a hysterical Laura Dern with ‘Love Me Tender.’

Mulholland Drive’: Rebekka del Rio performs a Spanish-language a capella version of Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’ at the Club Silencio in downtown L.A.

Mulholland Drive’: The mysterious ‘Camilla Rhodes’ auditions for a big movie part by singing Linda Scott’s ‘I’ve Told Every Little Star.’

Inland Empire’: A group of scantily clad white trash harpies performs an impromptu ‘The Loco-motion’ for a dazed Laura Dern.

-- David Ng