Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
John McCauley III has a mustache, just above a mouth that holds a couple twinkling gold teeth -- that is almost always just a little bit too long, to the point where the blondish whiskers begin a coarse curl inward, poking into that upper lip of his and getting in the way of anything brought to the mouth on a fork or spoon or by cup. Bottles are unaffected so that's a point of no concern as the beer goes down smooth without any napkins needed for clean up. The whiskey swigs can be consumed with the same amount of ease and very little residue. It only leads to more of that sort of thing -- this lack of complication.
It's an enabling of the kind of imbibing that goes on to fill the nights and sometimes the days so that the most painful tribulations can be suitably numbed into vagary or non-memory, whichever it chooses to get reset to when the chips and drinks are slammed down on the wood. It's a choice to always go down the disintegrating and disheartening road of ruin, where broken hearts attract other wounded characters and start buying each other drinks, impressed with the other's capacity for hurt and for the old souls that they've all come to tell of or get their bleeding insides across in other ways.
McCauley is most definitely one of the finest writers of these battered and beaten ballads working today. He writes songs that are brutally specific and filled with such moving soliloquies and jagged lines of true sadness or immovable sorrow that's come from the mismatching of two innocent hearts. The hearts are never innocent in the sense that they've never done wrong, never made another take a cold and rocky plunge off a pier, but always in the sense that THIS time - this particular time - they weren't going to do that. They were being good. They wanted better and they had no intention of letting the present follow the past like all those times before. Maybe misery's just finding ways to keep amused. It could be, but we'd prefer to believe in something more uplifting. It's what we tell ourselves, even when the lonesomeness pores us such lovely drinks.
Deer Tick Official Site