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In this episode, Carl King examines Mr. Bungle’s “Travolta / Quote Unquote” + David Lynch’s Blue Velvet
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SHOW NOTES / LINKS
Mr. Bungle / Travolta (includes original 30 seconds of silence)
Carl King / Mr. Bungle Orchestral Medley
Stump / Buffalo
Christopher Rouse / Gorgon
Varese / Arcana
Peter Maxwell Davies / Eight Songs For A Mad King
Blue Velvet Deleted Scenes
Deep River Apartments
I’m Carl King, and this is The Carl King Podcast, where we learn about music, filmmaking, and the other creative arts. To support this podcast, head over to Patreon.com/carlking, and join for just $1 or $5 per month. Or send a tip through PayPal or Venmo to username CarlKingdom. Special thank you to my Illusionist $51 level patrons, both Hank Howard III and Chewbode. Cheow-Debe.
Quick shout-out to my music endorsements: Vienna Symphonic Library, Fractal Audio, Ernie Ball Strings, Toontrack, and Millennia Media.
Now let’s get this episode Beginned!
CARL KING THE HUMAN UPDATE
Very Good Friends of Carl King. I have three brief Carl King The Human updates.
1 – This past week I finished both the rough piano sketch score — AND my text animatic for my new animated TV show, Dragontooth Inn. I sent it off to Lance Myers to get started on the real animatic. There is still plenty of work to be done, but the major pieces are in place. I’m hoping to be able to release the full-length animatic with finished audio in the next couple of months. You can hear rough versions of it inside my Patreon. That’s Patreon.com/carlking.
2 – We went to Disneyland last week with Joanie Brosas and Cole Johnson, two of my voice actors from my previous animated project — That Monster Show. Some of you might know I have some PTSD and an extreme sensitivity to environmental sound. When I’m out for a long time, especially around crowds, I can get pretty anxious and unhappy. So I figured out a trick. I wore earplugs and a set of bone-conduction headphones. And since it was cold out, I concealed them under my winter hat and I listened to 20th century classical piano music the whole time. When someone would talk to me, I’d press pause. Then when done talking I’d go right back to my piano music safe space. I also took long breaks by myself to wander around and relax. It all worked out VERY well for me, although some people did ask if anything was wrong. Unfortunately, I forgot to explain my behavior in advance, so people would know what to expect. But anyway, I plan to use this trick again.
3 – Third: Today’s episode features my analytical commentary on David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. And I had NO IDEA the composer, Angelo Badalamenti passed away as I was finalizing this episode. So rest in peace to such a great composer. This E minor major 7 chord is for him.
And now, let’s get into the Musical Analysis of the Week.
SONG: MR. BUNGLE “Travolta / Quote Unquote”
This week, we have… Travolta also known as Quote Unquote, by Mr. Bungle. From their 1991 self-titled album.
By the way, if you haven’t heard it, I did an orchestral medley of songs from that album, and you can find it on my YouTube Channel. It includes sections of Travolta, Slowly Growing Deaf, Carousel, My Ass In On Fire, Love Is A Fist, and Dead Goon. All played with orchestral sounds. I’ll put a link in the show notes.
Carl King / Mr. Bungle Orchestral Medley
Now. Within the world of music… I’m finding that the older I get, the more I only care about composition. Which is maybe why solo piano interests me so much. It’s clean and direct. There’s no hiding behind timbres and production and effects. And of course, I still care a lot about drum solos. But if the composition behind a piece of music doesn’t grab me, I just don’t care. All the effects and emotional mouth sounds are meaningless.
I don’t know exactly why, but composition is the last thing we ever talk about. In interviews, composers and musicians almost never talk about the actual notes. They’ll talk about mysterious things like feelings and intuition. And even equipment. But I’m here to say, let’s talk about the actual notes.
Because Mr. Bungle’s MUSICAL NOTES were a compositional GATEWAY for me. The moment I heard them, it was a new world. I understood just enough of what they were doing to follow them into 20th century composition.
Because that record had just enough 20th century composition elements for someone like me. I was ready for it. It’s basically a rock band with some of that stuff sprinkled in. But it’s nowhere near the level of Stravinsky, Bartok, Prokofiev, and so on.
Yet all these years later, I’m still trying to understand what Mr. Bungle were doing. I still take those songs apart to see what they were made out of. And it’s possible they spent less time writing it than I’ve spent analyzing it.
But who cares? Let’s put on our music theory socks and talk about those notes used in Travolta, also known as Quote Unquote.
In the intro, we get a heavy Three note motif. F#, Eb, D.
I’ll come back to that motif later after we talk more about the VERSE.
And in the verse, I originally thought the two chords used were a pair of Augmented chords a half step apart. F augmented, spelled F-A-C# and E augmented spelled E-G#-B#.
But in my previous interview Trey corrected me: they are actually two MINOR MAJOR 7 chords. So it’s a D minor major 7 and a Db minor major 7. Or you could spell that second chord as an C# minor major 7. Same sound, but your choice.
I had been overlooking the note played by the bass guitar. Because minor major 7 chords just aren’t a part of my typical vocabulary. I was fooled by the sound of it because the top 3 notes do indeed form an Augmented triad.
So here’s that D minor major 7. It’s a minor triad, 1-b3-5 or D-F-A with a major 7 (C#) at the top. And according to rumors on the internet, it can be found in both the melodic minor and the harmonic minor scale.
You might know it as the sort of “spy” chord. Wikipedia calls it a “Hitchcock” chord due to its use by Bernard Hermann in Psycho.
So the first chord is D minor major 7, with the notes D – F – A – C#
And the second chord is Db minor major 7 : Db – Fb – Ab – C.
For the heck of it, If you were to overlay these two chords, and move them up a half step… you would get the notes:
D – Eb – F – F# – A – Bb – C# (and D on top)
And those scale degrees would be:
1 – b2 – b3 – b4 – 5 – b6 – 7
Let’s pretend this is a 7-note scale, and we’ll call it the D Travolta scale. It would sound like this.
Dale Turner says it is ALMOST the Augmented Scale, which is a 6 note scale that sounds like this.
D – E# – F# – A – Bb – C#
But Mr. Bungle added a b2. Which makes things more confusing.
If anyone knows another name for this scale, let me know.
Anyway, setting aside that alleged Travolta scale for now. I’m going to use those two chords as the harmonic context. D minor Major 7, and Db minor major 7. I’m going to relate the OTHER instruments to those two chords.
Now let’s investigate the BASS line happening under them.
It uses 5 pitches. Played in this order: D – Bb – A – F# – Eb. And returning to D.
But does that baseline “GO” with the chords? From a music theory standpoint?
The first two bass notes are D and Bb. And they are played under that D minor major 7. The notes in the D minor major 7, again, are D-F-A-C#. So no, that Bb technically does not belong under the chord. So it’s a tension note, which leads down a half step to A, under the next chord.
That next chord is Db minor major 7. Those notes are Db-Fb-Ab-C. So that A in the bass, ALSO does not go in the second chord.
The bass has only played 3 notes so far, and 2 of them are not part of the chords.
The next bass note is F#. Which is ALSO not in that second chord. It would be the 11th of that chord. So it’s not an expected chord tone.
The next and final note of the bass line in the verse is an Eb. Which would be a 9th over Db.
So out of those 5 bass notes, only ONE, the D, on beat one, theoretically “belongs” with those chords. The bass and the chords are in their own separate harmonic universes, roughly centered on D. You could think of it as poly-modal.
There are two reasons why I think this sounds OK, within the context of this song.
1 – The parts are already so dissonant, anything kinda goes.
2 – The bass line is in a super low register. If you were to put them in a closer register those dissonant intervals might clash more.
I want to point out that the bass line could be considered to imply a D minor and Eb diminished. If you were to play those chords instead, it would sound like this. Or, it fits pretty well with a D minor and an A7. Like this. Where that last note of the line, Eb is a b9 leading down to D again as a grace note.
Another point of interest: The music of Mr. Bungle has a lot of “riffs” or sequences of notes, that aren’t quite chromatic, and not quite diatonic. They don’t fit neatly into any sort of scale or arpeggio. It’s sort of mini 12-tone. Or 12-tone Jr. Like a small 3 or 5 note group separated by half steps and minor thirds.
And remember what I called The Travolta Scale? Those 5 notes of the bass line all exist in that imaginary “Travolta” scale. But it’s a half step down. Meaning, those keyboard chords and the bass line would actually be in the same bizarre scale, but they’re still in two different keys a half step apart.
And to get the notes of the bass line from the Travolta scale, you simply leave out the F (which is the b3) and the C# (which the 7th).
So if you take the notes of the verse bass line and play them ascending, they come out to: D – Eb – F# – A – Bb.
Let’s look at those intervals:
D – Eb (is a Half Step)
Eb – F# (is a Minor Third)
F# – A (is a Minor Third)
A – Bb (is a Half Step)
The shape looks like a diminished triad with a half step added to each side. And as I was saying, Mr. Bungle really like half steps and minor thirds.
So this small group of 5 notes, made from those intervals is not only a METAL thing to do, it’s a way of creating an atonal sound without using all 12 chromatic notes.
And here is that sequence of notes in reverse, Bb – A – F# – Eb – D. Which means the notes of Trevor Dunn’s bass line are symmetrical, and can be played in retrograde and inversion and it’s the same formula.
So, here’s the question. Were these two parts, the keyboards and the bass line INTENTIONALLY created from the same Travolta scale but a half step off? We don’t know yet.
It is HIGHLY LIKELY I’m finding a pattern in total chaos. But even if they came up with these parts intuitively, I think they might actually gravitate towards using this tonality often. I find that our tastes themselves will be pattern-y. Much like Devin Townsend using #4 and b6 in everything, maybe without knowing it.
Musicians who don’t have a theoretical understanding tend to repeat themselves when writing music by ear. They’ll sort of “rediscover” the same music time and again. The difference is that musicians like Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn could tell you theoretically what they are doing and how they are repeating themselves, by using their favorite chords.
By the way, remember that 3-note INTRO MOTIF at the beginning of the song? It shows up in the descending line at the end of each phrase in the BASS GUITAR during the verse. It’s those three notes descending including D. It goes F# – Eb – D. The same 3 notes at the end of the bass guitar’s verse phrase. Did they extract those 3 notes from the baseline and use them as the intro? Or was it a coincidence? We don’t know.
Okay, now that we have TWO different harmonic universes doing their own thing roughly centered on D, let’s take a look at the THIRD voice, which is literally Mike Patton’s voice, singing a melody.
Over the first chord, he sings the words “All behold the.” Over that D minor major 7, he sings the notes F-D-F and a Higher-D. And HEY, they theoretically fit over the chord. Because they ARE chord tones.
Over the second chord, which is an Db major minor 7. He sings the word “spectacle” notes C-Ab-E. Which are an Augmented triad. So up against the notes Db Fb Ab C, he is singing C-Ab-E. And ALL 3 of those notes ARE a part of the Db minor major 7 chord. Because that E is enharmonic with Fb.
So Mike Patton’s melody DOES entirely fit over those two chords. It is ENTIRELY chord tones from the keyboard part. We now know that “One of these kids is doin’ his own thing” — and it is the bassist.
Another point of interest:
Patton DOES alter the melody notes slightly as the verse goes on. He not only adds a harmony, but his melody also gets a bit more uncertain. It’s hard for me to tell if he was changing the melody on purpose, or if he gets just a bit out of tune. Which would be VERY EASY in this situation. And I have to say KUDOS to Mike Patton for being able to even hit those notes. He has an incredible ear, even without formal music theory training.
But here’s the most interesting thing about this Travolta verse melody. Remember how Mike Patton’s vocal melody is outlining a D Minor arpeggio, followed by an E Augmented arpeggio?
Folks. FOOOLKS. Tell me if you recognize these two chords. (Play) I’ll give you a hint. It’s ANOTHER well-known Mr. Bungle song. Here they are again. (Play) Those are LITERALLY the exact two chords in the verse of Retrovertigo.
Remember what I was saying about our tastes tending to be pattern-y?
And as if all of this wasn’t dissonant enough, there is yet another layer to the verse. There are various dissonant overdubs in the keyboards and guitars. For instance, in the second time around the verse, there is a guitar line that plays the notes:
C# – Bb – C – E
C# – Bb – C – G
And for the heck of it, If you arrange those notes vertically, you have:
G – Bb – C – C# – E
Which has a diminished sound.
Putting the notes back in their played order, the first two notes COULD imply a Bb minor chord. And the second two notes could imply a C MAJOR. Which creates one of those Stravinsky / Danny Elfman chord relationships, or the iv – V in harmonic minor. Here’s what that melody sounds like if it’s put over those two chords. You can hear that chord progression in both Stravinsky’s Firebird and Danny Elfman’s Batman.
But instead, it’s superimposed on the D minor major 7 and C# minor major 7.
The first note C# IS part of the D minor major 7. It IS the major 7. The Bb is not in the chord.
Over the next chord, The C and E notes ARE part of the Db minor major 7, which is Db Fb Ab C. Because that Fb is enharmonic with E.
And at the end of the phrase, that G clashes with the Ab in that Db minor major 7.
So maybe Trey was just plain-old throwing in notes that were a half-step off and clashy, and that’s the end of the story. In my interview with him from 2017, when talking about this song, he does make reference to the band STUMP. I don’t know HOW MUCH of a direct influence STUMP was on Mr. Bungle overall. But Stump does have a lot of seemingly clashing layers. I’ll put a link to their song Buffalo in the show notes.
Stump / Buffalo
My final thoughts on this verse of Travolta? I still love this piece of music. And I think the juxtaposition of bitonal or bi-modal parts is exciting. I love the idea that you can take two parts that are roughly centered on D, and just go for it.
I’m not aware of much bitonal content in rock or pop music out there. It’s probably because listeners tend to think it sounds BAD. But aside from Sarah Brand, one other example that jumped out at me years ago was a song by Ayreon with Devin Townsend on vocals. In the song “School” it seems Devin’s vocals are in B Lydian and the guitar is in B Phrygian dominant? I think he does those those sorts of things once in a while in his own music, too, but I don’t recall where. It might have been on his album Deconstruction.
Now, Travolta is far from being the most dissonant piece of music in history. So why do Mr. Bungle and this song stand out so much? Because rock audiences aren’t exposed to that much harmonic dissonance on a daily basis. Most everyday wallpaper music is diatonic and has few non-chord tones. But juxtaposing clashing melodies and chords like that had been going on for decades in classical music — which the young men in Mr. Bungle were studying at the time. For your further research, I will put links to a few dissonant classical pieces in the show notes.
Christopher Rouse / Gorgon
Varese / Arcana
Peter Maxwell Davies / Eight Songs For A Mad King
And now, let’s follow this up with an appropriately paired ANALYTICAL FILM ANALYSIS.
FILM: BLUE VELVET (1986)
Our Analytical Film Analysis of the Week is: Blue Velvet, from 1986. Directed by and Screenwrited by David Lynch, a painter whose parents moved him around a lot.
Starring Kyle McLachlin, the guy from Showgirls. Not to be confused with the night manager of Perkins in Venice, FL.
And an incredible, unquestionable performance by Dennis Hopper.
A little history of me and Blue Velvet.
My first viewing of Blue Velvet, I was probably 18. Maybe around 1993. I watched it in my mom’s living room. I must have rented it at Blockbuster somehow on VHS. The reason I watched it? Because I found out it was sampled on the Mr. Bungle album.
I was so disturbed by this film, I shut it off.
I took a break and thought to myself: maybe I shouldn’t like Mr. Bungle anymore. My mom walked in during all the violence and had a talk with me. She said: you know it’s not ok that people behave like that and treat each other that way. You shouldn’t think that’s normal.
For maybe a day or so I thought: “oh, no… My favorite band, if they LIKE this movie, they must be deranged, maybe criminal people. I don’t want to be mixed up with bad stuff.” So I felt a combination of LOSS and FEAR.
But I soon went back and watched it… and over the years, me and my friends got to quoting Dennis Hopper’s character, Frank Booth all the time and doing his hand gestures. And it became less of a serious dark, scary thing.
I’ve probably watched it a few times over the years since then, but this is the first time in a decade — where I watched it all the way through and paid close attention, and took notes.
So here we go.
The teaser is a harsh tonal shift from a beautiful town, happy music and flowers. A guy is outside watering his plants. Then bad things start to happen. And we get a transition to the insects in the dirt. To symbolize that there’s something bad hiding beneath the surface.
By the way, does anyone know what type of beetles those were? I did a quick Google search and came up with nothing.
Another question I have. What did Jeffrey’s dad suffer from? Was it one of the insects? Did it sting him? Also, the hose gets tangled. Did the water getting clogged represent the artery in his neck? Was it a stroke?
It’s hard to tell, because when he’s in the hospital, it looks like he’s had both a tracheotomy and a neck surgery. It’s never clearly stated WHAT happened to him. This is one of those clever David Lynch mysteries. Let people wonder.
My other thought was: why was that an important part of the story? It didn’t need to happen for the sake of the plot. Jeffrey could have simply been in the town. But it certainly added some tonal darkness and dissonance. But hey, I am ALL FOR character driven films, and am a proud PLOT DENIER.
After that we get some mystical stuff. When Jeffrey finds the ear, it’s as if we journey into the ear. David Lynch said that it was the opening into another world. And a similar thing seems to happen in Mullholland Drive, almost 2 hours in, when the girls look into the mysterious blue box. One of them vanishes and the other gets sucked into it. And the world flips sort of backwards. Characters change roles and names, and it’s hard to follow. It’s almost a totally different story but with the same actors. Portals to alternate universes are a common thing in David Lynch stories.
Possibly my favorite moment in the film is when Jeffrey goes to the police station and gives the detective the ear. Detective Williams reacts with amused awkwardness. He’s not at all surprised. Which means there’s something not right with him. We would expect a different reaction.
Jeffrey doesn’t seem disturbed at all to find an ear, either. Maybe it’s a clue to something not being right with Jeffrey. Because who would pick up an ear and take it with them to the police station?
I found this next bit surprising: Laura Dern’s character Sandy is in high school. But she goes out to a bar with Kyle McLaughlin and drinks BEER. I thought, maybe she had a fake ID? But she doesn’t seem like the type to get a fake ID. So how is she being served alcohol in a bar? Well, I looked it up and the legal drinking age WAS 18 in the early 80s in South Carolina, where this movie was filmed. So maybe David Lynch films are not so strange after all.
The other important woman in this story is Dorothy Valens, played by Isabella Rossellini. But here’s the most important detail. She allegedly lives in Deep River Apartments. On the 7TH FLOOR. But it appears, from the early establishing shots, the building maybe only has 4 floors. Some shots look like 3 and some look like 4. Or at least we see no evidence it actually has 7. It also does seem 7 stories would be pretty tall for the small town they’re in. Later, when Jeffrey is walking up the stairs we see him go up to what looks like the 4th floor and go in. Because for some reason the elevator was out of order. Why? Is it because stairs would better fit the mood? I think that’s likely.
Then again, thinking about this, it might just be a crazy building where the floors are mislabeled.
Trivia: if you look VERY CLOSELY at the resident directory, I think you can see there’s a LYNCH D who is listed.
The most powerful tonal shift of all is when Frank Booth first enters Dorothy’s apartment. The hand gestures. The explosive outbursts. The dominance and control. It’s very much drug-addict behavior. At least the drug addicts I’ve known.
But it’s never stated explicitly what type of GAS he is inhaling. It’s another one of those David Lynch vague things. So we’re not sure what it’s really doing to him. He transforms, but how? Before the gas, he wants to be referred to as Daddy. And after the gas, he becomes Baby. So it helps him change.
However: in another scene, he inhales it before becoming super macho and beating up Jeffrey. So the effects might not be consistent. Much like other drugs.
Here’s a puzzling detail, which I spotted in Dorothy’s apartment. Something is written on her bathroom mirror. It’s not written there when she walks in the first time and takes a shower. But it’s written there at the end of that same long scene when she walks back in. I wonder what it actually said. Was it a continuity issue, or just an intentional David Lynch thing.
And speaking of that scene in the apartment, it is LONG. Basically 14 minutes. So it’s a compound scene with entrances and exits like a sitcom. It’s broken into 4 parts, like Mini-scenes. Jeffrey watching Dorothy. Dorothy catches Jeffrey. Frank Booth arrives and leaves. Jeffrey comes back out of hiding. If that scene weren’t broken up into those distinct mini-scenes, it would be tough to sustain for that long. Same actors in the same location would be exhausting.
After that invigorating scene, Jeffrey wakes from a nightmare. He rolls over and looks at his wall. And he has this creepy mouth thing hanging there. We don’t know where he got it, or why he would put it there. I would assume this is Jeffrey’s bedroom, which he left behind when going to college. He doesn’t seem to have any possessions or collectibles. No books, nothing of personal interest. So that mouth thing is an unexpected decoration. When he wakes up from the nightmare the first thing he does is reach up at it. And he says: “Man, oh man.”
Now along with all the dark imagery, David Lynch likes to superimpose naive innocence. The charm and specialness of normal everyday small-town people.
Some of them are: the two dudes who work at the hardware store, who go by Double Ed. There’s also an eccentric character making unusual motions outside a local store. And my favorite: a large man standing still on the sidewalk, with his tiny dog with sunglasses at night. Also, in the background of Ben’s Brothel, there are oddly-shaped women standing around like lamps.
Speaking of Ben’s Brothel, I feel like that room and Dorothy’s apartment are the same place but re-dressed. I’m pretty sure those were sets, and they sure were creepy rooms. Weren’t they?
When Frank listens to music, it causes him to remember something. Something sad to him. Someone he lost? It sometimes transforms into RAGE. The people around him are like sycophants which I think is pronounced sick-uh-fints for some reason. Anyway, they support his emotional shifts and delusions. For instance, when Ben puts on that “In Dreams” performance. That song seems to deeply affect Frank.
So I wonder: what is FRANK’S story? Something traumatic must have happened to him. What if this film had been written from FRANK’S point of view? There could be a prequel about how he turned into the monster that he is. Of course, that might ruin the mystery. But it might not.
Someone I know suggested that Frank is impotent, and that’s why he’s obsessed with F-ing. Every other word is the F word. Maybe someone cut a part of his body off with scissors, which would explain his usage of them on others. He compensates, projects machismo and aggression, vroom-vrooming he car, flexing his muscles, getting in fights.
But when it’s time to have sex, maybe he can’t. In the Dorothy scene he only simulates it.
Something else I found disturbing about this film: Jeffrey is simultaneously pursuing two different women. But this is probably a common thing in the real world. I knew a guy who had a girlfriend in each of the mini-towns inside L.A. And I don’t think any of the girlfriends new. And I always thought that was a bad life philosophy.
At 1 hour 46 minutes, the plot takes back over. Driving towards the resolution and the big action sequence.
Now here’s a question I have: why did Frank Booth wear a disguise as Well Dressed Man? There seemed to be a linear error where Frank shows up at his apartment in the factory with The Yellow Man, and they go inside. But then The Yellow Man comes out and meets with Frank as the Well Dressed Man. Why the disguise? Especially when meeting with someone he knows well, and was just with? Either I didn’t follow the plot, or this is one of those David Lynch mysteries that are never explained. If anyone knows, post a reply or send me a message.
Speaking of The Yellow Man, there’s that scene where he has been shot in the head, and he’s not quite dead. Because he’s still standing and reacting to things. He’s obviously breathing, fingers wiggling. And not in an accidental way. When his walkie talkie goes off, his arm jerks and knocks over a lamp. It’s like he had just enough brain damage that it half-killed him but caused him to continue standing there.
Thankfully they rush through the final action scene shootout as a montage with some light ballad jazz music. It was a GREAT use of montage. Having to sit through a long shootout would been excruciating in my totally subjective personal opinion.
At the very end, when Frank Booth is dead, Laura Dern’s character runs into Dorothy’s apartment, followed immediately by her Detective Dad, with a gun. Now why the heck would a detective let his daughter run in first? He should take some time and think about his priorities.
And now, for the BIG REVEAL. In one of the last shots of the Deep River Apartments, you can see SIX FLOORS and possibly another floor that’s semi below ground. Well, I looked it up. According to Apartments Dot Com that apartment building still exists and is only SIX FLOORS. I’ll share a link to the actual apartment in the show notes.
Deep River Apartments
Now why did David Lynch explicitly want the building to have 7 floors? That’s the kind of thing I’m going to wake up at night thinking about. Someone on IMDB suggested it’s to stop fans from overwhelming the building, harassing people, trying to break into Dorothy’s apartment.
For the final scene, we come back out of the ear… and now it’s Jeffrey’s ear.
A mechanical Robin appears in the kitchen window. It allegedly represents love, and it has caught a beetle, which represents evil. But as far as I’ve heard, bugs are not evil at all. They’re animals just like robins. In my expert opinion, animals don’t represent anything unless we pretend they do.
For a David lynch film, The plot is mostly solid and clear. There are mysterious surreal details, but those details are minor. Overall, I think the average viewer can UNDERSTAND what’s happening. I mean, in the main plot. It’s a detective story with a good guy and a bad guy. As opposed to Lost Highway, or Mulholland Drive, or Twin Peaks season 3, which are all over the place and dreamlike. That reminds me: I’ll need to revisit Wild At Heart, because I don’t remember where that sits on the spectrum.
According to Wikipedia, the first cut of Blue Velvet was 4 hours long. And I was excited to find out nearly an HOUR of deleted scenes are available on YouTube. So many surreal scenes were deleted. You’ve got to see it to believe what David Lynch was doing back then. My favorite was the massively extended scene of avant garde performers at the bar. Including that would have totally derailed the viewing experience. Whether that’s good or bad, we don’t know yet.
It’s surprising to me, how far OFF those deleted scenes were, story-wise, and tone-wise, from the final film. You realize how much David Lynch was sort of fishing for the best ideas and much longer concepts before settling on what the movie would be. It was more like the long setup of a TV show with tons of back story.
I think Dino De Laurentiis gave David Lynch the constraint to trim it down to 2 hours. So definitely go and check out those deleted scenes. I’ll post a link in the show notes.
Blue Velvet Deleted Scenes
One last thing I want to mention is the musical theme by Angelo Badalamenti. David Lynch was crazy about the Shostakovich 15 Symphony, and asked Angelo Badalamenti to emulate it for the main theme.
And listening closely, that Blue Velvet theme’s melody lands on a D# over an E minor chord. Which creates… an E minor major 7 chord. Wait a minute. Ladies and gentlemen! That is the same type of chord from… Mr. Bungle’s song Travolta. Remember that one? From this same episode? Like 6 hours ago?
I have to say, Blue Velvet gets better every time I watch it, which is not possible in reality, because the film is exactly the same film each time. That is, unless George Lucas snuck in and fiddled with it. Which IS possible in reality.
Anyway, it was easy to give this film 5/5 stars and a little heart, on Letterboxd.
OK, that’s the end of this Episode of the Carl King Podcast. Remember to subscribe on Spotify, Apple, or anywhere else you listen to these dang podcasts. And support the creation of more episodes by joining my Patreon for $1 or $5 a month. That’s Patreon Dot Com Slash Carl King. Or send a tip through PayPal or Venmo to username CarlKingdom.
And as always, special thanks to my $51 a month Patrons, at the special Illusionist level, Chewbode and Hank Howard III. And thank you to ALL of the Very Good Friends of Carl King for listening, and as I always say: Okay Than. I will let everyone know.