fool of rock
Here’s a recipe for Canadian multi-instrumentalist Mac DeMarco:
1) Mix one part John Lennon with one part Beach Boys, slowly mixing in a heaping tablespoon of David Bowie and Steely Dan.
2) While listening to folk music off the soundtrack from the 2013 Coen brothers’ film “Inside Llewyn Davis,” stir in a packet of organic, ethically-sourced honey given to you by your stoner friend, Travis.
3) Bake for a couple decades or so using only the warmth of California sunshine and Viceroy cigarette smoke, and finally, once you’re done tie-dyeing your socks,
4) Let cool and serve chilled.
And there you have it. You’re ready to sing like 25-year-old Mac DeMarco, Pitchfork Media’s red-headed, gap-toothed “Best New Artist” of both 2012 and 2014. Shaggy-haired and bearing a striking resemblance to Mad magazine’s coverboy Alfred E. Neuman, the songster was also a shortlisted nominee for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize, an award granted annually to the best full-length Canadian album on the basis of “artistic merit, regardless of genre, sales, or record label.”
Although he didn’t win it, the alternative award seems fitting for DeMarco, a British Columbia–born, Alberta-raised musician who, in advance of the release for his most recent 2015 instrumental album “Some Other Ones,” hosted a public BBQ listening party at 153 Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn. In a nondescript backyard, DeMarco tossed out hand-grilled hot dogs to fans on the condition that they donate to a local food bank.
Born Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV, the goofy singer is named after his great-grandfather and former Canadian Minister of Railways and Telephones (really), and he’s been playing in bands ever since high school. Some former act names include The Meat Cleavers, The Sound of Love, and Outdoor Miners.
After self-releasing 500 copies of his album “Heat Wave” in 2009 under the name Makeout Videotape, Demarco moved operations to Montréal where, after failing to breakout out as a solo artist, he resorted to participating in medical experiments for money and paving roads with a construction firm. On the road, he earned himself the title “little bitch” from his co-workers because of his low muscle mass.
However, just when all seemed for naught, DeMarco’s 2012 EP “Rock and Roll Night Club” caught the attention of independent, Brooklyn-based label Captured Tracks, which signed on for a full-length album. That collection came out later the same year under the title “2.”
In 2013, DeMarco released “Live & Acoustic Vol. 1” a live album recorded at the Converse Rubber Tracks studio, also in Brooklyn. At the end of his track “Eating Like a Kid,” DeMarco playfully apologizes to the crowd, saying “I’m sorry to all the party people for slowing down the vibe, making it all relaxed … I’ll drink any one of you motherf*ckers under the table after I’m done, mkay?”
DeMarco’s 2014 album “Salad Days” kept on with the same psychedelic, slacker-rock vibes of first two albums, and it went on to become Canada’s second most played album of 2014.
DeMarco kept it coming when 2015 rolled around, releasing a summer album titled “Another One,” which debuted at the top of Billboard’s Rock chart and snagged the 25th slot on the Billboard 200. A slowed-down, upbeat project, DeMarco’s fourth studio album calls to mind the Beatles’ 1965 album “Rubber Soul,” famous for its lilting vocals and sitar-soaked background notes.
Hailed as a lovable jackass and a bohemian scumbag, Mac DeMarco is the guy who always makes the middle cup on the first try in beer pong. He’s the guy who wakes up with a half-eaten slice of Domino’s in his hoodie and offers to share it with you. He’s your awful best friend who always needs a ride, but who you never leave behind because he’s the hungover goofball you need to brighten your Tuesday morning.