In recent years, Kirk Salopek has been known for one thing in Pittsburgh: his cinematic rock ensemble Mandrake Project. But with Mandrake Project on hiatus, Salopek is unveiling a new project -- one that's cinematic in a different way. Silencio, a tribute to the work of director David Lynch and frequent Lynch soundtrack composer Angelo Badalamenti, holds its first performance Sun., Dec. 18, with the promise of being something more than the average rock band.
Salopek and Mandrake drummer David Jamison began the group as side project after Mandrake Project had done some scoring work. "I realized, ‘Man, would I just like to be doing this all the time!'" Salopek says. The music associated with Lynch's work had long moved him.
"I remember the Twin Peaks thing, and I wasn't really a TV watcher," he says. "But I have a resonating thread in my head with the older, noir-jazzy, rockabilly music from that show."
He and Jamison learned music from Badalamenti's scores (for films like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive), and began to write some of their own music -- dark jazz, Link Wray-style guitar rock. Matt Booth, of City Dwelling Nature Seekers, joined as a session player, then as a full member. (The band also features members of The Boogie Hustlers.)
Salopek's vision for the group is to be something different from a normal "band" -- he hopes to involve visual elements in its performances, and play events more diverse than the usual bar shows. "I'd say this is about the coolest tribute band you could be in, but I don't really want to use that term," he says. "I want it to be a multimedia event. I want a Lynch-head to see it and say, ‘Wow, that's on the mark.'" Twin Peaks-themed events, film festivals and other non-traditional venues are all considered to be potential performance sites.
Music from any and all Lynch films is on the table, though you probably shouldn't expect any covers from Lynch's new album, Crazy Clown Time. ("I heard one track," Salopek says, without commenting further.) Salopek has been in touch with the David Lynch Foundation about his plans, though, and hopes to one day talk with the director himself about the group.
SILENCIO. 8 p.m. Sun., Dec. 18. Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-621-4900 or www.brillobox.net