John McCauley of Deer Tick on their new album 'Mayonnaise' and getting back out on the road
The rowdy Americana-meets-punk band will be playing three shows in Brooklyn this week.
John McCauley of the band Deer Tick is one of those special songwriters who can be as romantic and sentimental as he is ready to start a midday bar fight with his beer-soaked anthems. Hailing from Providence. Rhode Island, his long-running and critically acclaimed Americana-meets-punk band, Deer Tick, have always blurred those two lines to dazzling effect, gaining a following of adoring fans who tend to go nuts during their marathon live shows.
In 2017, the band did something that seemed almost unimaginable for them while recording their two albums “Vol. 1” and “Vol. 2”: They gave themselves a strict set of rules to work with. Each record would consist of the left and right brain that makes them such a dynamic band. “Vol. 1” would consist of all softer acoustic songs, while “Vol. 2” would be 10 tight beer-soaked rockers just begging to be played at full volume.
“I think we had the idea for ‘Vol. 1’ and ‘Vol. 2’ pretty early on,” McCauley explains of this experiment. “Before we knew what songs would be on it or anything or before we started recording, we made rules for recording. For the acoustic stuff that’s on ‘Vol. 1,’ the only rule was no electric guitars, no matter what. Then with ‘Vol. 2,’ it was no acoustic guitars, no matter what.”
For their brand-new companion album, “Mayonnaise,” the band took some songs that they never used from these sessions as well as a few covers to give the listener a sense of the missing pieces. The result shows the perfect mixture of what makes the band so endearing, with a blend of scuffed-up rockers and tender ballads.
“I thought maybe you could get an idea of what those records could have been like,” McCauley says with a laugh when explaining how they put together “Mayonnaise.” “‘Mayonnaise’ was originally going to be an all-covers record, but we decided to do more of a compilation. We wanted it to sound more like a record like ‘Incesticide’ [the Nirvana B-sides collection] or something.”
To support the release of “Mayonnaise,” Deer Tick will be playing three shows in Brooklyn this week before heading out on a lengthy tour. Even though McCauley and the rest of the band have settled down to a degree with families at this point, the call to the road is still as loud as ever.
“I don’t like to be away for too long a period of time,” says McCauley. “We try to keep everything we do [to] like three weeks or less. I have a family. Ian has a family. Chris and Dennis are married. We have a lot of things going on at home that we like to be home for, but I’m really enjoying being on the road. At this stage in my life, I feel I can play guitar better. I can drink more beer than ever. I’m physically and mentally the strongest I’ve ever been. I just like what I do!”
Deer Tick will be playing a sold-out show tonight at Rough Trade in Williamsburg but will be playing two larger shows down the road at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Thursday, May 2, and Friday, May 3.