Live & Direct with Deer Tick

Deer Tick stopped by the WYEP Studios on August 15, 2013 as a part of their radio promo tour.  The Rhode Island-based group are currently promoting their upcoming record Negavity, which is due out September 24.  Cindy Howes, John McCauley and Ian O’Neil discuss the writing and recording process for Negativity.

The guys opened up their set with the track “The Dream’s In The Ditch.”  Cindy and the guys started out with a discussion about recording Negavity with Steve Berlin (Los Lobos).  Berlin is also in the band Diamond Rugs with John McCauley.  McCauley and Cindy discussed process of deciding which demos to record for the Negativity record.  Deer Tick submitted 30 demo tracks to Steve Berlin, 12 of them actually were used on Negavity.  “There’s one song called “Negativity.”  This is the second album in a row where the title track didn’t make the album,” O’Neil said jokingly.

John McCauley opened to Cindy about some of the recent dark times that he went through that helped yield Negavity.  While McCauley was planning his wedding he broke off the engagement with this fiancée.  On top of that, McCauley’s father was sent to prison.  John McCauley discussed how prior to this record he tried to “step it up” as far as being a leader in Deer Tick and how his father going to prison caused him to do the same at home, “This crap kind of happened all at once, so I made some lifestyle changes that were long overdue and well I’m here,” stated McCauley.

Despite the fact that the record Negativity has a lot of tragedy and heartache behind it, John McCauley found a silver lining through his family’s support of the band.  McCauley noted his mother as one of his biggest supporters. “My mom, she’s a huge fan, she goes to all of our shows in the area.  Actually at the Newport Folk Festival this year I grabbed her out of the audience and had her come sing “Margaritaville.” I’m lucky to have such a supportive family,” stated McCauley.

Before closing their set with a track “Just Friends,” from the upcoming Negativity record, Cindy and John McCauley discuss the role of his girlfriend, Vanessa Carlton on the song.  “On the demo version of that song she just sang harmonies, just back up stuff.  She came up to Portland while we recording to visit for a few days, [to] keep me sane.  I looked at the lyrics and I was like I don’t need to change a word, if I give you this will be a great duet and she said she’d do it.  It was pretty simple,” adds McCauley.  John McCauley also shared the story behind the track;  “Just Friends is a song that I wrote about an interaction with my ex-fiancée running into each other at the bar.  I got really high one night and stayed up all night sitting at the piano thinking about the situation.  And it was great thought for material and about 9am I came up with this.” 

You can check out the set list from Deer Tick’s Live and Direct concert below and look for their new album Negavity in stores and online September 24. 

Set list

1. The Dream’s in the Ditch

2. Mr. Sticks

3. In Our Time

4. Just Friends