I dialed up McCauley prior to deadline (dude posts his phone number on his Facebook page — crazy). I caught him following a soundcheck at Cat's Cradle in North Carolina, one week into a two-month cross-country tour, and the Westerberg connection was at the top of my inquiry list. Understandably, McCauley was at a loss for words.

"That all came pretty much out of nowhere," McCauley said, followed by a long pause. "Yeah man, it was just . . . awesome. I don't even know how to describe it — it was fucking awesome."

Divine Providence was the first Deer Tick album recorded in Rhode Island, and though McCauley has relocated to Nashville (the band is spread out, with drummer Ryan the only member still residing in PVD), he said the crew will return to Machines With Magnets.

"I'm sure we'll be back, but we also want to try and record in different places, too," he told me.

As for the hellbent vibe on Divine's party-starter "The Bump," the inspiration came 12 ounces at a time. "There was some serous alcohol consumption going on," McCauley said. "We drank thousands of beers in the studio during the recording. That was one of the last songs we recorded, and what you hear is the first take. We pretty much laid it all down in one shot."

AVclub.com has a behind-the-scenes clip of McCauley stopping by High Spirits in University Heights on the way to the studio, toting a 30-rack of Bud while sporting a Dead Kennedys shirt.

"Now let's go make a crappy record," he cracks to the camera.

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DIVINE PAWTUCKET Deer Tick mania at the Met.

Pawtucket was also the site of the kickoff of Deer Tick's Divine Providence tour. There was a surreal moment during the first night, when the band's performance of "Main Street" on The Late Show with David Letterman (taped earlier that day) was projected on a big screen. The guys looked downright dapper in their matching suits (from a friend's wedding last summer), particularly Dennis (best-man sharp with his semi-cropped beard), baby-faced bassist Christopher Ryan (sporting some newfound scruff), and McCauley sporting a cockeyed bow tie. The well-lathered Met fans were all smiles when the band stopped to watch themselves during the show.

The suits were back the following evening (a far cry from the usual cutoff jean shorts and tanktops), with McCauley noting the brutal humidity in the club. "Howzabout a couple of you ladies get up here and take your clothes off, that'll cool me down," he cracked, and then offered a kiss to the first person who delivered him a "double Ketel One and tonic, with a wedge of lime." McCauley was genuinely pleased with the crowd when they took over vocal duties on DT classic "Ashamed."

"Wow, that sounds pretty fuckin' good," McCauley acknowledged, and gave a shoutout to his Women & Infants Hospital birthplace, reminding us of his Rhody roots before a roomful of lighters and beers were raised for "Smith Hill" and "City of Sin." McCauley made mention of his bum ankle, sustained during the recent video shoot for "Main Street."

"It was crazy, a lot of fireworks — like big mortars and all that shit, not the little stuff," McCauley said. "Rob's hair caught on fire, Dennis burned his shirt, and Ian caught a mortar in the leg."

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