Haley Jane Samuelson Last October guitarist Amy Klein left New Jersey rock…
- Posted on Apr 5th 2011 11:00AM by Ciaran Thompson
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"This is like the best thing that ever happened to me," Stickles tells Spinner, recalling his reaction to hearing the news. "One of the greatest bands ever, and they clearly love us; we're going to be best friends, just like all the old songs."
But after the first gig in Chicago early last month, the New Jersey quartet -- who released one of Spinner's Best Albums of 2010 with 'The Monitor' -- knew that is wasn't a match made for the ages -- quite the opposite, actually.
"It's obvious that the diplomatic route isn't going okay so I'm just going to go back to the real route, which is to say that I hated the tour," says Stickles. "It made me furious throughout. I didn't think that we were treated at all with the respect that we deserved, not even the respect as saying 'we're an important punk band,' but respect that we're human beings."
"After doing nine shows with them, they never took the time to introduce themselves or watch any of our performances," he fumes. "The closest that we got to them was when we would have to load-out after our show so they could have a nice clear backstage area. We would be out in the alleyway, and they would pull up in their hotel shuttle bus."
The legendary Irish folk-leaning punk band fronted by boozehound Shane MacGowan were on the North American leg of their 'A Parting Glass With the Pogues' tour, and were originally asked by Titus Andronicus' booking agent if the band could open one show for them.
"I was like, 'This is the greatest punk band from my ancestral homeland of Ireland, and it makes me sick,'" says Stickles of the experience.
"The tickets were exorbitantly expensive, none of which trickled down to us, by the way. They paid us pittances -- not that that's the most important thing. They sing about celebrating the individual and they sing about everyone having dignity, even the downtrodden and stuff, yet they are happy to step on whoever they have to so that they can line their coiffures to the extent that they want to."
Despite the "dispiriting" experience, Stickles wishes to acknowledge tin whistle player and founding member Peter "Spider" Stacy. "He did say hi to me one time, that was cool. We talked for about 45 seconds and it felt pretty good."
Having finished the Pogues tour, Titus Andronicus are relieved to be back on the road where, Stickles puts it rather epically, "people are people and every human has dignity no matter how great or small their place on the world stage."
"It raised a lot of questions about the intersection of punk rock and commerce," says the frontman. "It firmed or reaffirmed for us a lot of things about how we want to construct our business model as we hopefully continue to grow."