Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Mar 1st 2010 11:30AM by Steve McLean
Titus Andronicus' raucous SXSW-closing set last year proves their punk-influenced indie rock truly comes to life on stage in a good time free-for-all. Singer, guitarist and harmonica player Patrick Stickles describes the band for Spinner and does his best to convey the importance of naps.
Describe your sound in your own words.
How did your band form?
Our band formed in the same way that a million have before. People figure out early in their teenage years that they are probably never going to be the star high-school quarterback and learn to play the guitar instead, or the drum set, or whatever. Couple these leanings with the inherent human desire to spend time with other like-minded people, and the next thing you know, you and your buddies are playing G, C and D over and over again.
What are your musical influences?
If you believe our MySpace page, then our musical influences are the Television Personalities, Galaxie 500, Big Country, Neutral Milk Hotel, Weezer, and so on. If you believe what you read in the papers, then our influences are Bruce Springsteen and Bright Eyes and nothing else. The choice is yours.
How did you come up with your band name?
We didn't come up with it. It was already the name of a Shakespearean tragedy written in the early 1590s when we started using it. As far as I know, Shakespeare never revealed how he came up with it, whether it was his own invention or something borrowed, but he was doubtless compelled, like we are, by its very pleasing combination of sounds, the way it rolls off the tongue and is rich with assonance. I think that is the right term anyway -- it has been a long time.
What's your biggest vice?
Right now, sleeping.
What's in your festival survival kit?
Plenty of water to drink -- mustn't get dehydrated. Probably some sun screen. Practical shoes. Knowledge of a good place to take an afternoon nap. Most importantly, good friends. Of course, if you are talking about a festival that we were to play at, we'd also be sure to bring our guitars and stuff, and probably some T-shirts to sell.
Who was your first celeb crush?
Katie Holmes in the early days of 'Dawson's Creek.'
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
The official position of Titus Andronicus is that there are no guilty pleasures. If something as harmless as music can give you pleasure, why would you feel guilty about it? Maybe if you were enjoying the music of Screwdriver or the Mentors or some other such ethically dubious band, then you could feel guilty. But if you mean just music besides indie rock or music on the radio, then the notion of a guilty pleasure only serves to further the culture of invalidation that has limited our oppression since the dawn of humankind. In our van, there is no cognitive dissonance when Taylor Swift follows F---ed Up on the stereo, or when Xiu Xiu follows Barenaked Ladies. As Larry David said in the Woody Allen film, "Whatever works." Good advice for music, as well as life.
Beatles or Stones?
No Elvis, Beatles or Rolling Stones.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
Once while waiting in the back yard of a punk house in Cleveland where we were going to play a show later that night, we saw a scared looking young man run from the sidewalk and jump over the fence, to be quickly followed by a group of angry-looking young men. Upon telling us that the first guy had just robbed them, the leader of this group picked up a nearby log and climbed the fence himself, shouting, "Get back here, bitch!" I wonder whatever happened with those guys.
We have also presided over the burial of a hamster, spent the night in a storm drain and a house that had digital cable but no running water, been farted on by drunk frat guys, been read passages from a young-adult novel-in-progress where our band is a favourite of the narrator, had windows smashed and been derailed by wayward pistons and drove 3,000 miles to join a tour just as it was being canceled. The list goes on and on.