Photography and Words by James Giller
There was a time when your work was your word there was none of the bullshit you see in the world today. We now live in a world of little to no recognition for those most deserving. Suddenly it’s who you know that gets you a leg up in the world. The only problem is, there’s too much gray area today. The good the bad and the ugly are over, good shot the bad and the ugly killed himself… So what does that leave us? Titus Andronicus.
The five members that make this spin art of a band must have been plucked straight from the working class. Ian, Patrick, Liam, Eric and Dan all playing music together, job and school on the side. Next time you start bitching and moaning about having to do your homework, shut up and be grateful that you don’t have to go on tour the next day. And yes getting a day off from work to get fucked up is a huge hassle, but these boys probably quit their jobs to tour… and get fucked up. Yes ladies and gents, Titus Andronicus is hitting the road soon despite your midterm and your day job (for dates and information myspace.com/titutsandronicus); and if you take the trip to a show, they very well may have some 7’’ vinyl for you to throw your pretty little dollars at (there’s only 500, hello eBay). The things are a gem of a thing to have, all of the album art was done by Ian, the inserts are allegedly all being hand written, everything done by the people for the people. I also think they might have said something about an upcoming album called Airing of Grievances (www.troublemanunlimited.com).
Enough of the promotional poppycock (bullshit) though. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they are musicians, you don’t give a damn about any of this unless it’s good. Either that or you’re all brain dead. This is at no slight to Titus Andronicus (or you if you were already sold). But you don’t start a band with the platform of not selling out and avoiding trying to create a false image if you don’t plan on selling people on the music. You see, I made the mistake of meeting with a few of the boys from the band before I saw them play. Of course I listened to what I had available to me before meeting them, but I still think it was a mistake. Regardless of how the interaction goes, it will alter your concept on what is really the basis of the whole thing, the music, and honestly, despite their good nature and charming personalities, the music is a bit soft.
If you already looked up their myspace with your blackberry or sidekick then you’ll see that they have classified themselves as an Indie/Punk/Shoegaze, an eclectic mix to say the least, one that leaves me a bit skeptical. Honestly, what band doesn’t have Indie roots? The term used to mean something because not everyone had garage band, it used to be hard to produce your own music (have you ever seen a reel to reel let alone try to lift one?). That leads us to punk… Punk shot itself in the early 90’s, I’m not saying, but I’m just saying. Which leaves us with Shoegaze; a bunch of shag bags sitting around swaying and gazing at their shoes, they might have been stoned, but they were probably just disappointed.
Now the big question, did they prove me wrong? Sadly, there’s a lot of gray area. I’ll give it to them that they were a very entertaining act, but listen to their music and you will be able to pick out the influences, and given their co-stars consisted of a queen in short shorts singing Gun’s and Roses to a tweaked key board (Can you picture a flamboyant Larry the Cable guy? It’s not pretty), and Spiderman with a pair of external tighty whiteys, if it’s a competition of not having stupid gimmicks, chalk one up for TA. This isn’t to say they weren’t good. They were good, but in the whole spectrum of things it’s not black and it’s not white, so it’s ends up blending in with the rest of the hopefuls.
I was told that there are very nihilistic lyrics somewhere in there, but what good is a word if you can’t hear it or at least understand it (and not in a comprehensive sense). I’m told that Patrick is an English major, so they may actually be entertaining, and from speaking with Patrick I’d imagine they would be. Hopefully we’ll find out someday.
Surely everyone in Titus Andronicus is very much a part of the working class. Nine to fivers? Without a doubt. Scholars? Working on it. Great musicians? Possibly. Everything in this world is slowly becoming increasingly easy and yet exponentionally harder. Yes, any asshole with a guitar can write music, but what music can he make that hasn’t already been made? How can you take Indie, Punk and Shoe Gaze and mash them up to make them something new? I’m not sure Titus Andronicus does either. They’re loud and they’re fairly fast, but so were a lot of people