Comprising a half dozen notable rockers we’re certain need no introduction, Diamond Rugs could rightfully be labeled an honest-to-goodness super group. Powered by John McCauley (Deer Tick), Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick), Ian Saint Pé (The Black Lips), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate) and Bryan Dufresne (Six Finger Satellite) — and named for “the idea of coming up something glorious off the floor,” the motley sextet, with some reckless abandon, have released their eponymous debut to rapt critical acclaim.

Days after announcing their first-ever tour (kicking off October 27th at New York’s Carnegie Hall), John McCauley describes how his new, tightly-knit band makes songs as glorious as, say, Margaritaville, but of course, “not in the Jimmy Buffett kind of way.”

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What common denominator brought you all together to form Diamond Rugs?
That would be rock n roll; or me trying my best to wrangle some fun dudes to make a record with. Originally it was going to be Bryan, Ian and myself doing some fun stuff on the side. We were going to make a record under the name Stoner Drama and write a few silly songs about what stoner roommates might argue about. I met Steve at a Los Lobos gig and told him about it and he wanted in, which surprised the shit out of me. At that point it got a little more serious and I reached out to Hardy and Robbie to see if they’d want to come record with us. It all fell into place pretty effortlessly. It was never supposed to be my solo album or anything; maybe it’s our press release, but a lot of people seem to be under the impression that it was.

What inspired the band name anyway?
That was all Ian. I guess it’s the idea of coming up something glorious off the floor. It’s also fun to abbreviate as “D.Rugs” and tell people it means “Dad, I Am On Drugs” or “Dave, I Am On Drugs,” or whatever.

What are you setting out to do with this band that’s different from what you do in your respective ‘other bands?’
I think we all just kind of bring our own flavor to it, so the elements of each band come together to make something that sounds both familiar and fresh. It doesn’t sound like Deer Tick, The Black Lips, Dead Confederate, or Los Lobos, and Bryan isn’t playing the drums like how he played in Six Finger Satellite, but it does sound like you put us all in a blender and added a bit of, “Man, we’re on vacation” reckless abandon. We’d probably sound much different if even one of us wasn’t there. I don’t like to think about what that would sound like; I just take it for what it is which is solid rock n roll that isn’t too familiar and it doesn’t get boring. It’s familiar enough to draw you in then have you start thinking, “Damn, this is pretty cool”.

You’ve been touted as a ‘super group’ because you all come from some pretty established, respected bands. Does that experience and know-how make a difference when you enter the studio and take the stage?
Man, we can still come off as pretty damn unrehearsed and unprofessional. The studio experience was easy; it was very magical. We’re used to being on stage all the fucking time, but not with each other. Once we get in the swing of things though, the Rugs are a force to be reckoned with!

What was your writing process for the record?
I wrote a lot of my songs about 20 or 30 minutes before we recorded them. My stuff was mostly off the cuff. Hardy and Ian came in with some better thought out songs or pieces of songs. The production knowledge that Steve and Robbie share, plus the skills of our producers Adam Landry and Justin Collins, put some really great finishing touches on all the songs.

These songs all feel very easy, like they all came together super organically and quickly. Is that the case?
Absolutely. At first we freaked out like, ‘We have 10 days to make a record and we’ve never played together before…What the fuck!?’ But those feelings were completely gone by day 2.

Was there a theme or ‘vision’ in mind for this record, or was it more about sitting down in a studio together to see what would come out?
No vision…unless it was double vision, if you catch my drift.

Will you share a funny anecdote from the studio? We feel like there must have been some goofy shenanigans at one point or another.
Everything that comes out of Ian’s mouth is pure gold; everything that guy said was a funny anecdote. Aside from a couple of crippling hangovers, we didn’t really get too wild. We weren’t being boring professionals but we weren’t the rock ‘n’ roll maniacs that a lot of people probably thought we were.

If you had to review your album in just one sentence, what would you say about it?
Diamond Rugs goes great with warm weather and cold beer, but not in the Jimmy Buffett kind of way.

What are the standout tracks in your mind – and why?
Country Mile
and Blue Mountains. Country Mile is just epic, and Blue Mountains is one of the catchiest fucking songs ever! I’d like to think because of my bass playing on the track, but really it was all Ian.

What’s come out of this union you perhaps didn’t see coming?
We weren’t the best of friends when this started, and now we’re all crazy about each other. This band built some really great lifelong friendships essentially out of acquaintances. In ten days, I felt the same bond with everybody that I feel with the Deer Tick guys, and I’ve been in Deer Tick for almost a decade.

Inspired by your song, Gimme A Beer, I’d like to know, what kind do you ask for?
Nothing special…I always ask for Budweiser. I can’t stand other beers.

Peanuts or pretzels with that?
How about peanut butter stuffed pretzels? Those are badass.

You’ve recently announced your first tour. What can we expect from Diamond Rugs live?
I don’t know…we haven’t started rehearsals yet!

Tour bus or van?
Van. I know that me and Ian hate buses for the same reason: You have to leave town after the show and don’t have enough time in each city to cause trouble! I think we’re doing the van on this run just to be economical.

Back to shenanigans: What kind do you expect while you’re out on the road?
I’m expecting every possible shenanigan. Shenanigan-wise, this is a pretty unstoppable group. I just hope nobody gets arrested. It would be a shame if we missed a show cause one of us was in jail. We’re only playing 7 or something like that. That would be bad.

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Diamond Rugs are in fact playing exactly 7 U.S. shows in support of their self-titled debut LP on Partisan.

Watch their brand new video for Blue Mountains now.

Win a pair of tickets to see them live in Birmingham, Alabama (on October 31st) in a forthcoming giveaway on Talk Rock To Me. Follow us, like us, and definitely, stay tuned.

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Diamond Rugs Tour Dates
Oct-27 New York, NY – Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall
Oct-28 Durham, NC – The Pinhook
Oct-29 Nashville, TN – Zombieshop
Oct-30 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
Oct-31 Birmingham, AL – WorkPlay Theatre
Nov-01 New Orleans, LA – Tulane University
Nov-03 Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Festival

 

 

pixel Diamond Rugs: Give em a beer...and peanut butter pretzels