The Rolling Stone delves deeper into the musical background and influences of David Duchovny.
By Brian Hiatt
As of a few years ago, David Duchovny had never played guitar, and he had barely sung a note in public since flunking a choir audition as a kid. So he was as surprised as anyone to find himself recording what turned out to be a likable, lyrically tart, vaguely Wilco-ish debut album, Hell or Highwater, due out May 12th. It started when his split from wife Tea Leoni left the 54-year-old actor with unaccustomed free time, thanks to joint custody of his two kids: “I thought, ‘Maybe I can learn to play guitar to amuse myself,’ ” says Duchovny, who’s starring in a new NBC series, Aquarius (premiering May 28th), and will also film six new episodes of The X-Files this summer. “That was the motivation.”
One of your songs disses Bob Dylan for doing ads — that’s ballsy for a debut LP.
If I were him, I wouldn’t give a shit what I think. It came from watching the Super Bowl with my children, and the jingoism and bullshit America über alles stuff was making me ill. To me, Dylan was a way in. I’m happy he can make money. I think he can do whatever the fuck he pleases, and he’s aces with me forever.
Your voice sounds a bit like the guy from the National.
If my voice sounds like anybody, I take it as a compliment [laughs]. With singing, I just wanted to have some sense of when I open my mouth, what the fuck is gonna come out? It’s not natural to me.
What was the first day in the studio like?
Horrible. At one point, I was just lying on the ground underneath the mic, yelling that this was all a mistake.
You also published a novel this year, and your Twitter bio simply says “dilettante.”
It’s all just an offering. I’m saying here’s something I did. If you like it, take it with you, and if you don’t, maybe I’ll do it again, and hopefully you’ll like that one.
What’s behind your line about “mediocrities for hourly fees”?
We’ve all paid for a little therapy, haven’t we? I had a professor who said they called them shrinks because they make things small. They shrink everything. That’s probably the most specifically angry I get in any of these songs.
Read the full interview on Rolling Stone’s website here.