Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 8th 2010 2:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
"I don't even know what made me start watching it," Stickles tells Spinner. "I saw it on YouTube. Someone had posted it in 700 parts, or whatever it was, and I just started watching it. It was like opening a portal to another dimension. It was really unbelievable."
As he tore through the series, a transfixed Stickles realized the Civil War is about more than just the political issues of the 1860s.
"There was so much to learn about, all these things that were like epic, titanic in scope, stuff that seems unfathomable," the singer and guitarist says. "Anybody that is a human being would have a lot to be fascinated by in that period, just because there's so many larger-than-life characters and biblical themes about personal freedom and brothers killing brothers and all that -- whole towns, whole generations being wiped from the face of the Earth. It's sobering to think about this stuff. It's pretty much the greatest story ever told, as far as I'm concerned. But I'm biased, because I'm American."
Strictly speaking, 'The Monitor' isn't a Civil War album. On such songs as 'A More Perfect Union' and 'Four Score and Seven' -- both textbook Titus Andronicus scruff-punk ragers -- Stickles focuses on his own inner struggles, comparing the War Between the States with the war against himself.
The concept works, he says, because the Civil War is a testament to what happens when people cling to ideas of "the other" and "the bad guy," failing to realize what he calls the album's "moral": "All of our biggest problems are coming from within."
"The Civil War is probably the greatest example of that," Stickles says. "For America, it's the logical conclusion: The house divided. I could easily see at the time I got really interested in the Civil War, which was the same time I started thinking about writing songs for the album, there were plenty of divided houses in my own neighborhood, so to speak."
"The first nine or so songs on the record are about trying to shift the blame to someone else for my own misery," he adds. "Ultimately, in this life, whatever kind of tranquility you can have, I feel, comes from responsibility -- just freeing ourselves from the natural inclination to look for scapegoats."