David Duchovny Q&A: Tom Petty, The future of X-Files, #TimesUp and his own sweet, sweet music

The actor/author/top bloke has just released his second album - we called him up to find out all about it. Oh and ask some X-Files questions too. Why not!

Hello David! Music is a relatively new string to your bow – what made you start making it?

“I just always loved music and had wanted to play an instrument and found myself with some time about six or seven years ago. I was like, ‘fuck it, I’ll teach myself how to play guitar’, and just sit in a room and learn some chords and sing along to songs that I like, like the way any child would do but I happened to be in my 50s when I did it.”

What were those songs that you were playing along with?

“’The Weight’, ‘Wish you Were Here’, classic ’60s rock, stuff that I grew up with, a real return to my roots.”

How does the new album differ from the first?

“I think musically it’s more sophisticated. The first album is more country rock or folk rock or whatever, more stripped down, even though there are a couple rockers. But this one is more like… I love ‘”Heroes”’ by Bowie, can we give a vibe like that to the song? I love Fleetwood Mac bass and drums – can we kind of have the airtight feel to the song? Stuff like that.”


‘Every Third Thought’ – why name the album after that track? Why is that track so important?

“I don’t think it is so important, I wanted to call the album ‘Stranger In The Sacred Heart’ but people were afraid that people would think it was a Christian album! But ‘Every Third Thought’ I think as a phrase it’s kind of strangely evocative and good and as you probably know by your accent, it’s Shakespeare. “Every third thought will be on death” I think is the actual quote but in the song it’s kind of like on another person. It’s a little bit about obsession or not being able to move on, I kind of like it.”

I know you’re friends with Marilyn Manson, you didn’t think to bring him in on the second album?

“No, maybe the next one!”

Who is your ultimate inspiration? If you had a shrine to someone in your home, who would that be to?

“Oh god – I guess it would probably be The Beatles. I mean, that’s not to say that I’m trying to sound like The Beatles or that I write songs like The Beatles but that’s always the music that I come back to.”

You were tweeting about Tom Petty after he died – what did he mean to you?

“I think Tom Petty is one of the greats, one of the greatest second wave pop songwriters after The Beatles, Stones and The Who. He was just a real smart lyricist and just had a real specific point of view and had a great band and a great sound.”

Did you ever get to meet him?


“I did meet him – he was a good friend of my dear, dear friend Gary Shandling.”

Your third book is coming in May. What can you tell us about Miss Subways?

“It’s kind of a magical surrealist love story, I’d say, set in New York. I guess the supposition of it is as all immigration has come to the States, people have come through New York historically. All these people have come from all these different countries and customs and they’ve brought their local customs and their gods with them, almost as if they stowed away on the ships with them. Then when they get to the new world they have to assimilate what happens to those gods – what happens to the gods from china, the local gods from Haiti, the local gods from Africa… They’re all in New York still so what happens?”

Where did the first seed of an idea for that come from?

“It came from when I was in grad school and I saw this play called ‘The Only Jealousy of Emer’ which is by William Butler Yates and that had nothing to do with anything I just said to you but that was the inspiration for the story!”

And you’re making your second novel, Bucky F*cking Dent, into a film – how far have you got down the line with that?

“I have financing which is great and I need to cast it so I can make it. If everything goes to plan – which it never does – I could shoot June, July, August and then it would be done five maybe six months after that, maybe a couple years. it’ll take a while.”

I noticed that your dog Brick has his own Twitter and Instagram accounts – how does he upload his content I was wondering?

“He’s got one of those gloves to make your phone work when it’s cold, he can work his phone like that.”

What’s Brick’s vibe? What’s he like as a dog?

“He was cool until he got his Instagram account, now he’s really full of himself.”

You took him on the X-Files set recently, how did he like that?

“He was little nervous. I had an old dog who grew up on set, he understood a little better than Brick did but he was getting the hang of it by the end.”

Your role as Denise in Twin Peaks, was one of the first positive representations of a transgender woman in television – how did you feel about bringing her back for the Twin Peaks reboot?

“I was really happy, David Lynch occupies a unique place in cinema and television. He is fully himself – you know the fact that he wanted to bring Denise back I loved it.”

Transgender rights and representation is such a huge topic right now – did that have any bearing on the way you approached the role?

“No, not at all. The role was created a long time ago and my approach to it was created a long time ago and I think as much as I am a supporter 100% of all that, I think that neither from the right, neither the left should you infuse your art. Art is for art’s sake. So when I do a part, my attraction to it might be because it’s a positive for this or for that but the actual doing of it should not be informed by that. It should be informed by reality and imagination.”

You’ve been quite vocal in your support for International Women’s Day and Planned Parenthood. Do you support the women in Hollywood taking a stand against harassment and misogyny? How can men play a part, in a supportive fashion?

“I’m not sure. I think men are playing a part by not playing a part at this point. I think it’s all very clear that it’s time to listen at this point. I think there will come a time when we’re going to have to collaborate on the new order but that time is ahead and right now we’re just watching as things shake out.”

Finally, last year Gillian Anderson said the current series of X-Files would be her last, how about you? Where does that put you?

“I don’t know where it puts me!”

Is it possible to do the show without her?

“If they can do it without me they can do it without anybody. I think they could do it without both of us! They can do it without Chris Carter, anything can be done.”

So the current series isn’t necessarily the last?

“No, what happens is when we’re dead and they want to do more X Files? Who can fucking say! I don’t know.”


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