Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Watching Agent Mulder Busting Eighties Rock Moves, I'm Struck by a Strange Sense of Sincerity: David Duchovny's Moves Make His Project Feel Personal-So Unpolished, So Lumbersome, So Unedited and Exposed

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Watching Agent Mulder Busting Eighties Rock Moves, I'm Struck by a Strange Sense of Sincerity: David Duchovny's Moves Make His Project Feel Personal-So Unpolished, So Lumbersome, So Unedited and Exposed

Article excerpt

David Duchovny wrote a song about the time Bob Dylan did an ad for Chrysler in conjunction with the Super Bowl. The song, like a much-simplified version of "American Pie", runs over many sad verses.

"Joker man takes off his mask," it goes. "Reveals a car salesman at last ...

   Worked up quite a thirst
   Watchin' all them bubbles burst.
   Save me a place at the bar
   Bobby Dylan was sellin' cars

Singing live at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London last week, Duchovny--best known for playing Mulder in The X-Files--updated the 2015 track as if to acknowledge that a sell-out Dylan might be the least of America's problems. "Impeach that motherfuckin' fascist in the White House!" he cried at the end, which was a bit of a shame as far as I was concerned, because a song slagging off Dylan at length struck me as really quite original in itself.

Duchovny also has a song about a Roman coin weighing down the pocket of a man who's trying to get to heaven. And another about the time he went to the Sacre-Creur and learned, to his astonishment, that when people pray in a church, they sometimes pray for other people, and not just themselves.

Unlike part-time musician Johnny Depp, who wanted to be a rock star long before he wanted to be an actor, Duchovny only picked up the guitar in 2011, and perhaps it shows. His band, who recall a group of enthusiasts in a garage playing for the first time, produce a thick bed of seat-shaking reverb, and you wish David himself had a better voice. Whenever he steps near the front of the stage, he gets a whooped fanfare from female fans. Flat of stomach and firm of bicep, he occasionally resembles a stripper at a hen do, though he refuses to take off his shirt.

Duchovny's songs--all of them written in his apartment, he says--have been compared to the songs of the alt-country band Wilco, but I think that this is to overlook a certain grandeur in the lyrics, which are more suited to the world of classic rock. His albums have names such as Hell or Highwater. …

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