Deer Tick Burrow In

I'm not going to be punching photographers in the face... but I will show them my dick.

-John McCauley

"There's some sort of transformation that happens [on stage]," commented McCauley. "I don't consider myself very well spoken or long winded or extroverted, but when I'm on stage, something... changes. I don't know if it's that I feel a sense of security or an honest to goodness deep interaction with the crowd. I can't really put my finger on it, what happens when I get on stage, but it does completely change me. I'm very comfortable on stage."

Deer Tick
When it comes to all things Deer Tick, McCauley is behind the wheel. Drummer Dennis Ryan said that it's far from a dictatorship but McCauley primarily drives the musical direction of the band. "We just read this article in the [Boston] Metro with a quote from him about not having to write parts for us because we play what we want, [and] that's how the whole thing goes," Ryan said. "He has these fucking amazing songs, and he tells me what type of feel he wants for the song and I play what I want from there. I could play something other than what he envisioned but it's never happened. We're on the same wavelength."

Although he made a point of highlighting his bandmates' contributions, McCauley's outlook on the group's creative process corroborated Ryan's take on things. "Most of what we play are songs I've written," he said. "About 98-percent are my songs, but Andy writes songs and Dennis writes songs. Dennis played a song of his [tonight] on lead vocals that will be on the third album."

With the release of Born On Flag Day talk of a third studio album came from out of the blue. When asked to elaborate, McCauley said that Flag Day was finished by September of 2008 and that their third LP, finished this past January, is slated for a winter release. "[The third album is] already done. I don't want to go too deep into it because, you know, it's kind of secret," he said, "but it's a little darker and a lot heavier than anything we've done."

It seems like Deer Tick is keeping two steps ahead of the game, and that's the way McCauley likes it. "It's not such a bad place to be," he said. "It sort of takes the pressure off. You don't have to think what we're going to do for the next album. We haven't written shit."

Deer Tick
Although Born On Flag Day is very much the product of John McCauley's songwriting, it showcases a noticeable progression from where they left off on War Elephant. As Deer Tick's permanent membership has gradually filled in, less of the in-studio recording fell on McCauley's shoulders. When asked about how it was different recording Flag Day, McCauley said, "I didn't have to worry as much about doing drums and bass, which I did on War Elephant. I'm not the best bassist or drummer, so it was cool just having to work on my guitar parts. I think this new album will sound more like our live show than War Elephant ever could." However, in the same breathe, he added, "We're more rambunctious live. There's recorded Deer Tick and then there's live Deer Tick."

The guys in Deer Tick are far from oblivious about their rise in prominence over the past year, and the possibility of that continual rise didn't seem far off their radar at any point in time. "It's funny because when I joined, John booked the tour himself. When we played Boston, we were playing at house parties, a lot of basements and dive bars with 15 people. It wasn't anything glorious," Ryan commented. "Even then we didn't have enough CDs. John was making them himself, and I drew a cover with a weird clown. We toured for a whole year with no merchandise, and sold whatever we could when we had it. It was when we met [label founder] Tim [Putnam] from Partisan Records that they re-released War Elephant and things started to go a little better."

As for the buzz itself, McCauley said, "[Born On Flag Day] has been getting a lot of hype and it's not even out yet, so I sense a lot of anticipation for this album, so I think things will change for us. The hype is sort of something I feel I'm supposed to live up to, but we recorded it in September and I still think it's a good album."

But when it comes to playing bigger venues, getting a nicer tour bus or reaching any of the other plateau's affiliated with rock 'n' roll fame, McCauley seemed to care less. "I don't care about fame," he said. "I care about our fans and the more the merrier."


FREE MP3: Deer Tick - "Easy"

Deer Tick has several dates coming up including shows with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and These United States; complete tour dates available here.

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[Published on: 7/21/09]

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