Deer Tick’s forthcoming fifth album, Negativity (out September 24th), was recorded during a strange point in the band’s career. After years of cultivating a reputation as the hardest-partying batch of country-rockers this side of Waylon Jennings, frontman John McCauley got clean — and watched as some of his friends stayed mired in a lifestyle that had threatened to overwhelm him. And that’s just the first thing that comes up in the band’s conversation with Matt on the latest episode of The Hivecast with Matt Pinfield.
It’s not all super serious and heavy, though, as Matt and the band walk through the new album track-by-track — and take a spin through one of the weirder detours in the band’s career. Namely, their occasional side-gig as a Nirvana cover band (Deervana, naturally).
“We originally did that for a friend’s birthday party,” McCauley says. Guitarist Ian O’Neil elaborates: “Our label and management were there at the time. Our friend was like, ‘Hey, will you do Nirvana covers for my birthday party? And we were like, ‘Hell yeah, that sounds like a great night in Providence. And then it just kind of spiraled out of control.”
The band continued the Deervana side project on and off after that — and McCauley has a favorite memory of plugging in to play Nirvana songs. “We thought it’d be really funny to do it at SXSW,” he says. “It goes completely against the idea of SXSW. An already established band doing a tribute set as their official showcase? That’s not what you do at Southby.”
But then, Deer Tick is a band that’s always gotten off on giving the finger to the expectations of anybody who’d try to put them in a box. For more about that –- as well as an intimate tour through Negativity –- be sure to check out the rest of the Hivecast. [Download & subscribe to the Hivecast via iTunes.]