JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of “The Pink Room” by mssv, a new group consisting of guitarist Mike Baggetta, bassist Mike Watt (former member of punk-rock legends the Minutemen and fIREHOSE), and drummer Stephen Hodges (who played on Watt’s 1997 solo album Contemplating the Engine Room and who has also been a sideman for Mavis Staples, Tom Waits, and many more). The track, originally written by David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti for Lynch’s 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, appears on the trio’s debut album Live Flowers, to be released December 1 on Striped Light Records.
Although the reasons for the title Live Flowers are that a) the album was recorded live and b) much of its material originally appeared on Baggetta’s recent studio album Wall of Flowers, the band here is not quite the same as on the earlier disc, which featured studio great Jim Keltner on drums.
“I knew that Jim didn’t want to travel much anymore,” Baggetta explains, “so in my mind the next logical thing was to think of other favorite drummers of mine when I was putting the tour together for Wall of Flowers. Stephen Hodges came to mind first, probably mostly from his exceptional musicianship on Watt’s Contemplating the Engine Room, but also for his creation of wildly diverse textures in his work with Tom Waits, Mavis Staples, and countless others. I think opening the set, and therefore the album, with ‘The Pink Room,’ and with Hodges’ drumming and effects alone, is a good indication that mssv is a different band with a different dynamic than the album with Watt and Keltner. People play differently together, whether it’s a conscious decision or something more subliminal. The way that Watt and I played with Keltner can’t be replicated with Hodges, and it’s also true that the way we play with Hodges can’t be replicated with anybody else. I am beyond thrilled that the Wall of Flowers tour with Stephen Hodges on drums morphed into a new and different project with both he and Watt. He is one of the greatest drummers of all time and we’re very lucky to get to play with him.”
About “The Pink Room” itself, Baggetta comments: “As a lover of Twin Peaks, and being inspired by many of David Lynch’s applied creative concepts in general, I of course had known for quite some time that Stephen Hodges plays on the soundtrack to Fire Walk With Me, but never really knew in what capacity, though I had my guesses. Anyway, when we were getting ready to tour on Wall of Flowers he had suggested we try ‘The Pink Room,’ which is what he played on from that soundtrack with such raw brilliance. I was psyched at the suggestion, and then later further elated when David gave us permission to use it on the album too. The music that he and Angelo have created over the years is like its own dramatic language in a way, so it was exciting to have his blessing to reinterpret that with Stephen since he was also, in this case, so incredibly instrumental in that sound as well.”
Baggetta, Watt, and Hodges have a number of live shows booked for 2020, including a March appearance at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee.
For more information on Mike Baggetta, visit his website at mikebaggetta.com.