The eighth episode of Twin Peaks: The Return — the long-anticipated, recently-concluded reboot to David Lynch's beloved series – includes a scene where a sinister industrial-rock outfit performs an earsplitting song in a crowded, smoke-enshrouded club. The band is none other than Nine Inch Nails, who proceed to deliver one hell of a cameo performance with a thunderous take on "She's Gone Away," off last year's Not the Actual Events EP. It wasn't exactly what the group had in mind: During a recent interview on Chicago's 101WKQX (subsequently reported by Consequence of Sound), Trent Reznor revealed that the band originally planned to perform a new song, written exclusively for Lynch's series.
There was only one problem — David Lynch wasn't impressed. "[Lynch] said, 'How about something less Twin Peaks-y sounding, and more aggressive and ugly?''" Reznor said. Atticus Ross, his collaborator and recently-minted bandmate, recalls Lynch saying he wanted a song that would "make [his] hair stand on end." His group's musical pitch aside, Reznor was nonetheless thrilled to be part of the series."[It was] a complete honor to be involved," Reznor said of the band's time in Twin Peaks. "Lynch has always been a hero of mine. I was thrilled to learn that he was gonna put the effort in and bring Twin Peaks [back], and do it in the style that he did."
Like the rest of the world, the band was kept in the dark about the series' plotline. "I was thrilled to see what it became, because we didn't know any more than anybody else," said Reznor. After the show wrapped up filming, the director invited the band members over to his house to watch their scene. In typical, secretive fashion, Lynch kept the screening extremely brief: "It started the frame where we began playing, and went one frame past it," Reznor recalled. "[Lynch] went: 'Pretend you didn't see that.'"