Titus Andronicus is Here to Spread the Good Word of Literature, Seinfeld and Weezer

Update: This show has been cancelled due to illness. The band promises another Dallas date this year. The enemy is everywhere.

Original post follows...

Titus Andronicus takes its name from a Shakespeare play -- fitting, given the theatrics of leader Patrick Stickles and his band.

From a practice space in New York, Stickles spoke with DC9 about how his band loves Dallas and how he doesn't consider himself a great musician before his show tomorrow night at Three Links with The So So Glos.

You come to our area pretty often.

Dallas is one of our favorite regional scenes. When we first started going there, when we weren't such hot stuff, we stuck at it and kept coming back. We proved that the system worked. The more often we came back, the more people would come to the show. We're pretty happy with our trajectory in the Dallas scene.

How many of your fans do you think have actually read Titus Andronicus?

I would guess not many. I have barely read it myself. I don't know if it's that good.

What's your favorite Shakespeare play?

Hamlet, of course. I think Richard III is kind of cool, too.

Do you think you turn fans on to reading classic works? You also have a song about Albert Camus.

I hope so. I've had a couple people tell me that they have read Camus because of our song about him. That makes me feel pretty good. You know, we are spreading the good news about my favorite authors and thinkers. I think this is my duty because kind people shared them with me when I was growing up.

You referenced Seinfeld in the title of your first album, The Airing of Grievances. Were there any other titles in consideration?

I am a big fan of Seinfeld, so there weren't any other choices. Maybe there were a couple of bad ones. There was never much of a contest. When we get an idea for an album title, we like to stick with it.

Most writers refer to your band as punk. What does punk mean these days?

It's funny you mention that because I was just reading New York Magazine and there is a big article about what is punk. I am going to read that article and get back with you on that.

Do you consider what you do as punk?

Oh yes, we are definitely punk because we do what we want. Fuck what anybody thinks. We make our decisions in accordance with our values and attitudes that we established ourselves.

Do you listen to a lot of classic American hardcore punk, stuff like Black Flag and The Misfits?

Of course, I've studied that stuff extensively. We owe those bands everything. We stand on their shoulders. Black Flag invented every logistical thing about being an American punk band.

It's a shame they are touring without Henry Rollins.

That's true. I actually had tickets to see the Ronald Reyes lineup play in New York in June, but I forgot that we agreed to do a stupid concert and now I can't go. I am so pissed right now.

Soon it will be your band's tenth anniversary. Has it gone by in a flash?

Fuck, is that true? No, we started in 2005. I guess we are close. When I think of it that way, I do freak a little bit. This was supposed to be a project to keep me amused on the weekends while I was in college. This was supposed to be over when I got my real job in my real life. Somehow, it just didn't work out that way.

Your sophomore effort, The Monitor, got a lot of good press. When it came time to make Local Business, did it put additional pressure on the band?

In a way, yes, but I did my best not to consider that stuff too much. Once you do that, you get to be in pandering territory. The artist has to make his decisions based on his true values, not for some kind of supposed reward. That's my opinion anyway.

Were you surprised at how well The Monitor was received?

I don't know if surprised is the word. It was definitely a treat.

Why did you use so many guest musicians on that album?

Because I myself am not a good musician.

Does having so many guest players make it difficult for the regular band to play the songs live?

No, because now I have the band of my dreams. I can just use those guys. It's different, but I think it's cool. If you want, you can just stay home and listen to the record, right? People want to see something new and unique happening before their eyes.

Your band is often compared to Bruce Springsteen and The Pixies, two artists who aren't often mentioned in the same breath. That's OK by me. That sounds like a pretty rocking intersection to me. Everything about Bruce Springsteen is cool. We might be more influenced by Weezer than some people may know. Our music isn't as melodic as Weezer's, but they are an influence. It would be if I had the capacity to do that.

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers