The Past, Present, and Future (?) of Diamond Rugs

“It’s just a rock show.  Bring your drinking shoes!”  Hardy Morris, best known as a founding member of alt. country psych rockers Dead Confederate, is telling me what to...

“It’s just a rock show.  Bring your drinking shoes!”  Hardy Morris, best known as a founding member of alt. country psych rockers Dead Confederate, is telling me what to expect when his Diamond Rugs kick off their upcoming tour at the hyper-intimate – and even more divey – Ortlieb’s Lounge next Thursday, March 26th.  Diamond Rugs is a “supergroup” of sorts that refuse to be characterized as a “supergroup,” comprised of John McCauley and Robbie Crowell of Deer Tick; Ian Saint Pé, formerly of Black Lips; Steve Berlin of Los Lobos; Bryan Dufresne of Six Finger Satellite; and Morris.  According to Morris, the band came together somewhat haphazardly in 2011 but, in light of the success of their 2012 debut, they have decided to consider pursuing the project to a further degree: “As a project it had no rules.  John and Robbie from Deer Tick had some studio time and invited some friends to come in, myself included, but it wasn’t a band or even an idea of a band at that time, but once we made the first record a band was sort of formed.”  When I inquire about the highlights of Diamond Rugs’ time as a “band,” Morris tells me that it was likely when they got a chance to play Letterman, in support of the first album: “Playing on David Letterman was really cool.  I mean, in a year to go from a band not even existing to playing David Letterman was pretty amazing.”

Last month Diamond Rugs released their second full-length, Cosmetics, which, in the latest print issue of High Voltage Magazine (on newsstands now), I proclaim, “Has an attitude as punk as they come, but also a prominent horn section and definitive proof that… John McCauley is this generation’s ultimate indie showman and poster-child of beautifully orchestrated teenage rebellion… It’s quite sad none of this was recorded in time for inclusion in Dazed and Confused.”  In our recent chat, Hardy Morris bluntly states, “If you get the band, you get the record.”  While the album does ring of the Americana backgrounds of many of the band’s members, it is as punchy, brash, and sing-along-able as the genre has ever sounded, with the group embracing their penchant for garage rock and protopunk.  “Thunk,” arguable the record’s strongest track, is reminiscent of early-mid ‘70s Alice Cooper singles, which somehow merge Southern Rock riffs with a glam aesthetic seamlessly.  And while there are no definitive plans for more material in the works, when I ask Morris about the future of Diamond Rugs, he does imply that there’s a good chance this album and accompanying live dates are not necessarily the last you can expect of the band: “There are no plans to record right now but, like I said, we never intended to be a band in the first place, so it just as easily could happen as it couldn’t.”


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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.