Thursday, December 29, 2022

RIP John Neff & Al Strobel


Holy cow. The Twin Peaks Fest Facebook page is reporting another major David Lynch collaborator's death. Musician John Neff. This is insanely saddening, especially coming on the heels of Angelo Badalamenti's death AND the fact that I somehow missed the news that the One-Armed Man himself, Al Strobel also passed away recently. I can't find any information on Mr. Neff, but there is a lovely memorial over on Welcome to Twin Peaks.

Neff worked with Lynch on several projects in and around the Millennium; however, the stand out is undoubtedly their 2001 album BLUEBOB. Not only is this one of my all-time favorite albums, but it is also the album that propelled Lynch to go on and record Crazy Clown Time and The Big Dream. BLUEBOB was recently remastered and distributed by Solitude Records. You can buy the remastered album HERE. Despite the remaster, I am perfectly happy with my OG copy of the disc, and hope someone puts out a vinyl at some point.

Posted above, the track "Mountains Falling" is perhaps the best-known from the record, a sprawling soundtrack of dirge and decay used in Lynch's film Mulholland Drive.


Let's talk a bit about Al Strobel. Mostly known for his dual role in Twin Peaks as Phillip Gerard, the traveling shoe salesman, and MIKE, the antithesis spirit to BOB; if there was one good thing that came out of Michael Anderson's refusal to take part in Twin Peaks: The Return, it's that the absence of Anderson's Little Man From Another Place left the door wide open for Strobel to have a lot more screen time. Essentially becoming the de facto coercing spirit in the Waiting Room, MIKE's interactions with the trapped Cooper create not only the impetus for a lot of Cooper/Dougie's arc in the film but also a large part of the mechanics behind the "Evolved" Red Room. 

My favorite moments of Strobel's in the Twin Peaks canon, however, are in the second season of the original series. He is instrumental in the events leading up to the capture of BOB, and Strobel's portrayal of a man deprived of his "medicine" and the transformation that catalyzes is riveting, leading right up to this:


CHILLS to this day! Easily my favorite overall moment with Mr. Strobel. Absolute genius. RIP Al Strobel - see You in the Sycamore Trees, sir!


Clint Mansell & Kevin Kiner - Doom Patrol Main Title Theme (single)
The Nukes - Why Things Burn
Dio - The Last In Line
Bedridden - Soft Soap (single)
Made Out of Babies - The Ruiner
Discharge - Never Again
Tubby Hayes Quartet - Down in the Village
David Lynch and John Neff - BLUEBOB
Stan Getz - Focus

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