Indie band Titus Andronicus finds inspiration in Civil War
Punk rock bands have been singing about political issues practically since punk was invented.
But Titus Andronicus might be the first band to build a concept album around the politics of the 1860s. The group’s latest album, “The Monitor,” uses the Civil War as a theme, even re-creating speeches from Abraham Lincoln between songs.
amNewYork talked with singer Patrick Stickles.
When did you become interested in the Civil War?
After college, I got really into watching the Ken Burns movie about it. It was a period of history I found really rich with images and themes I found to be somewhat relevant to the modern day.
What we wanted to talk about on the record is the way a human will often look for his own sense of self-worth from engagement in an adversarial relationship.
Is that what you mean when you sing “The enemy is everywhere”?
A lot of people love having the enemy be everywhere, because that relieves the individual of a lot of responsibility. If you decide ... the world is too awful for you to do what you want to do, then you’re off the hook for your own happiness and fulfillment.
So, is the message of the album to stand up for yourself?
There’s always going be people standing in your way. We’re trying to say that ultimately, it’s up to the individual to determine their own sense of self-worth and decide what their values are.
Do you think you’ll do another concept album?
I think it’s really good for there to be thematic consistency across the length of a record, but we probably won’t do another “concept album” in capital letters. We won’t do something quite so obvious from such a specific source.
If you go: Titus Andronicus is at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday at 9 p.m., 66 N. Sixth St., 718-486-5400, $15