John McCauley had just playfully burned through the famous licks of "Sweet Child o' Mine" and seemed eager to launch into Deer Tick's set before a teeming audience at Death By Audio last night, when he realized that there was business to attend to. "You should be able to hold up a sign that says 'Capitalism Sucks' and not have the sh*t kicked out of you by the police." He was referring to the allegations of police brutality incurred by the Occupy Wall Street protestors, which were the impetus for the free show. "I know those guys don't really have a clear message or anything, but they shouldn't be beaten up either."
"We live in different cities now, but when we saw what was happening here all of us wanted to play a gig. It was totally a collective decision," bassist Chris Ryan told us. If McCauley was less about supporting the protest and more about condemning the NYPD, Ryan wasn't convinced that the protests needed to have a finite goal to succeed. "It's easy for five people to get in a room and come out with the same mindset," Ryan said, brushing fried pickle dust off his hands. "We're talking about thousands of people attacking complicated problems. They're not always going to stay on message."
Deer Tick's two-hour set featured lots of covers (including a blistering rendition of Nirvana's "On A Plain," and tasty run through Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy!") in addition to their beer-slugging fare ("Spend the Night," "Let's All Go To the Bar"). McCauley also played what he deemed a "Christmas Song," part of a project for a new band, Diamond Rugs (reportedly with members of the Black Lips). "It stands for 'Damn I Am On Drugs,'" McCauley said with a shrug.
Meanwhile, Steve Albini's band Shellac was playing at the Bell House, and the famous producer also had Occupy Wall Street on the brain. According to the intrepid editor who was there, Albini reportedly said:
I support the Occupy Wall Street protesters. [Being there for a long period of time] I think that shows a lot of commitment, and that by itself is validating the intentions of the people doing it. So, anybody says that there are ulterior motives at work, blah blah blah, that's the same sort of right wing rationalization you hear whenever anybody wants to do anything good.