The Archive recently bellied up to the bar with our favorite Twin Peaks badass Hank Jennings AKA Chris Mulkey. After about a half dozen or so longnecks we got around to discussing music, the Twin Peaks Festival and swappin' blood with Joan Chen...
Twin Peaks Archive: How did acting come about for you?
Chris Mulkey: As a young boy, I saw old cowboy movies on t.v. and desperately wanted a horse and a gun, the only way you can have that and not end up in prison is become an actor. My friend George told me, in my gangster days, that I should act because he thought I was entertaining. I did a play, 'Marat Sade', and had a great time so I kept meeting people who liked what I was putting down and here I am. That is the abridged version, my book is soon to come. Some crazy shit yo.
Twin Peaks Archive: When did you start playing music?
Chris Mulkey: I started playing blues in St. Paul, Minn. with Bobby Lyle and Willie Weaks. I jump and play harp at the Union Hall or Pugges. Blues and the groove is my thing, rip the meat off the bone. Bought Muddy Waters a beer and burned the night away, with Jimi Hendix, who was a friend of Joey Davis, my prod. from south central L.A. Jimi was a fine guy.
Twin Peaks Archive: Talk about your critically acclaimed film 'Patti Rocks'
Chris Mulkey: Actor and buddy Tim Busfield, kids me about that film. He loves 'Patti Rocks'. He says, "Mulkey you got a review that used the G word (genius). I never got that and I have an emmy". Karen landry, my wife and who played Patti, was so smart as we wrote that film. We shot it in 30 degree below weather in 18 days in Minnesota.. What a rush. The smart thing we did was rehearse it as a play for a week before shooting, so we were solid. Sam Grogs, President of Film Dallas saw the script and just said, "shoot it as it is". Spent 400k and made 14 million for them.
Twin Peaks Archive: How did Twin Peaks come about?
Chris Mulkey: Mark Frost and David Lynch wanted to see me for two roles. That makes an actor crazy, prep for two different characters. You feel like they don't know or care who you are. So I told my agent that I'd think about it and call the next day. But the next day I went running with my buddy Lloyd and hit the Venice weight pen, shining the whole thing. When I got home my agent had called and was eager for me to go for Twin Peaks, so I made it on time as usual, hey I'm from the midwest, we show up on time. They wanted me to read for Jacques and Hank. Well my friend Carl Olkewicz was there to read for Jacques and when I went in to meet them I said I'll only do Hank because Jacques is sitting outside. They hired me for Hank Jennings and I'm very thankful for that! What a mythic ride that was.
Twin Peaks Archive: Was there a noticeable difference in the directing styles of Lynch and the others?
Chris Mulkey: David was different from the other directors but to describe that difference would be like qualifying a visit from a spirit or an acid trip. Tough job on that show for sure. Had to be there...
Twin Peaks Archive: Do you have a favorite scene or episode?
Chris Mulkey: Favorite scene in Twin Peaks was with Joan Chen and I, when we sliced open our thumb with a knife and became blood brother and sister partners. Sexy. Took a while to heal, and i got a lot of mail.
Twin Peaks Archive: Did you take any photos or keep any props or costumes from the show?
Chris Mulkey: I am not answering that question because you may be with law enforcement.
Twin Peaks Archive: Do you keep up with any of the actors from the show?
Chris Mulkey: Kyle and I were neighbors in Venice and Madchen and I did a great thriller in Canada. Russ lives on the westside in L.A. so it is a small town, you know. Never get a group like that together again I am sure. Big Love.
Twin Peaks Archive: What was it like attending the Twin Peaks Festival?
Chris Mulkey: The Twin Peaks Fest is like a birthday and a wake at the same time. Everyone should go. People love the show so much, as I do. I've been there a few times but work alot so it's hard to make it. They got pissed one time when I said I was coming, then got a movie and could not be there. Get real guys, I'm an actor so I act. I would go again if it worked out though.
Twin Peaks Archive: What's next for you? What is 'American Girl'?
Chris Mulkey: 'American Girl', is a cool movie that Cliffton Collins, Jenna Melone and I did about a prison where families get to visit. Cliffton and I are inmates and it is twisted...great film. Clifton and I are doing our fourth film together, 'Perfect Game'. I am on TNT's new series 'Saving Grace', which starts July 18, and am Recording my second blues CD for Eddie Bodin's Juicy Pear Records in Louisana. The title is 'Blue Hands in da Money'. You can see my music videos on Youtube or go to fieldspan.com I'm having fun writing again too. This time with Fred Griffith, on the movie 'junior Johnson story'; moonshine and stock car racing, hardcore.
Twin Peaks Archive: What's the name of your most recent album? Talk about your touching song 'I Remember You'
Chris Mulkey: My latest CD is "Ride this One Out", on Juicy Pear Records. An all Louisana group of players and recorded in the bayou. My song 'I still remember you' is a tribute to anyone of us who have lost a loved one. In this case it is to my father but for those who have lost a parent, sibling or friend, we honor their memory. Bless you all and keep rock'n cause if not now, when?
TPA thanks Chris for taking time out of his busy schedule to shoot the breeze with us!