TSI – Deer Tick interview – John McCauley III

The past few years have been quite a ride for Deer Tick. Named the “#1 Breaking Band” at SXSW 2009 by Rolling Stone, the band found itself in an unusual but fortuitous situation by attracting the eyes and ears of one of TV’s biggest names. As it turns out, newsman and self-described avid music enthusiast Brian Williams can be counted among the growing masses of Deer Tick’s devoted fans. Williams hand-selected Deer Tick as the first band to be featured on his new web-only music interview series, BriTunes.

As increasing amounts of attention are paid to frontman John McCauley III’s distinctive, raw voice, and his “wise beyond his years” storytelling prowess, the band continues to amass praise for their masterful blending of blues, rock, grunge, country, and pop. I had the chance to spend an afternoon talking with John about his appreciation for vinyl, the Middle Brother collaboration with Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith and Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez and, of course, Deer Tick’s upcoming studio album.

Always markedly influenced by Nirvana, the band has recently gone all in on their admiration for the grunge pioneers, playing special tribute sets under the name “Deervana,” and Bonnaroo attendees were treated to not one – but two – sets this past weekend in Manchester, Tennessee.  “God damn, we just want to have fun.  Playing bars, little venues – we live for this shit. But a show of this size? This’ll be different,” said John in a phone interview just before Bonnaroo.  From the very beginning, Deer Tick has always seemed most at home in the lo-fi world – raw, honest and proudly wearing the cuts and bruises of the open road.  You only need to take their bare-bones website to see that these guys let their music speak for itself – and it speaks volumes.  It’s only fitting that they have a heartfelt appreciation for vinyl recordings, especially John. “There’s a discipline to vinyl, an impression that the listener leaves on that piece of vinyl.  Every scratch, every lousy needle leaves something behind.  It’s what I miss most about being on the road so damn much – not being able to really listen to a record.”

Deer Tick is fresh out of the studio recording a new album, and they’re hoping for an October release – and of course, it’ll be pressed onto vinyl.

Deer Tick is John J. McCauley III (guitar, vocals)

Ian P. O’Neil (guitar, vocals)

Rob B. Crowell (keys, organ, saxophone, vocals)

Christopher D. Ryan (bass, vocals)

Dennis M. Ryan (drums, vocals)