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Frank Black | Scott Boutier | Rich Gilbert | David McCaffrey | Dave Philips    

"It's music, for crying out loud! We are talking about the language of God!"
(Frank Black - The Hates and the Occasional Loves of Frank Black, 2003.)




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Dave McCaffrey, courtesy of John 'The
Big Galoof' Armstrong

Photo provided by Media Blaze

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 Catholics.

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!

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