Billboard Underground: Deer Tick
Some think Deer Tick is a stage name, but it's actually the work of a band fronted by John McCauley. The act's 2007 debut, "War Elephant" (Feow Records), a mostly McCauley recording, showcased such inSome think Deer Tick is a stage name, but it's actually the work of a band fronted by John McCauley. The act's 2007 debut, "War Elephant" (Feow Records), a mostly McCauley recording, showcased such influences as Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams, but the artist says these are recent inspirations.
"I was in a lot of bands in high school, bands that sounded like Nirvana," McCauley says. Once those early bands fizzled, Deer Tick came to life during one fateful car ride. "I heard Hank Williams on the radio," he says. "I stopped by a record store and bought a double-disc Hank record and went home and listened to it over and over again until I finished a bottle of brandy."
With a pair of bandmates backing McCauley, Deer Tick quickly branched out from its homebase of Providence, R.I., playing the indie avant-folk circuit with such acts as Castanets and Jana Hunter, as well as higher-profile acts like Shearwater and Kaki King.
Logging many hours on the road as a trio has enabled McCauley to expand the sound he teased on "War Elephant" into something more upbeat. At times onstage, he plays up his scratchy, nasally delivery; at others he opts for a more laid-back, rootsy sound.
So far, Deer Tick has resonated well with the indie-rock blog world, with a notable recording session available as a free download on daytrotter.com and a segment on NPR. In the next few months, the band plans to relocate to Brooklyn and spend the fall opening for the Felice Brothers' U.S. tour. McCauley also has an arsenal of songs ready to record.
"We're looking to capture our live set in a way," he says of the act's next record. "I kept a lot of things very simple on ["War Elephants"], but it's missing some of the energy. I've got a lot of recordings I want to get out of the way."