Ever since attending Watertown Middle School, Patrick McCusker has loved the guitar. Attending Berklee after high school, McCusker graduated in 2011, just as his current band member David Duchovny was learning to play guitar.Duchovny, known best for his roles as Fox Mulder on the X-Files and Hank Moody in Californication, is also a bit of a renaissance man in that just last year, he published two novels and a debut album, Hell or Highwater.
That’s where McCusker, who played in many of the album’s tracks and toured with Duchovny, comes in.
As McCusker describes it, Duchovny’s music is a blend of folk, roots, and rock.
“Fans of Wilco and REM would dig it,” he said.
As a longtime musician, McCusker said Duchovny is quick learner and a great band leader.
“It’s a blast working with David,” he said. “He’s very comfortable with the band working together as a creative unit, especially since he’s relatively new to the music game. It really doesn’t feel like you’re working with a star at all with David. He’s very real.”
This week, the Watertown TAB spoke with McCusker about working with the Hollywood star, what he loves about music and what’s next for the group.
X-Files or Californication?
Haha! I like ’em both.
Tell us how you first got into music.
I started playing guitar in the seventh grade. All of my friends were playing music, so it was a very natural progression for me to pick up the instrument and start playing in bands. I fell in love with music and ended up pursuing it further at Berklee College of Music, where I met many incredible musicians that I still play with today. I went there from 2007-2011.
Following Berklee, I remained in Boston until the fall of 2014. I was working primarily as a guitar instructor, while also producing records for local Boston artists and making my own music with a band called ‘Friendly People’. At the beginning of 2013, half of my band moved to [New York City]. We continued to make music however, traveling back and forth, playing live in both cities and many other places across America.
Tell us about your rig and favorite guitars?
I have two main guitars that have very different functions. I use a Fender Stratocaster (the Jimmie Vaughan model) for the more country, bluesy, and faster tunes. It’s a fun guitar to play all over the fretboard with.
My 1978 Gibson 335 is the one I care most about. It’s a beautiful semi-hollow body guitar that has so much depth and resonance to it. You really hear the wood on this thing. I often use the 335 for more mellow and slower songs that allow space for the notes to ring out.
What was it like growing up in Watertown?
I had a nice time growing up in Watertown. In particular, the class I graduated with I felt were a really kind group of kids. We all got along and supported each other. Watertown was a welcoming place for me, and I felt safe to start growing creatively and musically there.
What do you love about playing music?
I love that you can just shut your brain off from thought. It’s really a deep form of meditation for me. When you’re playing with people, there are layers of communication that are felt through vibrations and rhythms and melodies. Guitar and music never cease to surprise me. This all may sound pretty cheesy, but I absolutely believe it.
What are some your musical influences?
I have so many influences. If I’m speaking strictly about guitarists, I love Nels Cline [of Wilco] and Bill Frisell. In particular, Frisell is such a patient player. He’s not flashy in the slightest, and every note choice of his is beautiful. His playing feels like a conversation to me.
How did you end up playing with David Duchovny?
I started working with David back in early 2014. He had a whole bunch of songs that he was ready to start developing. The label that he was on reached out to our band and asked us to put together some full band demos of his tunes. We all helped produce and arrange the songs and David was into it! Since then we’ve released an album, “Hell Or High Water,” and have toured extensively over America and Europe. It’s a cool sound – a nice blend of folk, roots, and rock.
What’s next for the band?
In February, we’re hitting all of the West Coast and a good chunk of the Northeast, including the Wilbur in Boston. I’m particularly excited about that one of course because it’s a homecoming for me. I used to go see shows there so it’ll be a wild feeling to be playing the show this time around.
After the tour, we’ll finish up our second record with David and have some new music for everyone…
More at http://watertown.wickedlocal.com/news/20161221/watertown-guitarist-tours-with-x-files-actor-turned-musician-david-duchovny