Deer Tick calls their new album “Divine Providence,” which at first seems like a sweet homage to the group’s beginnings in Rhode Island’s capital city. But as with most things related to this band, the truth is uglier, ruder and much more rock ’n’ roll.
“It actually came from a black metal song that we wrote,” says singer John McCauley. “It had extremely anti-Christian lyrics, so we thought it’d be funny if we named that song ‘Divine Providence.’”
They eventually scrapped the song, as it didn’t fit the mood of their new album — which is mostly a rollicking good time, catering to classic rock fist-pumps as much as country rock swaying. Filled with titles like “Let’s All Go to the Bar,” and lyrics like “Johnny’s got a bottle of wine, no one is gonna make it to work on time,” they recall 1980s rock outcasts The Replacements.
“Oh yeah, we’re big Replacements fans,” says McCauley.
And like The Mats, there is a degree of longing and loneliness beneath the surface of the party proceedings too. But Deer Tick is no throwback act. They are writing very much for these times. The song “Main Street,” which they recently performed on Letterman, seems perfect for the age of 24/7 social networking, as McCauley asserts in a desperate rasp: “Miss one day and the whole world casts you out.”
“Divine Providence” also has a sonic density that betrays its festive atmosphere. So in the studio, are Deer Tick focused or a mess?
“I’d say it’s a little bit of both,” says McCauley. “Or maybe one person would be really drunk and nobody else would. It all depended on what time of day you got to the studio.”
In the past year, Deer Tick members have scattered to Brooklyn and Philadelphia, with McCauley moving to Nashville.
What made you decide to go to Nashville?
I was there since February and I had gone there to be with a girl. Then we ended up breaking up, but I
really liked it and I have access to a studio there that I can use whenever I want. And it’s cheap and easy.
It’s not as cheap and easy as Providence, is it?
I’d say cheaper and easier.
Will the next album be “Divine Nashville”?