The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle might have surprised fans with his recent appearance on a new show. Peacock’s Poker Face stars Natasha Lyonne as a detective solving a new crime in each episode, similar to the style of Columbo. In the fourth of the first batch of episodes, Lyonne stumbles upon a washed-up rock band who are struggling for another hit. (The fictional members of the group are played by Chloë Sevigny and Darnielle.)
While we won’t give away the rest since it’s definitely worth a watch, Darnielle did chat with Pitchfork about how his part in the show came to be. Specifically, he’s had a longtime friendship with the director Rian Johnson.
“He ordered a T-shirt from a zine that I used to do with Mountain Goats,” he said. “We did one of those small, 50-T-shirt runs in 2001 when he would’ve been probably 18 or 19. Then we moved to Durham in 2003 and over in Chapel Hill, they were showing a movie called Brick. I heard about it so I went to see this movie, and when I saw the credits roll, the music was credited to the Hospital Bomber Experience. Now that’s a reference to a song of mine called ‘The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton.’”
“I pointed to the screen and said, ‘Hey, that’s a Mountain Goats reference!’ So I wrote to him and told him I saw the reference, and we’ve stayed in touch,” Darnielle added.
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As for the music in the series, he revealed that he worked with his wife to complete the fictional metal band’s songs, including their hit “Staple Head.” The crew also hired a Judas Priest cover band and someone to sing (as Sevigny lip-syncs in the episode).
“I wrote the lyrics and the vocal melodies and determined the structure, and Jamey [Jasta] wrote the music and laid down everything else,” he revealed. “This is the case with all the songs that you hear on there, except for the one that I play unaccompanied.”