David Lynch's First Solo Album is on 'Crazy Clown Time'

Filmmaker talks about his blues-inspired solo debut, which features Karen O

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David Lynch
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As the writer and/or director of Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Wild at Heart, David Lynch has certainly left his mark on the world of film. On November 8th, Lynch will make his debut as a solo recording artist, when Crazy Clown Time is released on PIAS America.

With Lynch handling vocal and guitar duties on the album (aided by engineer Dean Hurley, who contributed additional guitar and drums), Crazy Clown Time features a guest vocalist, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, on the tune "Pinky's Dream."

Rolling Stone spoke with Lynch about the new album, interviewing Eddie Vedder, and the dangerous gentlemen of his films.

How did the idea come up to do a solo album now?
I've always been interested in sound. One thing led to another, and I just wanted a room to experiment with sound. I finally got a room, and then I needed an engineer. I got an engineer, and then I started experimenting. Working with Angelo Badalamenti, I always say Angelo brought me into the world of music. And the experimenting… sound is so beautiful. There are sounds that approach music, and then there is music. I started playing a guitar – the first time I played guitar was just to make a sound effect. I'm not really a guitar player. But it kind of thrilled my soul to be making something that sounded like music. I just got deeper and deeper into it. 

How long have you been playing guitar for?
Well, let's see… maybe ten years. It seems like after ten years I'd be real good, but I'm not. My son is good.

Who else appears on Crazy Clown Time?
My friend Big Dean Hurley, who is the engineer. Together, we wrote everything and played everything. There's one guest vocalist.

And that's Karen O, on the song "Pinky's Dream."
I've got a great music agent, Brian Loucks, at CAA [Creative Artist Agency]. I'm not technically with Brian, but he's been a friend for years. He was around in the days when I was working with Angelo and Julee Cruise. From time to time, Brian brings people by, and he brought Karen O by about maybe seven or eight years ago. Nothing happened that time, but this time he brought her by, I had these lyrics for "Pinky's Dream," and Dean and I had tracks. So Karen just went in the booth and started doing her own experimenting, and "Pinky's Dream" was born.

Does the album title have any specific meaning?
"Crazy Clown Time" is the name of a song. It is, in a way, speaking about the world as it is these days.

What are some of your favorite tracks?
I love "Crazy Clown Time," "Pinky's Dream," "Stone's Gone Up," and "Speed Roadster." They're all a little different. The blues inspired the album, but it's not a blues album – it drifted. I've been turned on lately to Gary Clark Jr. Gary Clark Jr. has got the stuff. It's this Chicago electric blues, and it just comes out of him. I heard about him recently – this is my kind of music. But this guy is incredible. That's the impetus. It was what Dean and I would call "modern blues." It sort of started driving the boat. But the songs aren't really blues.

Besides Clark Jr., who are some of your other favorite music artists?
All the great ones. But I really like John Lee Hooker, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elvis Presley. I like Lykke Li, I like Au Revoir Simone. There's so many really good artists.

Are there any plans for playing shows in support of Crazy Clown Time?
No. Unfortunately, we're a studio band. I don't think a tour is going to happen.

I recently saw a clip of you interviewing Eddie Vedder for the upcoming Pearl Jam documentary, Pearl Jam Twenty.
Eddie Vedder took part in a concert that we put on at Radio City Music Hall, to raise money to give transcendental meditation to students, homeless, post-traumatic stress sufferers, and a lot of other people. I got to interview a bunch of people that took part, and Eddie was one of them. It went real good. Eddie's a really good guy – really easy to talk to. And he's a musician. I don't know what it is – I think musicians, for the most part, they enjoy life more than the others.

What are some other projects you're working on currently?
I'm working on a documentary of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, I just took part in a documentary of a 16-country tour I did on meditation, consciousness, and peace. And I'm working on another new film, but it's not there yet. I just finished a one-minute film for the Austrians. They have a festival in Vienna called Viennale.

Lastly, who is a more dangerous gentleman, Frank Booth or Marcellus Santos?
That's a good question. I'd rather hang with Frank Booth. I'd rather chill with him, and wait for a booty call, than with Marcellus.