John McCauley of Deer Tick

After so many years of critics praising [and making fun of] us for our ‘folk’ and ‘country’ sounds, and hardly ever mentioning the fact that we’ve also recorded virtually dozens of other kinds of music, we wanted to make a record that was truer to our live set: raw, loud, heartfelt, and completely uninterested in whatever the hell the rest of the music industry is up to," says Deer Tick front-man McCauley just prior to the release of his band’s fourth full length Divine Providence. "The results are unlike anything you’ve heard on a Deer Tick album."

Although Divine Providence didn’t run list and list with Fleet Foxes or PJ Harvey for album of the year, its still one of the year’s most entertaining listens with its hard drinking rockabilly rhythms that permeates like spilled beer and cigarette butts.  Just following a tour in support of Divine Providence, the always candid and witty McCauley wrote us back some thoughts…

It was noted on your website about Divine Providence – 100% Deer-Fucking-Tick in their purest, and most carefree form…perhaps that’s because this is the first record they’ve recorded in their home state of Rhode Island…GAH! No need to over-think this shit!!!   What did recording in RI do exactly for the mood and creativity of the band?

Well, we knew where all the good bars were.

On The Black Dirt Sessions, Deer Tick unraveled dark Americana blues with raw emotion – Divine Providence splatters with the Stones and Replacements and folk influences  and is more vibrant musically – where did this new direction come from?

I think we just got kind of bored. The Black Dirt songs were so old too. I didn’t have much of a connection with them after we finished recording them. We’ve been playing songs and performing Divine Providence-like since Flag Day came out.

You guys just wrapped up the tour – how have the new songs come across on stage and which of the new ones do you feel have been most well received – which ones do you particularly enjoy playing the most?

It was the best tour ever. Every night was a party. Everybody knew the words to "The Bump" every night. That was a great song to open our sets with. I like playing "Funny Word" because of the dueling guitar solos. It leaves a lot of room for antics.

How have the suits worked out?

They smell terrible.

Three records in three years is quite prolific these days- do you yourself taking any time off?

Deer Tick can take a year off, I don’t care. I’ll start another band. I don’t want to get bored.

The Deer Tick lineup has been a work in progress since 2004 and lately has been its most consistent. Do you see this lineup staying hold for awhile?

This is the lineup. If anyone quits or dies Deer Tick’s over.

 Which description of Deer Tick are you most proud of?

I don’t know, I just like the "you gotta see them live" description. We don’t play one kind of music.

At your Raleigh show you capped off the performance by shaking a can of Coors Original, spraying the center of the crowd, and then pouring the remaining contents all over your face while the band raged on.  Good stuff…..

We’ve been doing this shit since Flag Day, but thanks to Black Dirt everybody was expecting a low key gig and we wouldn’t even play any Black Dirt songs! We alienated a lot of our fans that way. And actually, now that I think about it, that Raleigh show was one of the tamer shows on that tour.

Did the Middle Brother project have any direct effect musically on the band – if so , how did the collaboration influence Deer Tick?
I wanted to use the producers from the Middle Brother album. Adam Landry and Justin Collins. They were great with us. Just like Middle Brother, it wasn’t all about the performance being perfect, it was about the performance having some kind of greater feeling.

Along with Low Anthem, Deer Tick has helped to give Providence a name in the national indie scene – what do you credit that growth to?  Is there a particular small club scene there that was fostering a growth? 

 I don’t know, I mean, there’s always been a great scene in Providence. There’s AS220 where I kind of grew up playing at. Lightning Bolt put Providence on the map before we did though. Nobody would know shit about Providence if it wasn’t for all these bands getting the fuck out of Providence. There’s no way you’re going to make it in Providence. There’s simply no opportunities there.

On a handful of occasions, Deer Tick has performed entire sets as Deervana –  are there any other tribute band possibilities in the future?

The Deerplacements, The Deertenders, Deers for Fears, Deer Kennedys.

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