Justin Jacoby Smith is an organizer, web geek, Buddhist, and poet.

titus andronicus believes in things (thnkng abt it, 4/07)

So Titus Andronicus, the band behind the breathtakingly ambitious punk-prog masterpiece The Monitor, opened for The Pogues on their 9-date run through the US this Spring. I was really excited about it--Titus, with their hyperliterate drunken stagger sneer, seemed like natural heirs to The Pogues & their OG folk-punk. I wasn't able to make it out (though I'll see em at the Black Cat in a few weeks and in NY in May), but frontman Patrick Stickles just gave an interview where he says the tour with his heroes made him "furious":

"[The Pogues] sing about celebrating the individual and they sing about everyone having dignity, even the downtrodden ... yet they are happy to step on whoever they have to so that they can line their coffers."

While the Pogues' two-week jaunt across America was billed as the Parting Glass tour, the band has made no promises that it will be their last visit to the US. Last December, the Pogues played a UK "Farewell Christmas" tour – described by their guitarist as a "marketing ploy" – and already the group have booked several summer festival dates. "We're not saying this is absolutely, definitely the end," Stacy said in February.

Playing in support of the Pogues "raised a lot of questions about the intersection of punk rock and commerce", Stickles said.

The internet has been a little abuzz mocking Stickles' apparent naivete--"oh no you mean your heroes are jerks??" "Band Wants To Make Money, Film at 11"--but I think Stickles' rage at something that seems so obvious gets at part of what makes Titus Andronicus such a great band. Elsewhere on the internet I mused a little:

i'm not real shocked by this

'young dude who believes in authenticity gets naive dreams shattered when he hangs out with his heroes'

like, that's actually kind of why i listen to this band

HOOS Thursday, 7 April 2011 06:15 (11 hours ago) Bookmark

haha i was thinking "this is totes why a hoos feels this band" when i read that article

gr8, Thursday, 7 April 2011 08:15 (9 hours ago) Bookmark

yeah i mean like part of what they do is rage out at the apparently inevitable shattering of their beliefs, like damn this whole adulthood gig is not what i thought it was at all, what the shit, that makes me mad and confused about what's supposed to happen now.

with a certain kind of cynicism their anger can seem to come out of naivete--"of course life isn't fair, you baby"--but i think it comes out of an earnest place and is really exactly what they're about, throwing themselves on the gears of acceptable cynicism even if it kills them.

HOOS, Thursday, 7 April 2011 17:56 (5 minutes ago) Bookmark

they believe, and if it turns out that belief is wrong they get mad

HOOS, Thursday, 7 April 2011 17:58 (3 minutes ago)Bookmark

That driving force--a deep-seated desire to believe in something good despite the evidence to the contrary--animates a bunch of doomed eternal optimists who refuse to go quietly into the night because they know now it isn't a good night and they'll make sure everyone else knows too, and it's a damned compelling thing to hear & see.