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Text by John Norris @jonnynono
"America is not just NASCAR and strip malls and Home Dept and the military," Dan Deacon tells me on this week's edition of Face Time, "it's also living in opposition to that, which is DIY and living as far off the fringe as possible, and either trying to bring back an amazing amount of socialism or just living completely off the grid." And that is the vision for America contained in America, Deacon's sprawling, ambitious latest album that merges the manic punk rush of earlier records, the tribal ebullience of Bromst, a growing taste for acoustics and orchestral music (violin, bassoon, player piano and many more instruments appear) and an abiding interest in messages of social and political import.
In fact, as he admits in our conversation, shot at New York's High Line park only a day after Deacon played an outdoor show at Pier 84--a venue incongruously adjacent to that old retired war machine, the USS Intrepid--Dan's greatest challenge these days is making his famously celebratory, smile-inducing live shows NOT just pure escapism; to inspire some sense of the importance of caring and of activism without killing the party. We also talk about protest music, and why it fell, so out of pop favour over the decades -- Deacon's convinced the government and media had a hand in it.
Naturally, with the election only two months away, we talk the presidential race, a choice which Deacon likens to an STD test--we'll let him explain--and while he does hope Obama wins, he hopes that "this time we get the Obama on the HOPE poster".
A man who pulls few punches, who's got a thrilling and inspiring sense of musical adventure, a superb new record, and who very much cares about a place called America. He's also one of our greatest, most thought-provoking interviews of the year. This week on Face Time, it's Dan Deacon.