Rock for Tots 2009 brought Ted Leo to UMLs Cumnock Hall. In tow they brought the up-and-coming Americanapunk of Titus Andronicus. On Feb. 9th a 7" single of the song Four Score and Seven will be released, former to the Mar. 9th release of their sophomore album The Monitor. By now you've realized the riddling of Civil War references. Check out the 2-part Four Score and Seven here and here. We had a chance to sit down with the band and discuss some of their ideas, influences, and going-ons:

WUML: Can you guys introduce yourselves?

Eric Harm: Eric. Drums.

Patrick Sickles: Hold on lets also say what are other auxiliary jobs are.

Eric: I’m Eric, I play drums and often I’m the guy who does some of the fine van packing and I usually write the set list. Kind of an inventory specialist.

Patrick: Like the guy in 30 Rock who is Jack’s assistant.

Eric: He’s a pretty minor character…lately I’ve been trying to pawn set list writing off on Patrick.

Liam Betson: My name is Liam I play guitar and play a little brother role, I’m a character actor, and auteur. I used to sell merch but I gave up because I’m the slowest at breaking down equipment…and we need to be making sales immediately after.

Ian Graetzer: I’m Ian and I play the bass guitar. Also do all the un-music related stuff like making sure people are getting paid, making sure money’s coming in and doing taxes. Stuff you wouldn’t think of.

Patrick: And I’m Patrick and I play guitar and sing and write songs. I’m the voice of the band

WUML: Was it fucked up that the Whitney shut you guys down?

Patrick: It was fucked up and here’s why, it was for that Dan Graham thing he made posters or album covers from the 70s and 80s and he had an exhibit with bands playing that month, and upstairs one of the pieces was a video of a minor threat concert he taped, and the kids in the video were going super insane. Like ten times as insane as at are show, they’re exploiting punk culture showing that video, looking at it on top of their ivory tower, and then chuckling at us youths. They weren’t ready for the real thing, don’t say “that’s great” and then they see that slam dancing stuff and get worried.

Liam: The security guards were nice…but there was a no moshing policy I think.

Patrick: It’s as safe as mother’s milk.

Eric: It’s a full body handshake.

WUML: Do you guys consider yourselves a punk band?

Patrick: Were a punk band in so much as we strive to behave like punks. But we don’t necessarily play punk rock music. We don’t really sound like the Ramones is what I mean. But we try to behave ethically and operate as punk as possible. We try to behave by just doing what we want to…punk, indie’s all the same.

WUML: What was the cover you guys played tonight?

Patrick: “We’re Coming Back” by Cock Sparrer from 1982 album Shock Troops. Let me give a shout out to my man Ian, who got me an awesome 7 inch. It was a Cock Sparrer tribute with the Dropkick Murphys and some other bands. They aren’t really an influence, but Cock Sparrer represents an era and idiom that’s important to us…2nd wave English Punk or Oi which has always been on the periphery…Ian’s grunting.

Ian: Cocksparrer’s good but Oi music’s a little too much.

Patrick: What about Sham 69? Or Angelic Upstarts? “Open the cage, let’s free the animals”…and of course the ultimate, Crass.

Ian: They’re not Oi.

Patrick: But they’re 2nd wave English punk. Crass’ music is…its less fun to listen to Crass than it is to read a book about Crass.

Liam: They’re records sound terrible, they got remastered but now there is some dispute over releasing them because some unnamed member of Crass refuses to let them go.

Patrick: It was Andy Palmer.

Liam: Yeah probably that guy. They remastered it and now you can hear the guitars.

Eric: He just doesn’t think its punk?

Liam: Yeah he says its revising history; it’s like what Stalin did. By changing the image of what Crass was.

Eric: Crass is a very important band…I can say that…but I’m not sure I’m comfortable hearing them say it.

Patrick: I’m not sure Crass made history, they busted there ass for 8 years under horrible conditions, they deserve a pat on the back 20 years down the line.

Eric: I’d be happy to give them that pat.

Patrick: Well, lets not speculate about who said what. Crass rocks.

WUML: How did you guys decide on a name for the band?

Patrick: I had a smart ass answer that I came up with the other day for this…oh right…here’s what it is, here’s the new smart ass answer. I came up with the name, it was a thing before, but I heard it and there was something about the sound of the words Titus Andronicus that really appealed to me and it wasn’t until later that I came to realize that my name Pa-trick STICKles has a certain amount of not quite rhyming but almost rhyming maybe some assonance or…Eric you might have to help me out here.

Eric: Ick-stick.

Liam: It rolls of the tongue.

Patrick: Tit-US An-DRON-I-CUS I feel like maybe because of my name that sort of arrangement of syllables was ingrained in my head. Maybe that’s why I found it appealing…what do you guys think lets psychoanalyze this.

Liam: It’s just sweet sounding.

Patrick: It’s really fun to say.

Eric: I like when other people say it.

Ian: When people hear it, they Google it and they get any references or what not.

Liam: We’re first now!

Eric: Not on Yahoo.

Patrick: But who uses Yahoo?

WUML: You’re named after a Shakespearean Tragedy, you have songs about stuff like Albert Camus, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, why all the references to the Renaissance?

Eric: Renaissance Band?

Patrick: It’s around, it’s important stuff. What do other people sing about? Girls? NEXT.

WUML: You guys were talking about Vampire Weekend earlier, do you like them?

Eric: Fucking awesome band. Shred the Gnar!

Patrick: One of the goods from jersey, like us. They’re on our record label too, they make the record label money and then they give us the money.

Ian: Also Thom Yorke, don’t forget about him.

Patrick: We’re at the bottom, like Reaganomics…up at the top is Vampire Weekend like the champagne glass pyramid thing. The champagne gets poured into Vampire Weekend and eventually trickles down through XL, and then we get the money. And nothing trickles out of us, or if it does it just goes on the table.

Eric: Are you saying we have no fans because everyone just wants to see Vampire Weekend?

Patrick: A lot of times we’re playing and someone will say ‘these guys are OK…but have you heard Vampire Weekend?’

WUML: What’s Glen Rock like?

Patrick: If you’re not from there…you’ll never understand. It’s a little dissimilar to MA; MA/New England is a different sort of thing. We’ve got the Italianos.

Ian: Glen Rock is a stereotypical city-suburb.

Patrick: The Jersey identity is wrapped up with Italiano, White Jersey Shore…


Patrick: (cont.)…MTV True Life, and everything.

Ian: But we’re not like any of that.

Eric: We’re not going after Italians, I’m Italian. I know where THESE guys are…but I don’t go there.

Ian: The top is all dependent on the NYC area for its economic stability, but once you go down central, that part of NJ has its own industries.

Patrick: NYC is dependent on us, ditto Philadelphia. Look at these two big-ass East Coast cities humping NJ, why do they have to be so close to NJ? Think about how big these states are! They couldn’t be any closer to NJ, It’s pitiful. You have to drive like fucking 90 hours to get out of Pennsylvania from Philadelphia or NYC at the bottom of NY State.

Eric: I went to school in PA and Philly is a lot more like NJ than it is all of PA.

Ian: It is like its one big suburb for both NYC and Philly; they generate a community based around the cities.

Patrick: It should just be known that we own NYC.

Liam: And our boy is the Statue of Liberty.

Ian: Yeah we own it, but NJ residents and mayors don’t care what’s happening that’s why the mob exists and there’s so much other bad stuff.

Patrick: Me and Liam have something we want to say. We were watching the Butterfly Effect last night, the directors cut. And there’s one scene where Ashton Kucher is losing his mind and there’s like this quick time lapse still photos of people’s faces.

Liam: Yeah it’s like 30 pictures in 2 seconds, so we slowed it down.

Patrick: And it was still pretty fast, but we noticed at the end there was like a millisecond long shot of the universe, zooming in, like what the Millennium Falcon looks like when it goes into hyper speed. When we stopped we found…like a black on black…how would you describe it?

Liam: A negative of Ashton Kucher’s face in the middle of the nebula! It’s a cosmic picture; the first one’s the universe, the second frame was hyper speed with Ashton.

Patrick: It was faint, like a hologram Ashton Kucher.

WUML: Do you guys watch a lot of movie?

Patrick: We’re actually getting into the world of making movies. I’m going to direct my first feature length debut starring Liam. But Liam doesn’t want to do it anymore. He wanted to at first but then he changed his mind, now he’s down to 80%.

Liam: I wanted to do when I was more assured it would’ve been impossible to make.

Ian: Liam backed out as Patrick unfolded more foul details.

Liam: It seems like a good movie, I just don’t want to put myself in the lead role.

Patrick: It’s a sci-fi movie about this guy who, in the future, discovers he’s a woman on the inside. So he has a sex change operation…

Liam: All fine so far.

Patrick: …then he travels back in time to when he was still a man and the two meet and they get it on. Basically at the end the guy finds out the woman he had sex with is he from the future and he’s really surprised. You can imagine what happens from there.

Eric: But you forgot to mention who gives him the sex change.

Patrick: Oh, a robot with a laser.

Liam: It was based on the Time Traveler’s Wife.

Patrick: Yeah cause there’s that scene in that movie where the guy kisses his childhood self on the forehead, and I want to take it to the next level and see what happens.

Ian: There was a Nip-Tuck episode where the doctor gave a guy a sex change and years later ended up having sex with him.

Patrick: That’s pretty cool. Had he forgotten?

Ian: Well she was convincing cause of hormones and stuff, but it turned out that this man-woman wanted to go back to being a man again. So he performs once more, and gave this he-she a new penis after cutting his old one off.

Patrick: Did they have it on ice?

Ian: No they take skin off your thigh or something.

Patrick: Shouldn’t do that lightly, it’s just wasteful. Had a perfectly fine dick…

Ian: You can’t get erect though, you have to pump it up using air. Ask Jordan, but he’s running the table, he knows all about these pump things.

Liam: Graft that!

WUML: Do you guys have a favorite movie of the decade?

Patrick: Definitely the Dark Knight I’d say.

Liam: Know what’s funny, my roommate hates that movie, he claims it’s to over the top…to many explosions.

Patrick: It does not have any explosions!

Eric: Yeah, it’s a little over rated…best of the decade? Wow.

WUML: What about the best movie ever?

Patrick: The Life Aquatic movies.

Eric: The People vs. Larry Flynt, a true American movie.

Liam: That movie’s awesome!

Eric: Not Juno.

Ian: I saw Juno, and then snuck into Young People Fucking, because it was airing right after it.

Liam: Any movie that takes place in the future is awesome.

WUML: Best album of the decade?

Patrick: That’s easy Spider Bags, A Celebration of Hunger. They are from North Carolina.

Liam: Rock band with a sorta country twang.

Patrick: There like us, as American as apple pie.

Liam: The guy that sings used to be in this band DC Snipers, who were like a rude-boy, not during the movement but rude now. So they were like men-children that sang really good songs, and then the singer started the Spider Bags with these people from NC. They are transitioning out of this man-child punk band to man-child country band. It’s really good; all the songs are sad but funny, in a weird way. Everyone that hears it likes it.

Ian: Of course no one hears it, so there’s no one to like it.

WUML: What’s your favorite place to play?

Eric: We were just talking about this place in Detroit called the Magic Stick which has a bowling alley on the bottom floor. The last time we played there they were renovating the bowling alley so we didn’t get to play, but apparently bands that play there get to bowl for free. We played pool instead. We also really like the Bottle Tree.

Patrick: In Birmingham, Alabama.

Eric: We’ve been there 3 times and they have a lot of neat books, cool DVDs, and an air stream trailer they let you sleep in. They also have an old pinball machine, and an arcade machine currently housing the game Super Mario Bros. Which I played for hours trying speed run it, couldn’t do it.

WUML: How do you like playing with Ted Leo?

Patrick: We went on tour with him back in June, but this is just a weekend in MA,

Eric: A weekend warrior thing.

Patrick: Last fall we drove all the way out to California and played two shows, made a little movie, and then drove back.

Liam: We have fun playing with him.

WUML: Thank you for coming guys.

Titus Andronicus: Thanks for having us!


Anonymous said...

greatest band in the fucking universe!

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