Interview: Deer Tick

1 DeerTickPlusBus

Deer Tick are a band who haven’t really taken off in the UK yet. When I chat to singer/guitarist John McCauley, he is surprisingly calm for a man who is just about to take the stage in front of a sold out crowd of Gaslight Anthem fans, even while tour crew frantically scramble about around us, trying to get everything ready before the doors open. I wonder if it’s either because he’s due a massive freak out later, or if he’s just cooler than a polar bears balls. After our chat, I realise it’s the latter.

Q: You’re currently nearing the end of your tour supporting the Gaslight Anthem. How’s it been going?

John: It’s been really fun. They’re putting us in front of the largest crowds we’ve ever played to in Europe so it’s pretty cool. It’s kind of a challenge, it’s definitely not a situation where we’re going to steal the show! But, you know, some people like it, some people complain about it on Twitter, which I think is pretty funny.

Q: Has the crowd reaction been mostly positive?

J: It’s been really good. We’ve sold out of merchandise, which is a better sign than Twitter or anything like that. It’s like a physical manifestation of the work you’re doing on stage.

Q: This year is your tenth year as a band. How’s that feel?

J: It’s weird, man. A lot of questions come up, like “Do we want it to go to 20 years? 30?” It doesn’t feel 10 years, but it has been. I started this band young, I’m not even 30 yet and I feel like a lot of rock bands don’t break until everyone is in their thirties anyway, so I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong. It just takes time.

Q: When you started the band, could you have seen it going to 10 years?

J: I guess. I was in this weird, kinda dissonant rock band that I thought was my calling, you know? That band broke up, and I just started Deer Tick ‘coz I had nothing else going on. I didn’t feel like I was starting the band that I’d still be with 10 years later. I didn’t start it with any expectations, so anything that happens is like “Hey! Cool!” You know?

Q: You’ve got quite a Southern sound. How did growing up in Rhode Island lead to starting a band like this?

J: There’s a lot of music that I listen to that I didn’t ever realise was ‘southern’ or ‘country’ or whatever. I grew up listening to a lot of early rock and roll, things like Roy Orbison, it’s rock and roll, but it’s country too. I didn’t know anything about regional sounds. Motown is in Detroit, but I didn’t know any better, I just thought Motown was America, you know? A lot of the best American music does come from the South, it’s infectious.

Q: As well as the early rock and roll you mentioned, you’re also known for covering bands like The Replacements and Nirvana. Do you need a diverse music taste for your band to have an interesting sound?

J: It helps with us. Whatever we’re doing, some people call us revivalists. Of what? Nothing felt dead to me. But Roy Orbison and Nirvana are equally important to me, and their music doesn’t seem that different to me. Of course, it’s wildly different, but it’s all just rock and roll.


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