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Dave McCaffrey: The Basser
Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
If you have had the fortune of seeing the Catholics live, you'll
know who Dave is without the picture. He's the one that is invariably
biting his bottom lip and/or smiling non-stop. Dave held
up the low end for Frank Black since Frank started the Cult of Ray and
never looked back at his induction and subsequent baptism into the
Dave, or McDave as you will hear him called to distinguish him from
fellow Catholic Dave
Philips, is now 42 and hails from Warwick, Rhode Island. He
graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School, an all boys Catholic
school, where he played quite a bit of baseball. He was also in
several garage bands in his younger years, with names like
Scorching When It Lands (SWIL), Purple Ivy, and
eventually What Now with fellow Catholic Scott Boutier, a band with a
kind of "Hüsker Dü background" according to Miracle Legion
frontman Mark Mulcachy.
The move to Miracle Legion was made in 1990 by both Dave and
Scott, and Dave is credited as bassist on their 1992 record
Drenched. Miracle Legion began working on their next
album, Portrait of a Damaged Family but serious label problems
delayed the album and eventually spelled the demise of Miracle
Legion. However, Portrait was eventually released on
Mulcachy's own label, Mezzotint, in 1999.
Dave took a break and studied French, but was not destined to be a
French linguist. He joined up with Scott and two Miracle Legion
mates to work on a new project: a house band (Polaris) for "The
Adventures of Pete & Pete" on Nickelodeon. Dave was under the guise of
Jersey Polaris and can be seen playing in the show, long hair and all,
at Mezzotint's website.
The show lasted three seasons, and the music from the show was popular
enough to warrant a CD release, Music From the Adventures of Pete
and Pete in 1999, where Dave earns a bass/backing vocals credit.
Frank Black was introduced to Dave & Scott in 1993, and by 1994,
Frank Black had already jammed with Dave & Scott on several occasions.
Frank was asked on to "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", and asked Scott
& Dave to join him. Dave had just finished recording Gravity (Is
the Force That Brings You Down) with Halo Bit as guitarist
and vocalist, and took Frank up on the offer. Although they were not
officially inducted until 1995, that show sealed the deal and they
have been with him ever since.
According to Frank Black in an interview with Chart Attack, it
just sort of happened:
"We just crossed paths, worked together, and if you work
together long enough, you become a band. It was very unremarkable. I
could tell you that the rhythm section... I had to do a television
show in New York, and I didn't have a band at the time. I was on an
acoustic tour opening up for They Might Be Giants. I needed to have a
band. I actually asked the guys in They Might Be Giants if they would
be my band, but they were playing David Letterman or something on the
same night... I knew these guys in a band called Miracle Legion, so I
asked if they would bring their rhythm section to come out to New York
and be my band for a couple of songs. I got a lot of response and
calls from friends wondering who my new band was. I just took that as
a sign that I should play with these guys."
While being a Catholic was a full-time commitment, Dave still found
time to work on other projects. In 1996, he played bass on The
Godrays' Songs for TV Stars, and he joined Rich Gilbert's
other project, the Blackstone Valley
Sinners as guest bassist for their record, The Cold, Hard
Truth About Christmas.
Dave is a busy guy, and though he's not playing with the Catholics
now, he's probably working on side/guest projects, or doing other
music-related ventures. If not, it's a safe bet you'll find him
watching the baseball game or perhaps spending some time with his wife, Ariela, and watching his young son, Declan (born June 17, 2005) grow up.
Any info on Dave post-Pixies reunion is scarce, so anyone with information would be very welcome.
- Dean Katsiris
Got something to add? Please send Dean a note and
let him know!