Mac Demented


The Canadian poster-boy for slacker delinquents, Mac DeMarco has garnered a reputation for putting on some of the most raucous live shows around. One of the biggest hitters at this year’s South By Southwest, he’s set to take next week’s Great Escape festival by storm. From his bizarre DIY videos to his lascivious debut ‘Rock And Roll Night Club’ and it’s follow-up ‘2’, DeMarco is master of Jonathan Richman-like calypso-soaked riffage. But what terrible skeletons lurk in his closet? From transvestites shooting heroin to naked U2 covers, he tells us  about some of the strange and terrible experiences have made Mac DeMarco the man he is today…


“My first memories of going to bars are from when I was 16 and had a fake ID.  I went to one with my friend Jeremy, who’s a bit older, and there was this famous Canadian transvestite there. Her legal name is Lexi Tronic Supersonic. She even has cheques with that name on. There was a photographer there, and she had this band on and was doing heroin in the club while he took pictures. Jeremy went up to her, trying to feel if she had a cock or a pussy.  That was pretty fucked up to see that at that age.”

JERKIN’ OFF AT THE VET’Skevinegperry-macdemarco

“The first job I had was at a vet’s when I was 14. It sucked. I’d sweep the floors. I’d walk the dogs, but they were all fucking sick with diarrhoea. They’d be all feeble and bummed out. I didn’t have to put them down, but afterwards they’d just leave them out, chilling. It was sketchy. I jacked off a lot, in the kennel bathrooms. I got bladder infections. It was filthy in that kennel. Touching sick animals then jacking off has got to be bad. I was working in a medical setting, so it really should have crossed my mind.”


“One night in Montreal before a show I got so fucking drunk I loaded my iPod with backing tracks I could sing over, including one specific U2 track. I wasn’t even supposed to be playing. I went onstage, and then… I don’t even know what happened.  People were taking off my pants, someone was pouring beer on me, I was screaming and then I turned around and shoved two drumsticks up my ass, right at the crescendo of ‘Beautiful Day’, when the vocals were really soaring. This kid videoed it and it got on YouTube. My aunt sees the video, and my mom, and my grandma too for that matter, my whole family. It was right around the time of that zombie bath salts thing, so they thought I was smoking bath salts or meth or something. So that’s what the song ‘Freaking Out The Neighbourhood’ is about.”


“I was playing a rock’n’roll show at a house party. This girl I knew who’d become a stripper was there. While I was playing she kept coming up to me and grabbing me and hitting her head against mine. She swung at me and I fell back on the bass drum. She sat on me while I was lying on the drum and I had my guitar on top of me, digging into me. I was going: ‘Argh!’ but she was like: ‘Yeaahh!’, grinding her ass on me.  It was fucked up.  Eventually I got up and everyone said: ‘Don’t punch him!’, so she turned around and punched my friend Chris in the face instead.”


“When we tour in America we do it by car. I don’t know why we did this, because there were definitely places to stop, but when we first did it for some reason we were infatuated with pissing in jugs. I took a shit in a Cheetos bag at one point.  We’d make these little tents in the corners of the car and then jack off. Looking back it’s like: ‘Why the fuck did we do those things? It’s disgusting!’ But you know… we were 18-year-olds on tour, really living it up.”


“I signed up for community work in Vancouver. They normally put you downtown to teach homeless people how to use the internet. I really needed the money. Instead they put me in a high school where half the kids were my age. I was Mr DeMarco. Then they put me in a community centre. I taught these old Vietnamese couples how to plug their computers in. They were totally chill. All they wanted was to search for pictures of the Yangtze, because that’s where they all went on honeymoon. Then they’d be like: ‘I don’t need to look at this thing anymore.’”


“‘Ode To Viceroy’ is about a brand of cigarettes. I like them because they’re cheap. People wave them at me at shows now. The thing is, Viceroy is owned by British American Tobacco. It’s a giant company and I think they’re like: ‘Okay, this is the shittiest tobacco that we can’t put in any other cigarettes so we’re going to put it in Viceroy’. It used to be a big cigarette in the States. Steve McQueen used to endorse them. I think it was a nicer smoke in the Fifties and Sixties, but now it’s just the cheapest cigarette you can get.”

Originally published in NME, 18 May 2013.