Monday, February 6, 2012

Deer Tick: To The City Of Sin! (2008)


In autumn of 2007 I was given a copy of “War Elephant”, the debut record of Providence, Rhode Island rockers Deer Tick. Once I popped it into the player I couldn’t take it out. I spun that disc non-stop across America, driving from Saratoga Springs, NY to San Francisco, CA with its melodies guiding me through. It spoke to me as a refreshingly traditional collection of music, a product of the 21st century, for sure, but very much rooted in the country, blues, and grunge of decades past. I e-mailed the lead singer and songwriter of the band, John McCauley, and thanked him for the quality music. He was kind and gracious and that was that. But I just couldn’t get the damn songs out of my head and one morning I woke up with visions of a film in my mind. I was humming their track “Little White Lies” and imagining following them over rolling hills and through dingy, dark bars. I knew these visions wouldn’t go away until I asked John McCauley if he wouldn’t mind me touring around with them for a few months. They wouldn’t stop until I made myself a movie. Nine months and $3,500 later....I did just that.

Deer Tick: To The City of Sin! was my first film. It was my thesis project for a bachelors in Cinema Studies and Film Production and also the greatest adventure I had ever been on up to that point. I look back on the whole process, four years later, and realize that I was pretty much the luckiest S.O.B. in the world. All the pieces fell into place. I got all my equipment for free, I was able to get the time off from school and book crew members in various locations to help, I had my partner/co-producer/girlfriend (independent film crews wear many hats) on the road with me and I was following one of America's fastest rising and most bad-ass rock'n'roll bands! It was an indescribably magical time in my life and hopefully the film captures some of that.

My executive producers, Mary Arbuckle and Allan Nichols, went above and beyond their roles. They spent hours with me talking about every facet of the production and I will never have such amazing mentors again. The film was tremendously well-received in it's initial release. It's premier was attended by Rhode Island's own Bobby Farrely, writer and director of There's Something About Mary, who went on to use Deer Tick as a substantial contributor to the Hall Pass soundtrack. The film was an official selection in the Green Mountain, Lake Placid, and Vermont International Film Festivals. At VIFF, I was awarded the James Goldstone Emerging Filmmaker Award for my directorial debut. It was a pretty wild ride.

Deer Tick has since gone on to release another three critically acclaimed albums and tour extensively all over the world. They have gone through some personnel changes and relocated their home base but this is where they came from, my film shows the beginning of their journey. No one else will ever get to capture them at the point at which I did and thats pretty special to me. Now I can share it with you. For anyone who is already a fan of Deer Tick, you're in for a real treat. You'll get to be on the road, in the motels and greenrooms, and most importantly On Stage with them for about an hour and ten minutes. Anyone who hasn't yet heard their music... oh man. I'm even more excited for you because you're about to become a fan.


  1. amazing. this is so brilliant. well done, friend.

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  3. Is there any way to get this in a hard copy? The video seems to have disappeared from YouTube.

  4. I have the same inquiry as William. Are there any other means to view this documentary?

  5. Where can I watch this? It's not available anywhere.