Deer tick 1 |di(ə)r| |tɪk|
a cringe-worthy parasitic arachnid that feeds on the blood of its host victims
Deer Tick 2 |di(ə)r| |tɪk|
The alternative folk band headed by John McCauley III
For McCauley and his country-inspired, alternative-based and indie-sounding folk band, it all started in the summer of 2005 with a hiking trip and an unlucky encounter with a potentially lime disease-carrying creepy-crawly, commonly known as the deer tick. Even though discovering a tick firmly secured to the back of his head was quite terrifying, McCauley found inspiration in the experience and named his band after the bloodsucker.
Six months earlier, McCauley was simply a singing-songwriting hopeful. Only 19 years old and still living in his hometown Providence, Rhode Island, McCauley spent his days blissfully enraptured in the soulful sounds of Hank Williams and strumming along to the beats of his drummer best friend, Paul Thomas Marandola.
This all changed with Brendan “Viking Moses” Massei came onto the scene. Like his name suggests, 18 year-old Massei lead McCauley out of R.I. in order to claim his piece of the music world. Enticed by the opportunity to tour the country, McCauley unquestioningly took Massei up on his offer and hit the road, leaving Providence in his dust.
That summer, McCauley had his ill-fated encounter with nature in Indian’s Morgan-Monroe State Forest. That, in addition to a little guidance from Massei, some tour experience under his belt, a few songs in the work and a name that isn’t easy to forget, a band was born.
After the tour, McCauley returned to Rhode Island to add some fresh blood to his musical mix in the form of Rhode Island local, drummer Dennis Michael Ryan, and his half-brother, Christopher Dale Ryan, on bass. With these two new additions McCauley was finally able to fully sink his teeth into the world of recorded artists with his first full album release, War Elephant, in early September 2007.
Though presented as an alternative country album, War Elephant is incontestably more in line with the style of indie bands like The Shins and Modest Mouse. Dear Tick kicked off the album with “Ashamed” and “Standing at the Threshold, ” two songs that are a tribute to youthful song-writing talent and the band’s chemistry.
With a enchanting openness, McCauley vows, “I can’t play around with you no more. No, I’m seeing this open door” on “Baltimore Blues, No. 1,” a vocal ballad that essentially fuses Van Morrison-esque lyrics and a Neil Young-y artistic style.
On “Art Isn’t Real (City of Sun)” McCauley sings, “Maybe I’ll see better days, but I’m not so sure I will.” With shocking honest lyrics and a scruffy voice, McCauley won his audience over in rave fashion. The song, however, proved to be quite prophetic, as the following year turned out to be quite a rollercoaster of success for McCauley and his troop.
In months following their album’s release, the guitar-drums-bass trio planned an ambitious tour with The Castanets. Due to unforeseen popularity and a shortage of records, their stockpile of War Elephant albums sold out only a few months later. When FEOW! Records refused to step up to re-release their album, Partisan Records stepped in to save the band that was on the brink of financial and moral disaster.
Then, devotedly faithful to Partisan Records, Deer Tick returned from their tour and set to work on their new album, Born on Flag Day, a three-fold shout-out to McCauley’s birthday — June 14, which happens to be Flag Day in the U.S. unbeknownst to most people — Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A and the angst-ridden Tom Cruise film, Born on the Fourth of July.
Born on Flag Day is the perfect representation of the band. It sounds exactly how it’s supposed to: A bunch of guys just making music for the fun of it. “Easy” is pure and simple with hints of different instruments but no noxious, excessive sounds to distract from the gravely, naturally emotionally vocals. And “Houston, TX” is a soulful hometown melody that is pure and simple, and a brilliant combination of their folk and indie influences.
Following up on their last two big album hits, the band is set to release their much anticipated third album, The Black Dirt Sessions, June 8 with Partisan Records.
This Sunday, May 9 the band will take the stage at Castaways downtown. The band that was created from the blood, sweat and tears of front man John McCauley will be showcasing songs from their latest albums as well as some impromptu cover songs in typical Deer Tick fashion. Opening the show for Deer Tick will be the local band, Caution Childen. It’s promised to be a great night from start to finish.
Original Author: Heather McAdams