With the first words that Patrick Stickles sings on "Local Business," the recently released third album by Titus Andronicus, it would seem that the album would be over before it's even started.
"OK, I think by now we've established everything is inherently worthless," sings Stickles.
But he says this opening salvo is not as defeatist as it reads on paper, and that it's more about updating listeners just joining the program.
"I thought it would be a good way to start our discussion, and it was kind of a point that we belabored quite a lot in the first two records," says Stickles, "so you just get everybody up to speed and go on from there."
And where exactly can it go from there?
"Hopefully by the end, the hopeful element of it is a little more explicit," says Stickles, "in that in the void of meaning we are empowered to create meaning."
It seems that Titus have created a lot of meaning with "Local Business." This is the band's first album where the lineup that recorded it is the same one touring to support it. After a lot of members have come and gone, does Stickles feel like this lineup will be the one that's finally in it for the long haul?
"I felt that about all the bands but it hasn't panned out like that," he says, before adding, almost cautiously, "but so far this one is going good."
Hair today, gone tomorrow
When Titus began rising to popularity, one of visual elements that stood out most was Stickles’ big, bushy beard. He shaved it after the tour for “The Monitor,” and he says he doesn’t miss it.
“I just was sick of it. I wanted to move on, live a life without it,” he says. “Now I talk about it more, go figure.”