I recently had the opportunity to chat with Deer Meadow Radio host Mark Givens, where we got a chance to talk about his show, his upcoming book, the Hazel Drew murder mystery, Twin Peaks of course and more. I enjoyed this interview, and I hope that you do as well. If you haven’t heard Deer Meadow Radio before, it’s definitely worth a listen.
AG: One of my favorite parts of your show is the investigative journalism feel it often has, most notably with “The Hazel Drew Case”. When you first learned of that real-life murder mystery, did you have any idea how important it would become to you and your show?
MG: Yes, I kind of did immediately recognize what I had stumbled upon. It was an early show and I was rushing to get it recorded before someone else came out with the story! In my haste, I actually released my episode with horrible, horrible sound issues that I quickly pulled when a listener alerted me to the problem. It was so bad I had to basically trash the episode and start from scratch. It was pretty frustrating, and at one point, I was ready to quit the show because of my continuing technical ignorance. But I came back to it after a week or so and am glad I did as it is one of the episodes people point to as a favorite.
And the Hazel Drew case really has taken on a life of its own. In Sand Lake, they have had tee shirts made and both a stage-play and documentary are apparently in the works. The ultimate goal for us, of course, would be to solve the case and get some kind of closure for the unfortunate dead girl.
AG: How’s the book coming?
MG: Writing a book is hard! We have been researching for about a year and there is still more to uncover. We are getting to the point of creating the structure for the book and then will look for gaps where we need more research, interviews, etc. Having a partner does help keep you on track as you are accountable to someone other than just yourself, so working with David Bushman has been great. I am actually going back to visit the area next month, as the locals are pulling together a sort of Hazel Drew symposium, so we’ll see what come out of that. If I had to put a timeline for publishing, I would think sometime in 2018.
AG: If this book venture is successful, could you see yourself writing another book, fiction or non-fiction?
MG: Yes! Like lots of people I have always wanted to write a book or a screenplay or whatever. And like lots of people I have ideas float on by and never do anything about them. I believe I was considering diving deeply into writing a novel that was inspired by the scrawling scope of Twin Peaks right before I started the podcast and then that pretty much consumed my creative energy/time. [Jokingly] Maybe after season 5 of Twin Peaks airs…
AG: Your podcast actually reminds me of Twin Peaks in a way: you find something you’re interested in and you explore it in your own time, no sense of rushing to the next topic. There’s time to linger over the details which is something I really enjoy. Was that always the plan?
MG: Thanks for the kind words! The plan was more to do segments around under-explored areas related to Twin Peaks. I was thinking of a sort of old fashioned AM radio news show but solely dedicated to Twin Peaks. The original title for the show was Deer Meadow AM Radio, but I like the acronym DMR better than DMAR! You are very correct that I don’t rush the subject, sometimes that is just because life gets too busy, but frequently it is because you find so much content when you start digging around. I was going to do one episode related to inspirations for the show and the Pilot in particular but that grew into three shows, including the Hazel Drew episode. Similarly, I had planned to do an episode on the Access Guide but that expanded into three regular episodes, plus Access Guide-specific interviews with Harley Peyton and Ken Scherer. Twin Peaks is deep!
AG: What have been some personal highlights for you thus far?
MG: Hazel Drew (visiting Sand Lake, seeing Teal’s Pond, talking my way into City Hall records)
Validating that what turned into the Access Guide was, in fact, Mark Frost’s original plan for what became The Secret History of Twin Peaks.
Ken Scherer was telling me to get a life! (underrated interview with lots of info)
Meeting up with fans and friends (and Mark Frost!) in NYC and basically spending an entire day in Barnes and Noble for the Secret History book signing.
Chatting with Harley Peyton.
Coming up with the FROSTSCAPE framework to review Frost’s works through a shared universe lens similar to the Lynchverse.
Meeting and talking to listeners and other fans…oh yeah, phone conversation with Mark Frost!
It has been a blast!
AG: You have an article appearing in the second edition of “The Blue Rose Magazine”. Was that a one-time thing or could that be an ongoing partnership?
MG: The Blue Rose article is on Hazel Drew and I have no specific plans at this time for a future article, but would love to return to its pages someday if they would have me back…great experience with the Scott Ryan, John Thorne, and their whole team!
AG: In the past, you’ve discussed not being sure how much to pay attention to the social media commentary/fan theories versus watching the new series free of the sea of opinions. Where do you stand on that now that we’re a few weeks into the return of the series?
MG: My thoughts on social media in the age of new Twin Peaks have continued to evolve. For a while, I was considering a total blackout for fear of spoilers and the rush to decode every little thing en masse. After watching the first batch of episodes a few times, I started to carefully sift through the online reactions. And what I am finding is I seriously underestimated Lynch and Frost’s ability to weave a mystery that will take years and years to completely get our heads around. There is so much in there that I haven’t seen a ton of comprehensive or coherent thoughts on what is going on and for me that makes it fun.
AG: Moving onto a few Twin Peaks related questions. What have been your initial impressions of the series thus far?
MG: I am loving the new show. It really does feel like we are back in the middle of the world’s greatest mystery. I think a key for me was keeping my expectations blank—not low, but blank, and just trust in the story and enjoy where it takes you.
AG: Do you have any particular hopes or wishes for the remainder of the series?
MG: Again, I think the key is to not to try to predict all of the storylines because you are then setting yourself up for disappointment. That being said, over the years I had tracked the primary creators whenever they gave an interview and had some rough idea of what the original 3rd season would have been in 1991.
I am also of the belief that Lynch and Frost kept some of the big ideas to themselves in case any opportunity ever arrived to continue the story (Harley Peyton agreed when I asked him about this). I recently did an episode on the original 3rd season, focusing a lot on Robert Engels, because, rare though his interviews were, he would always drop bombshells. And he was in the position back then to know what was going on, having worked on both the latter part of season 2 and Fire Walk With Me.
I may be crazy, but I feel like I have seen some of this play out in the new show already. Check out our last couple of episodes, and our continuing coverage of the new series, to see what I am talking about, but be careful of what I call pseudo-spoilers!. However, this is just me having fun. I trust in Lynch and Frost to tell the story, so am not anticipating disappointment.
AG: Wally Brando: Comedic genius or what the hell did I just witness?
MG: Total genius! For me this was the Little Nicky storyline handled the right way: wacky, offbeat, and out of the blue, but in and out before you even knew what was going on and it had a chance to grate on the nerves.
AG: Wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. In closing any final words for those reading?
MG: Thanks so much for the talk! And thanks to everyone who listens to and supports the show…everybody else, give us a spin! We have lots more topics we are eager to dive into after we finish covering the new episodes. Also, please provide feedback… it’s like garmonbozia and keeps us going!