BootLeg Betty

Oddly Surprising: David Duchovny On Bette Midler

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Forbes
Sunday Conversation: David Duchovny On His Superb New Album, Prince, Bette Midler And The Idea Of Playing Warren Zevon In A Biopic
By Steve Baltin
Aug 22, 2021


Bette Midler at the Holiday Star Theater in Merrillville, Indiana, March 2, 1983. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Bette Midler at the Holiday Star Theater in Merrillville, Indiana, March 2, 1983. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)


Baltin: Are there artists that you’ve seen who take you on that journey that you look to as the masters of that art form?

Duchovny: Arena rock isn’t like that. It’s just hard to do. Not that I play at arenas, but I used to bar tend at Radio City Music Hall when I was 21 years old, right after college, and I saw so many different acts coming through. I saw Prince there before. He had “Little Red Corvette,” but no “When Doves Cry” yet, no “Purple Rain” yet. I saw Peter Allen who was remarkably great. I saw Marvin Gaye. On the Sexual Healing tour, for the encore for “Sexual Healing,” he’d come out in a silk bathrobe. But crazy enough, the one performer that I saw take the audience almost like a great movie or a play, made them laugh and then made them cry, and was entertaining all the way through without any kind of general rise to the top and then down but almost like a waving, waving sad song episode, jokes, tears was Bette Midler. I don’t own one Bette Midler album, I don’t know her music at all, but I watched her and I was like, “That person just took that audience, just grabbed them and said, ‘We’re going here, we’re gonna laugh; we’re going here, we’re gonna cry.'” And I’ve never seen anything like that. And that’s Radio City Music Hall, so it’s not a huge venue but it’s pretty big.

David Duchovny in Californication
David Duchovny in Californication

Baltin: Obviously, she’s a performer and has been an actress for years and has done some great work. So do you feel like in a way, it almost gives you an advantage, because you know how to work with an audience as well?

Duchovny: Yeah, you’d think so. I should probably think about it more that way. I think, at first, from my experience of just going out and playing live, I was so terrified of just, “Oh s**t, are my pants gonna split? Is my mic gonna work?” All the little things. And then just, ” Am I gonna be able to sing like this?” And then, “Can I hear the bass? Where’s the bass?” All these things. And then eventually, as you get more experienced, then you just start to get into the luxury idea of, “Okay, the music is gonna take care of itself. I know the songs and I know how to sing ’em. They’re gonna be within a certain range of good. Now, well, what’s it about? It’s about this evening. What do I want this evening to be about? What journey do I wanna take? How do I do it without being an a**hole? How do I do without being a cheesy kind of ‘Clap your hands, everybody?’ How are we gonna do it?”



Buy David Duchovny’s New Digital Album


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