David Duchovny was already an established actor when he first picked up the guitar, starting out by learning how to play the Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.” The X-Files and Californication star had long been writing poetry, though, and within a few years he completed enough demos to begin serious work on a 12-song LP.
That album, Hell or Highwater, is scheduled to be released on May 12th, and below you can stream its cutting closer, a seven-minute broadside inspired by a Chrysler advertisement featuring a certain rock icon.
“It’s a song I wrote after watching the Super Bowl a couple years ago,” Duchovny tells Rolling Stone. “I was kind of disgusted by the commercialism that my kids were being subjected to and that I was a part of. I love Bob Dylan and I think he can do whatever he wants – he’s a treasure and a great man, he was just a convenient symbol for what I was feeling that day.”
Duchovny recounts these feelings in the song’s opening verse. “Jokerman takes off his mask/Reveals a car salesman at last,” he sings. “Says, ‘Grow up son, you know it’s just a masquerade/Now be a good boy and get me and the boss a Gatorade.'”
The actor also seems unsettled by the rise of social media, and he begins the next verse with a symbolic virtual interaction: “I was following Gandhi on the Twitter/He tweeted, ‘Son, I don’t like to see you bitter/But if you wanna get in this kinda shape/Well, it’s abstinence and a protein shake.'” (Duchovny is no longer subscribed to any Mahatma-related accounts.)
Hell or Highwater (out on ThinkSay Records) can be pre-ordered here. “Positively Madison Avenue” isn’t the only of its songs to express disenchantment or heartbreak, but this time, Duchovny points some of his criticism inward. “I really shouldn’t be throwin’ stones,” he admits on the track’s final verse. “‘Cause chasin’ spooks on Fox I made my bones.”