Tim Casey does not wear a mask to cover his identity. Nor is he a mad scientist. But he does sometimes go by the name of Doctor X, at least when he’s making music.
That’s something the Roslindale native has done most of his life, comfortably moving back and forth between folk and rock and electronica, usually writing his own music, but never shy about attempting an eclectic cover of something by the Beatles or Bob Dylan.
Casey has been called Doctor X for about a decade, but now the name is being used for the four-piece band he’s fronting, featuring Casey on guitars
and keyboards, Billy Carl Mancini on lead guitar, Glenn Williams on bass and vocals, and Larry Harvey on drums. Formed earlier this year, the band makes their live debut tonight (Dec. 28) at the Midway Café to celebrate the release of their first album, “um ... whaddup, doc?”
Where did you get the name Doctor X?
It’s a nickname I got from other musicians because I was always fixing things for them, usually computers. When I was in the band Random Access Memory, I recorded some electronic covers of ’60s songs on the side with some friends, and as a joke we called that Doctor X.
So how did an actual band come together?
I produce the monthly TV show “Transmission Hour” at BNN, the Boston cable access station. It’s a music show that’s on Sunday nights at 8. People come to the station and play for about an hour. We record them, use about 40 minutes of it, and fill the rest of the hour with an off-site interview we have with the musicians. People were saying to me, “When are you gonna be on? What are you gonna do?” So a bunch of musicians I know volunteered to be in the band for one show. But once we started rehearsing for it, it just worked. It clicked so well, we decided to at least make an album out it. Then we said, maybe we’ll play some gigs.
Some of the album is rock, some is laidback. How was the music chosen?
About half of the songs are new, but some are picked from stuff that I’d already written. They’re mostly my songs, but there’s also a cover of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees,” we do “That’s Entertainment” by the Jam, and a hilarious cover of “Oh! Darling” that doesn’t sound like the Beatles. It sounds very psychotic.
Why did you choose the Midway for the record release party?
It’s one of the best places I’ve ever played in. I know it’s just a bar, but the vibe is so cool there. It’s so friendly and open, and the audience is right in your face, and drinking. I’ve had some very memorable nights there.
What will be going on there?
It’s four bands doing an hour set each, and it starts at 9. The Cannibal Kings are opening, then Phil Kaplan’s band the Exiles, then we’ll do our whole album, and then Moniker will play. We’ll go on around 11.
Where can one get a Doctor X T-shirt like the band wears in your videos?
Oh, you go to Old Navy, you get a black t-shirt, and then you buy a can of gold spray paint and spray the X on it. It’s a do it yourself thing.
And the album?
At Amazon or iTunes. If you want the deluxe edition, with the DVD in it, go to lowbudgetrecords.com. And they’ll be for sale at the gig.