Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus on how a lot of rock and roll is just about re-appropriating
Why did you have your record release at the DIY space Shea Stadium?
We practice there, for one thing. It's our favorite places. Compared to some other DIY spaces, it has a good sound system. In fact, our guitar player Adam [Reich] is the founder of the space, so it's just a special home to us more so than any other venue. We wanted to do a record release show that was a little more intimate and a little more special so it was a natural fit and it was great fun.
You recently wrote on your blog about the concept of local businesses and their importance. Was there something that really brought that home for you or otherwise concretized that idea?
I guess I first learned it was important watching the transformation of the central business district of my home town of Glen Rock, New Jersey. When I was young, it was all independently-owned, local businesses all along the main drag. Since then, they've mostly all closed down and been replaced by chain stores.
We used to have an independent coffee shop, but then Starbucks moved in, and of course, the independent place went out of business. We used to have a cool video store that's a Subway now. It was easy to see a lot of the charm get stripped away. People who were members of the community, able to live by their own means, became servants to a corporate ogre. It's quite a disturbing thing to see. That was, I guess, the beginning of my franchisement as far as the importance of local businesses go.
Why will Titus Andronicus settle for our utter disdain while craving our approval? At least according to part of your Blogspot page.
I wrote that many years ago. But I guess what I meant was that we're happy to get any reaction. Anything beyond complacency is good. Any good kind of art will make people react in a visceral way. If it's something that people can just ignore or just let go in one ear and out the other, then that's bad. That's not a good piece of art in my opinion.
You have said that you've drawn some inspiration from the band Pulp, specifically the album This is Hardcore. How did you get into that band and what do you feel they do especially well?
With that album I was really just into the grandiosity of the songs. They were very grand but also very personable. They had kind of epic songs, but Jarvis Cocker's personality always came through very strongly. I appreciated that dichotomy. They take you on a wild ride -- climaxes and crescendos and whatnot. "Like a Friend" was the first song I heard by them, and it has a really thrilling explosion after the first part of the song.
And that "Common People" song, too, is a favorite of mine. That was a sweet song because it was dynamically limitless. It achieved new levels of intensity throughout the song -- each part was more intense than the last. But, at the same time, it was a very smart critique of a certain part of the modern condition.