Although they stayed away for most of the last decade, Miami alt-country act the Mavericks — founded by the incomparable, silver-throated singer Raul Malo, bassist Robert Reynolds and drummer Paul Deakin — have been carriers of the Tex-Mex stomp-rock torch for 25 years. Last year, they celebrated their reunion with the release of "In Time" and a cross-country tour, and now, in 2014, they've found their stride, performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and all over North America.
The Mavericks will perform at the Calvin Theater in Northampton on Thursday, May 8. We asked drummer Paul Deakin how it all feels, 25 years later and counting.
CTNow: You've been on tour for about two and a half months so far. What have been some of the highlights so far? How was JazzFest?
Paul Deakin: I would have to say one of the biggest highlights about the tour this year is the growing number of people coming to see us play. I was personally a little concerned that last year would be the year everyone would come, since we have been gone for so long, and then it would die down a little. But the numbers of gone up by about 100 percent in some places, which is very motivating. About 80 percent of all the shows have been sold out and those that are not are at about that same percentage seating-wise. That's kind of a business answer to your question, but it relates. When you're doing those numbers and people are buying the tickets, they are generally very excited about seeing the show, and therefore the energy that we put out comes back to us. Yes, Jazz Fest was probably one of the biggest highlights of the tour thus far, not just because of what that festival is, which is very special in itself, but also that we were opening for Robert Plant and he watched the whole show. Afterward, he walked up to [bassist] Robert [Reynolds] and me said "I loved your latest record, you guys are such a great band." My feet haven't touch the ground since.
CTNow: 25 years later: what's the biggest differences (besides age) you've noticed in some of the audiences who are coming out to see you?
PD: It obviously depends on where we are in the world. One thing is that we are playing a lot of markets we never played and doing quite good numbers. That's very rewarding. I guess it is age-related but, we are also getting a lot of younger folks coming out to the shows that heard us from their parents playing our records. I like that, because it's where most all of us got our first education in music. It's why we listen to a lot of the old classics. I don't like to think of myself as an old classic though. Whether I am or not, I still feel a little too young for that.
CTNow: Your most recent album, "In Time," has that same energy, that stomp and swagger, people have come to expect, especially on tracks like "Lies" and "Come Unto Me." How fun is it to play the new stuff? How do those songs fit in with Mavericks classics?
PD: Thank you for that. Yes, it is very fun playing this record live. It was also a lot of fun making this record. One of the most creative experiences I've ever had in a studio. We did have a lot of time off and we're very fresh and eager to make music together again. I believe that's what's carried on these past couple of years in the live shows. And we still enjoy playing the classics. I think when you mix them in you enjoy them as you have the new songs that go along with them. That way you're not just a cover band of your old hits.
CTNow: Assuming you have time, what's the first thing you like to do when you roll into a new town?
PD: [Keyboardist] Jerry Dale [McFadden] likes to hit art galleries and old bookstores. Robert would hit thrift and antique stores, as I would as well. Everyone likes to eat breakfast, so we look for that special restaurant. I also like bringing my family things from different parts of the world that otherwise they would not be able to have. I like bringing home gifts.
CTNow: What do you listen to when you're on the road? The most recent album you've purchased? Reading any good books?
PD: My wife got me a turntable for my last birthday so lately it's been all vinyl. Some of the latest records that I've been listening to are not necessarily new records: Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue," Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde." Some more current records are JD McPherson's "Signs and Signifiers" and pretty much anything by the Black Keys. I absolutely love that band. As for books, the Salinger biography by David Shields, Charles Bukowski's "Women," "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying," and Dave Eggers' "What is the What." That's what is on my nightstand and in my backpack at the moment. I usually rely on Jerry Dale to let me know of a good new book or author. He's the most prolific reader in the band.