Deer Tick – Born on Flag Day

deertick - faded impossible city Upon first listen, the men that form Deer Tick sound as if they have been hitting the road, playing clubs, and living hard for years now. The rock-kickin gravel-tinged vocals and swirling delta blues-y guitars lend to the band a certain kind of road-weariness one would associate with a hard drinking, 2 pack a day smoking, group of guys that have been living it rough and rugged for years. Then you delve a little deeper and find out that these men…are nearly boys; no one in the outfit is older than 23 years old. Do not let that dissuade your opinion on their hard-livin validity, these guys are for real and their twangadelic sound is IT for 2009!

A rock to country to blues over to grunge and a straight through to an overall cosmic experience, Deer Tick began in December of 2004 in the bedroom of Providence, RI native, John McCauley. Armed with a tape recorder and a nylon string guitar, he took his new love of music and did what most anybody would do; he made tapes for his friends. When McCauley, then 18 years old, got his hands on Hank Williams Sr.’s “Gold” collection and locked himself in his room listening to it on repeat until he finished his bottle of brandy, it all became fairly obvious to him– the music spoke to him and he needed to make more.

A short few months later he was on his first tour. After years of being on the road, constantly working on his distinct howl of a voice, and honing his guitar skills, McCauley had earned himself a following of devoted fans and supporters. Throughout all of this touring and hocking his songs on CD-R, it became apparent that putting out a real album was the natural next step in McCauley’s musical life. McCauley recorded Deer Tick’s debut War Elephant at age 19, performing every instrument on the album. Something of a constant nowadays with the ever-evolving technology. War Elephant was originally released in September of 2007 and was well received by the likes of The New York Times, Brooklyn Vegan, and Spin. As much as McCauley enjoyed the new love his true vision from the start was for Deer Tick to be a real band, and a rotating cast of characters simply wouldn’t suffice anymore.

In April of 2007, just weeks before a national tour, McCauley turned to Dennis Ryan, a hard-hitting young drummer who’s dash at a four-year degree had apparently been cut short by 3 years. The two had played together before and the energy that existed between them seemed right. Even before McCauley could finish the sentence of asking him, Dennis said “Yes!, yes!, yes!” and all was ready to begin.

Dennis Ryan grew up in a neighboring Rhode  Island town: Pawtucket. His dream had always been to become a famous, and perhaps more importantly, “badass” drummer. According to him, Dennis’ epiphany occurred at the curious age of 3, while watching Ronnie Tutt play the drums with Elvis Presley in a re-run of the “Aloha From Hawaii” special.

After the national tour it seemed that it was time for Deer Tick to find a bassist. McCauley had tried to convince Chris Ryan, a bass player in town, to join Deer Tick for quite some time to no avail. That August, Chris Ryan set out on a trip driving his Volkswagon bus from Providence, RI to impossible city favorite Costa Rica and back (though he only made it as far as Guatemala and back). Chris came speeding down Empire Street in downtown Providence, where McCauley was sitting at a table outside enjoying a beer. A swarm of people surrounded the van welcoming Chris and his traveling companions home. Before you knew it McCauley was asking the road weary traveler to join Deer Tick again. The band was completed in August 2008, when Andrew Tobiassen, a funky, young guitarist living in Providence, RI joined up with the band.

Press release:

Born On Flag Day is Deer Tick’s highly anticipated second full-length album and follow-up to the band’s 2007 internationally acclaimed debut, War Elephant (reissued in 2008 by Partisan Records). This release follows two years of extensive touring in sold out clubs across the country and abroad.

Unlike War Elephant, this album features the three new members of Deer Tick that principal songwriter John J. McCauley III recruited to become the band’s current incarnation – Andy Tobiassen, Dennis Ryan and Chris Ryan. Born On Flag Day reflects a natural evolution from a singular vision of one songwriter to something much greater. The album is set for a June 23rd street date on Partisan Records.

The Album IS good; now not Animal Collective or Andrew Bird good–but good. It has some Rock-a-billy, Pyscobilly tones intertwined with the slick indie-alt-country sensibility that most have come to expect from popular “un-popular” music of today.

We first heard of them from Daytrotterback in March of 2008. They have a constant member of all playlists here and we were extremely excited to hear how their new effort would sound; not disappointed at all. A must have for any BBQ or Countryfied Saturday night, Born of Flag Day reeks of Americana; without the Steroids, Hummers, or Fox News.

Here’s their 1st appearance on Daytrotter and their most recent.

Born on Flag Day was released yesterday

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One Response

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