Hey gang. It is yr old buddy Patrick here, writing you at the end of a short break from the daily grind in Omaha, NE, following the completion of the first leg of our tour with our new best pals Okkervil River and Future Islands. Wow, what fun we have all been having. Okkervil River are pros without being total assholes (yes, it can be done), and Future Islands have been keeping us in stitches whenever they aren't cutting us to the bone with their razor-sharp sincerity. Good times. Future Islands are headed back home now, and they'll be dearly missed. Shout outs to Balkans and Spider Bags for hooking us up with places to sleep along the way. You guys haven't been e-mailing us with invites to come over to yr houses - what's wrong? Don't you want to come to the show for free? Do you want Titus Andronicus to have to sleep in some horrible motel and probably get bedbugs and/or murdered?
All right, so what else is happening? This is going to be one of those times when I ignore the by-now-well-established rules about internet content turnover (I prefer an apple turnover), and tell you guys about some shit that pretty much happened a hundred years ago. What is up with the internet? It is like informational bulimia - you take in more of it than you can handle, and then you have to regurgitate it right away, and none of it does any good or makes you any healthier. Whatever! I like my old-fashioned schedule of letting things settle for a week or two and then writing about it. It is charming, dammit!
So yeah, what I mean is, about a week or a month or a year ago, we had the distinct pleasure of participating in Our Band Could Be Yr Concert, an event celebrating ten years of Michael Azzerad's seminal indie rock text, Our Band Could Be Yr Life. Our contribution honored the Replacements, who taught TA much about the spirit of rock and roll and its many freedoms and attendant dangers, and how drinking too much is stupid and wasteful and not really cool or romantic at all. RIP Bob Stinson - that man should still be shredding! Having a few beers is okay, though. Learn more, and listen to the whole thing, here. Below, find us performing 'Kids Don't Follow' and 'Raised in the City.' Shouts to our boy Craig Finn for representing Minneapolis.
Before I show you a video of us playing the quintessential Replacements theme tune, 'Treatment Bound,' you have to know that this most recent performance is only part of the story! For years now, this song has been beloved by yr boy and revered as probably the best song about being in a rock and roll band (not for want of trying on the part of O. River, who sure do have a lot of songs about being in a band - damn, baby). I first tried to use some of this magic for my own sick, selfish purposes back at the record release show for The Monitor way way back on 3/6/2010. I had hoped that the beautiful song might say something about the adventure the young TA 5.0 was then gearing up for. Listen up!
Titus Andronicus - Treatment Bound (3 6 2010) by titusandronicustheband
Props to the other #1 website NYC Taper for furnishing this mp3. Don't download the recording of the show it's from, though - that shit was abominable. Totally my fault, for the record - I didn't know how to keep a guitar in tune in those days. NYC Taper has a good recording of a show we did some six weeks later at Maxwell's in Hoboken that has got all the same songs and more and guitars that are mostly in tune. That's what's up.
Here is a recording of us rehearsing the song in the apartment where David and I live. This is myself on guitar, harmonica, and vocal, Amy on guitar, David on keyboard, and Julian on bass and vocal. Eric wasn't there because our apartment is a no-drum-set zone.
Titus Andronicus - Treatment Bound (5 19 2011) by titusandronicustheband
Julian did a fine job singing the harmonies on those choruses, but he did a pretty crappy job of showing up on time to this rehearsal. As such, here is a free form jam in good old E that we did whilst waiting for him to arrive. Yes, folks - we are a jam band now.
Titus Andronicus - Jammin' in E (5 19 2011) by titusandronicustheband
So yeah - after all this, TA was ready to perform the song for real. Look!
The Replacements. What a band. Honoring them in this way was a great dream come true. So was having our picture taken by our new buddy Daniel Corrigan when we were at First Ave in Minneapolis back in April with Bright Eyes. You might remember Daniel as the man who took the iconic cover of Let It Be. I hate to reduce him and his long and illustrious career to one snapshot, but damn if I didn't spend plenty of my youth looking at those boys goofin' off on that roof and wondering. Here is one of those pictures that Daniel took.
The internet's number one website has got some pictures. They also make this worthwhile point to stick in yr craw:
"I think it says something about Michael's curatorial intent (and the state of indie music currently) that 9 out of the 14 acts featured women playing the very male-centric music of the original bands. Still, that thoughtfulness doesn't necessarily stop guys in the audience from catcalling when a woman takes the stage at a punk/indie-rock show, as was the case here. Azzerad points out the disconnect between bands and their audiences in the book (Black Flag vs. its fans is a memorable one), so perhaps this echoes that, and I guess it's not really a surprise that male rock nerds still have a problem dealing with women artists, but alas - one bummer of the otherwise inspiring night."
If this makes you mad, yet you are drawn to reading it because of its relation to yr interest in indie rock, then you are probably ready to start reading our beloved Amy's Tumblr, where you can find all the fuel you need for that fire. Good website, this one - especially considering the essays there are generous in size, ready to have yr teeth sunk in, not the sort of in-one-ear-and-out-the-udder web nonsense. The internet is so massive!! Why does everything need to be teeny tiny? So yeah, check it out. There's other topics discussed besides feminism and indie rock too - you'll see.
Speaking of Amy's ongoing crusade, did you all see this feature in leading feminist periodical Bust? That shit was pro. Also, the writer is named Amy as well - a real house of mirrors. Look at it now:
If this Permanent Wave sounds like something you could be interested in learning more about, they have got a Tumblr as well. Dig it!
Speaking of Tumblr, Amy's not the only employee of TALLC who is making waves on the web in their spare time. Have you seen Eric's comic blog? It is sure to make you laugh until you cry. Here is a cartoon he drew about a very annoying and bewildering passenger-seat-driver. Did I choose a cartoon by our drummer Eric involving a car in tribute to the late KISS drummer Eric Carr? You bet yr ass I did.
All right, speaking of members of TA gone wild on the internet, it is time for another installment of HIT LIST/SHIT LIST, wherein stuff that is cool goes on the Hit List and stuff that isn't cool goes on the Shit List. Got it? Great.
On the HIT LIST this time is the scorching hot Nashville, TN punk scene. Over the course of this tour, I have been hooked on the new album We Are The Champions by reigning kings JEFF the Brotherhood, as well as the new heat 1971 by Natural Child (I gave these dudes props once before, and that was even before I could've known they'd go on tour with the homies Liquor Store). Sick bands both, but my favorite is still Diarrhea Planet. Man, I love that band. Listen to their recent NYC debut at Shea Stadium, organized by none other than Titus Andronicus LLC, right hurrr. Nashville is straight BURNIN right now!! It's worth noting also that Tennessee is one of the most beautiful of the United States. Rolling through it's natural majesty is a soothing balm that likes of which my soul has very rarely known. Too bad it is also pretty much the most homophobic state going. That reminds me -
It hurts me deep inside to mark down onto the SHIT LIST my one-time favorite TV comedian Tracy Morgan, whose homophobic ravings are old news to all of you by now. I don't know what part of this story is the most disgusting, whether it's the horrible rant itself, the pathetic back-pedaling and bending-over-backwards T.Mo is doing to cover his ass now that he sees that nobody is going to have his back when he wants to act like a total shithead, trying to pass off straight up hate speech delivered with no comedic merit or visible humorous intent as "just joking," or, of course, the classic, and classically FUCKIN' BULLSHIT, move of trying to pass off hate as "being a good Christian" or whatever nonsense they're trying to sell us.
Man, what the fuck is going on with the world nowadays? Are we so bored and desperate for "edginess" that we are looking at basic respect and decency between humans as boring milquetoast? I don't care if you are the star of 30 Rock or the hottest rapper on the best record label XL Recordings (yeah, I said it) - using homophobia, or any kind of blind hate, to sell yr shitty product is straight up loathesome and dispicable. Even if yr "just pretending" or it's okay because "words don't mean shit," don't get it twisted - yr hate speech validates real feelings in the hearts of real Americans who might only need the littlest bit of validation to take their madness to the horrid next level, whatever that may be.
And hey! All you studious white bastards who look at this kind of bile as a return to "authenticity" or "real danger in art" or whatever the fuck, you are just as big idiots, and worse, yr a bunch of chickenshits who want to get off vicariously without getting yr hands dirty with all yr "think pieces" and so on. Shame on thee!!
Also on the SHIT LIST, for much the same crime, is bastion of decent journalism TIME Magazine, who kicked off their interview with Chaz Bono with the question, "Changing genders - are you crazy?" Fuck you, TIME Magazine! What kind of invalidating nonsense is that?
Damn, yr boy is getting riled up. I am going to need some pro-queer fire to get me smiling again. With that in mind, find below the official summer anthem "Imma Homo" by Rainbow Noise, and the big homies Free Energy performing their uplifting classic "Hope Child" for the website the New Gay (I did an interview with these dudes too - lots of love).
All right, well, that is probably enough for now. We must be getting over to the concert anyway. Let's speak again soon, all right?