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Deer Tick’s John McCauley Talks to GoLocal

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


A voice defining a time: RI's own John McCauley.

Though the objective of most musicians is to have one successful band, others are a little more ambitious. Case in point: Providence-based singer/songwriter John McCauley. Aside from fronting Deer Tick, one of the most well-known acts ever to emerge from Providence, McCauley is also the lead singer of Middle Brother; who released their debut album in early 2011. As if one side project was not enough, the unmistakably raspy-voiced singer just launched his third group called Diamond Rugs, which is set to release their debut album this spring.

And, in a plum mainstream laurel, McCauley was named by NPR's pop critic Ken Tucker as "the one voice that defined the year" for him, in naming Deer TIck and Middle Brother one his Top 10 of the Year in Music.

Despite his busy schedule, McCauley took a few minutes to discuss Diamond Rugs’ origin, lineup, first single and future plans.

How did Diamond Rugs originate?

As a concept band, I guess. Bryan Dufresne and I wanted to start a new band called Stoner Drama and write songs about whatever stoner roommates might argue about. I wanted to play bass and our first choice for a guitar player was Ian [St. Pé] from The Black Lips. We'd met a few times and talked about playing together. We got him on board and then I met Steve Berlin at a Los Lobos concert. I told him about it and he was basically like "I love Deer Tick and The Black Lips, give me a call". Then I invited Rob [Crowell] to come down since he wasn't doing much. Then I remembered Hardy Morris was only a few hours away, so I invited him. It could have been a stupid record about weed. I'm glad its not.

"Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant" really stands out compared to typical cheery holiday tunes; did you set out to make an anti-Christmas song to help people cope with the holidays?

I used to sing it more like a country song, and it wasn't so sad-bastard-like. It was more like a John Prine tune. It doesn't represent the sound of the album at all though, just so you know. We just released it first to get it out by Christmas. It's the album closer, and it works really well that way.

Do you see Diamond Rugs continuing after your debut is released or will it be a one off type of thing?

We're already writing new songs. This is definitely a band that's going to stick around.

Diamond Rugs' first gig is in Atlanta; any news on when Rhode Islanders can expect to see the band on tour?

No idea yet. It's tough since it's six dudes from five different bands.

How does Diamond Rugs differ musically from Deer Tick?

You'll hear it soon enough. The combination of everyone's musicianship created something Deer Tick could never do. Diamond Rugs can't do what Deer Tick does either.

Stay tuned for band’s debut release this spring and look for the boys on the road in 2012.

For more coverage of music, stay tuned to GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.


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