05/13/2015 01:47 pm ET | Updated May 13, 2015

David Duchovny Really Just Wants to Sing

Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images

The following article is provided by Rolling Stone.

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.

"A man of words is a man of lies" is a nice lyric.

That's the English-literature guy in me: Words are just an approximation. That's one of the great things about music: It kind of fills up the distance between the words and what you're feeling.

What songs did you start with on guitar?

The Beatles, Lou Reed, the Band, Petty — classic white-guy rock. I love Seventies funk, but I'm not good enough to play it yet. So hopefully, within the next year or so, I'll get my jazzy chords and come out with a little Sly and the Family Stone tribute album.

How much of the X-Files mythology do you have straight in your head?

Very little. I think Gillian [Anderson] and I should probably do a remedial course by Chris Carter or somebody who runs a website that knows exactly what the hell they're talking about.

What's it like to have Fox Mulder follow you around for all these years?

At one point it was frustrating, and I feared being typecast. Now, it's just kind of funny. I was going to sing last week, and New York is where I get the best recognitions, and this guy goes, "Oh, shit! It's homeboy from The X-Files!" That's the way I like to think of myself: homeboy from The X-Files.


  • 1 "Pilot" - Season 1, Episode 1 - Mythology
    Dana Scully meets Fox Mulder, and there are some cool shout outs to Steven Spielberg.
  • 2 "Ice" - Season 1, Episode 8 - Monster
    Mulder and Scully face off with primordial ice worms that cause bizarre behavior in their hosts.
  • 3 "The Host" - Season 2, Episode 2 - Monster
    Mulder finds evidence of a monster living in the New Jersey sewage system. What else is new?
  • 4 "Duane Barry" - Season 2, Episode 5 - Mythology
    The agents encounter a former FBI agent claiming to be an alien abductee. The episode sets up massive series storylines.
  • 5 "Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose" Season 3, Episode 4 - Monster
    Mulder and Scully investigate a series of murders of psychics and fortune tellers, and there's a guy named Clyde Bruckman who looks oddly like Ray Romano's TV dad.
  • 6 "Piper Maru" - Season 3, Episode 15 - Mythology
    The crew of a salvage ship gets a strange illness. But they'll probably be totally fine, right? Wrong! The episode introduces "black oil," which you definitely don't want to mess with.
  • 7 "Home" Season 4, Episode 2 - Monster
    The agents have a run-in with an unusual family of farmers. It is reportedly the only episode to receive a TV-MA rating.
  • 8 "Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man" - Season 4, Episode 7 - Mythology
    The Smoking Man might be involved in several historical events. It's like "Forrest Gump" gone bad.
  • 9 "Bad Blood" - Season 5, Episode 12 - Monster
    There's Luke Wilson, a bunch of vampires and it's written by "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan.
  • 10 "The End" - Season 5, Episode 20 - Mythology
    Mulder might finally find the X-files evidence he needs and live happily ever after. It's a good thing there aren't four more seasons after this, right? Oh, wait ...
  • 11 "The Beginning" - Season 6, Episode 1 - Mythology
    The episode follows the 1998 movie and finds Mulder and Scully on the hunt for a mysterious deadly creature.
  • 12 "Drive" - Season 6, Episode 2 - Monster
    The Vince Gilligan-written episode first introduced the "Breaking Bad" creator to Bryan Cranston. And now the world is a better place.
  • 13 "X-Cops" - Season 7, Episode 12 - Monster
    The TV Mouse
    Mulder and Scully are interviewed for "Cops" during an X-Files investigation. Yessssssss.
  • 14 "Requiem" - Season 7, Episode 22 - Mythology
    Mulder gets abducted by aliens. This marked the end of Duchovny's regular appearances on the show.
  • 15 "Vienen" - Season 8, Episode 18 - Mythology
    Adventure Amigos
    The episode is the final appearance of black oil for a while. That gif is also pretty gross.
  • 16 "The Gift" - Season 8, Episode 11 - Monster/Myth
    Doggett looks into an old case about a "soul-eater." The episode featured a return appearance by Duchovny.
  • 17 "Improbable" - Season 9, Episode 13 - Monster
    The agents investigate a serial killer and Burt Reynolds supposedly plays God (because why not?).
  • 18 "The Truth" - Season 9, Episode 19 & 20 - Mythology
    The episode finally concludes a lot of story arcs while creating a few more we can perhaps look forward to in the reboot.