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For Bloodsuckers, Deer Tick is Surprisingly Generous

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Updated: Thursday, May 3, 2012 12:05

Deer Tick

Courtesy of Big Hassle

Deer Tick

Deer Tick is known for its rambunctious music, crazy antics and lively performances. Like most bands these days, they’re either riding a crammed tour bus and playing shows, or working in recording studios on new material.

It’s a vicious cycle but they seem to thrive in it. As mere observers, we can’t complain, but just how does a band keep up such a high energy lifestyle?

“We’re kind of surrounded by alcohol, so that plays a part in it,” guitarist and vocalist Ian O’Neil said. “It’s easier to deal with being away all the time if you are actually having fun every night, which we do. We get to play music and essentially have our own party every night onstage.”

Deer Tick is the kind of band that you want to buy a drink for just to thank them for the show. Something about them makes you want to share in their joy and toast to the night.

“We don’t like to keep too much of a barrier between us [and the fans],” O’Neil said. “We have a great job.”

The band is currently promoting Divine Providence, which was released last year, and their EP Tim.

Interestingly enough, the band members aren’t shy when it comes to exploring other bands. Singer John McCauley’s side band, Diamond Rugs, recently released its first album, and O’Neil is working on a side project, Dirt Naps, with Deer Tick drummer Dennis Ryan.

O’Neil said the band plans to build a recording studio themselves in Providence when they have more down time.

Luckily, Deer Tick isn’t going anywhere just yet. They are just too creative for their own good.

“We’re on tour together so often and we put out records pretty frequently,” O’Neil said. “It doesn’t feel weird and no one feels neglected if people go off and do other stuff. We all have a lot of output, and we can’t put out two Deer Tick records a year. It would be too much.”

Divine Providence proves just how well they work together, as the band collaborated more than they ever had before. The band wrote a couple of the songs together, a process which O’Neil said has been in the making for some time now.

“There’s natural collaboration because nobody’s, like, here’s a part you have to play,” he said.

Tim contains four songs from the Divine Providence recordings, showing that their session was a massive success.

“We had two really good producers that got a lot of good stuff out of us without letting us go,” O’Neil said. “We focused a lot on performance.”
For a band that plays as tight and confident as Deer Tick, it is surprising to know that each band member lives in a different city.

McCauley lives in Nashville, O'Neil lives in New York, Ryan lives in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, bassist Christopher Dale Ryan lives in Philadelphia, and keyboardist Rob Crowell lives in Nova Scotia.

Despite being spread out, O’Neil said they still see each other frequently.

“The most time I’ll go without seeing them is two weeks,” he said.

While they might be scattered, the band is constantly referred to as a Rhode Island band. A state somewhat shrouded in mystery, O’Neil said it’s nothing short of lovely.

“Everybody except for our keyboard player Robbie has lived there permanently,” he said. “It’s great. It’s a wonderful place, honestly. Some of our friends have small businesses there. It’s a good community. Everyone there is really warm and welcoming to us.”

As for their latest weirdly awesome move, Deer Tick is currently selling campaign yard signs that read, “Deer Tick 2012” in red, white and blue. A sarcastic gesture in an election year, O’Neil assured the band is definitely not political.

“We’re not interested in the change of bureaucracy people have to deal with when they want to elect someone,” he said. “We would rather be a part of benefits to help people on a more immediate basis. Bands make a lot more money than they live off of. They should try to play some shows where they don’t make any and help somebody else out too.”
An oddly selfless band, Deer Tick is never quite what you expect them to be.

Deer Tick w/Turbo Fruits, Crescent Ballroom, May 3, 8:30 p.m., $13 - $16

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