My Morning Jacket’s Jim James on Twin Peaks | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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My Morning Jacket’s Jim James on Twin Peaks

Beyond Life and Death, Twin Peaks

Aug 02, 2010 Jim James Photography by Crackerfarm Bookmark and Share

Making sure I had properly saved my game, I pushed the power button on my Nintendo Entertainment System to bring that day’s Legend of Zelda adventures to a close. When Zelda disappeared, there was a man staring at me from the TV—a sharp-dressed man in a fine suit with his black hair slicked back, eyes searching for something beyond me at that time. Special Agent Dale Cooper—he spoke to something in me that was “good.” Something that wanted to know the truth about what all those grownups were doing.

I watched the rest of that episode and saw a scary grey-haired man pop out at me from behind the couch. Bob. He spoke to something in me that was “bad,” something I wanted to deny but couldn’t quite do it somehow. Was I supposed to feel them both? The show ended and I was absolutely riveted by the music playing over the credits that night as the announcer from ABC informed me the show I had just seen was known as Twin Peaks.

I continued to look for Twin Peaks whenever I could. Whenever I was alone in the basement, I would pretend I was playing Nintendo now to watch this thing called Twin Peaks... because I knew if my mom sat and watched it with me—that’d be the end of that. I don’t know how else to describe it—and I didn’t fully realize it then—but this was my first realization of magic. Real magic. Beyond life and death. I mean, I had seen the Mona Lisa, and I owned a copy of Sgt. Pepper’s, and I knew I loved my family, and I knew it hurt when you lost something you loved, sure—but I had never really witnessed something that tied it all together somehow, beyond life and death. The thread of magic that holds it all together, it opened that door to understanding what magic really is: when you are having that deep understanding and two way back-and-forth with another soul that just sings. Or that point in life where two souls transcend every possible boundary when fortunate enough to really know each other in making love—real love that fully touches the heart and body and mind and soul in every way and you are just gone. You’re lost in the magic of the universe and God is alive in every kiss and touch and sweet word spoken. Or the feeling one is fortunate enough to feel when playing music or making art with true spirits of kindred soul, to really rip it wide open and tear a hole down the middle of the cosmos and feel God weep with joy that you are using what he and the spirits gave you the almighty gift of life for—you are really using it to its full potential, for all it is meant to be this life—feeling the magic and not taking it for granted.

“TV Too Good For TV.” Staying awake for the 30-plus hours or so that it takes to watch every episode plus the pilot and the movie Fire Walk With Me back-to-back—really feeling that statement to be so fucking true. The network needed to fit it into an easy box to market to the masses, but they just couldn’t do it. But it didn’t matter. David Lynch and Mark Frost and Angelo Badalamenti and the entire cast and crew behind the curtain—just digging their teeth in and drawing blood; making the good lord cry. And you pull back the curtain to chase Annie into the Black Lodge, but you’re really chasing you and there are your feet running over those black and white tiles. And you pull back another curtain and there is Laura and she’s laughing and her eyes are shining—but there she is again and now she is screaming with the kind of pain you thought no one else knew but you. The lights are flashing and God is sitting next to Bob and he is crying tears of blood and the midget and the giant are one and you know that gum you chew is going to come back in style. And there is Agent Cooper and God is smiling down on him and you realize your mission on earth: God’s love to deliver. But now Cooper is smashing his head against the mirror and you know that Satan is real and that shit! You’d better watch out for him too. And you realize that the middle, right between Cooper and Bob, that’s the place to be. That’s the place where most of us are. And you know the vein has been exposed and magic is real, you just needed a little help finding it. Didn’t fully doubt it before, but now you know it really exists. Something to talk about over the water cooler at work the next morning—“Beyond Life and Death.”

(Jim James, who also performs as Yim Yames, is the lead singer of My Morning Jacket as well as a member of Monsters of Folk. Twin Peaks was a critically acclaimed TV series that was created by David Lynch and Mark Frost and aired from 1990–1991. In the show, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper comes to the small Washington town of Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of Laura Palmer, the homecoming queen, finding both good and evil. Though the highly influential show was canceled after two seasons, it remains a cult favorite.)



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Muse and Invoke
December 15th 2016

Beautiful metaphor… I love your choice coded language.
I hope you’re still vigilantly listening to your inner compass. I’m one, too. (Yes, heaven was meant to be experienced and created on earth. That is, indeed, the whole point of this. Keep on. :)