The End of the 00s The Ballad of That Guy From Titus Andronicus (As Told To Matthew Perpetua) – The Awl

byTheEndofthe?

00s

Myband,TitusAndronicus,hasplayedalotofshowssinceIlastbloggedaboutagigbackinlate2009,andifI’mbeinghonestwithyou,alotofthemhavenotbeenfun。

Itseemedharmlessatthetime,butInowrealizethatitwasabigmistaketoagreetoonlyplayWeezersongsatthathorribleViceHalloweenpartylastyear。

Thatsetabadprecedent。

Idon’twanttoadmittohowmanyprivateshowswe’veplayedthroughout2010wherewehadtodootherpeople’smusicinsteadofourown,butI’mgratefulthatverylittleevidencehassurfacedonline。

Isupposethatbymentioningthishereitonlygivespeopleanexcusetogolookingforit。

That’sthepriceof?

honesty。

Anyway,Idon’tunderstandhowthewordgotoutthatwecouldbehiredtoplaywhateverbyrequest,butwehadsomegoodoffersandcouldn’tturndownthecash。

Theweirdthingthoughisthatwekindasuckasacoverband,soit’shardtofathomwhypeoplewouldwanttohireusinsteadofpeoplewhodothissortofthingcompetentlyonaregularbasisunlesstheyjustwantedtohumiliateusorsomething。

Like,“Hey,here’ssomePitchforkband,let’slaughatthembymakingthemplayStoneTemplePilotssongsinsteadoftheirownshit。

”Idon’tknow。

MaybeI’mparanoidaboutthis,butitreallydoesfeellikepeoplearetryingtobringuslowbyforcingusintothesesituations。

Ishouldsaythatnotalloftheseexperienceshavebeenpainful。

WeplayedsomerichgirlonLongIsland’sbirthdayparty,andthatwasokayenough。

Atleastwehadsomefreedomthere?

—?

theyaskedustoplaysome“’80smusic”butnothingspecific。

Asitturnsout,it’sprettyfuntoplay“IfThisItIt”byHueyLewis。

IguessIshouldn’tbetooshockedaboutthat。

Peopleatthatpartyseemedindifferenttousandwereoccasionallyabitrude,butatleasttherewasnoviolenceinvolved,anditwasn’tastediousasthattimewewerepaidtoplay“Tubthumping”byChumbawumbaadozentimesinarowforaroomfullofinsurancedudes。

It’skindafuckedup,butafterwhatcamebeforeandwhatcameafterthatnight,I’matthepointwherenotgettingpunchedatagigisenoughtoputitinthewin?

column。

I’mbeatingaroundthebush,solet’sgetstraighttoit。

AsyoumayhavereadonPitchfork,Stereogum,andsomeothermusicblogs,mybandperformedatthe11thannualGatheringoftheJuggalosfestivalataplacecalledCave-In-Rock,Illinois。

Ifyoudon’tknow,JuggalosarefansoftheInsaneClownPosse,whoare…。

well,insaneclownswhorap。

They’vegotawholesubculturegoingon,mostlyinthemidwest,andthepeoplearelikerednecksinHotTopicgearcrossedwithwhatpeopleusedtocall“wiggers。

”I’dneverheardaboutanyofthisbeforewegottheofferafewmonthsbeforethegig。

Welookedintoit,andwerekindaweirdedout,butitseemedlikeitcouldbeafunnyexperience,andevenifitsucked,itwasstill$10,000fora40minuteset。

Ihavetoemphasize:Weareallbrokeandcan’tturndownthatkindof?

money。

ItwaskindofapainintheasstogettoCave-In-Rock。

WehadtoflyintoIndianapolis,andthendrivefivehoursouttothelocationofthefestival。

Weknewtoexpectsomecraziness,butIdon’tthinkwewereactuallyreadyforthevibeofthisplace。

Itsuddenlymadesensewhytheseguyswereallaboutthecheapsoda?

—?

itwaslikewalkingaroundinsomekindofMountainDewcommercialfeverdream。

Butyeah,thosefirstcouplehoursofshowingupandtakingitallinwasthehighpoint。

Youmayhaveheardabouttherebeingmagiciansanddudesonstilts,thingslikethat?

Isawthatinperson,andfrankly,thatstuffcannotbedenied。

A+onthestiltguys,alltheway。

Also,Ihavetosay,theguysputtingontheshow,thepeoplebackstage?

—?

theywereprettyokay。

I’mnotgoingtosayitwasthenicestexperiencewe’veeverhadbackstage,butitwasn’ttheworstbyanystretch。

Theydidn’tgiveusanyshit,andhookedusupwithfreehamburgersandsoda。

Butseriously,itwasalldownhillfromthereon?

out。

Wewerenottheonlyindie-typebandtogetbookedfortheshow。

Atfirstitseemedliketheyweremaybetryingtocynicallybroadentheiraudience,ormaybetheyjustearnestlylikedsomeofthismusic,orIdunno,theyappreciatedothermusicianswhocarvedtheirownpathoutsideofthecorporatemainstream。

I’mprettyconvincednowthattheyjustwantedfreshmeattothrowtothese“Juggalos,”whoarejustsofuckingviciousandcruel。

Theybasicallyjustshowuptoheckleanybandthat’snotICP。

IsawsomefootagefromayearorsobackofthesepeoplegivingAndrewW。

K。

ahardtime,butman,Ithinkthesepeoplegotmorebloodthirstyovertime,likeit’sbecomeatradition。

Youknowhowyou’dgetthesemachothugscomingtohardcoreshowsjusttobeatonpeopleinmoshpits?

It’slikethat,butlessfocused,andmoreobviouslydirectedatthepeopleonstage。

Tomakemattersworse,thiswasanothergigwherewewererequiredtoplaysomeoneelse’smusic,andtherequestwasveryspecific:WehadtoperformKrisKross’TotallyKrossedOutinfull。

No,I’mnot?

kidding。

Look,wetakeourjobseriously。

Wespenttwoweekslearningandrehearsingthisalbum,andyouknow,itwasn’teasyfiguringouthowtoplaythisearly’90shiphopasarockband。

Wehadtobeclever,andIhadtolearnthelyricstoanentirefuckingraprecord。

Ilikerapfine,don’tgetmewrong,butman,Iamnotsomeonewhoshouldeverberapping。

Buttherewewere,3p。

m。

onasidestageinthemiddleofthisbizarremanchildfestivalinthemiddleofnowhere,abouttolaunchinto“Jump。

”ThecruelthingaboutdoingTotallyKrossedOutisthatyouhavetoplaythebighitfirst,andthenyouhavetokeepgoingthroughallthesealbumtracksnooneisgoingtorecognize,butwewerecontractuallyobligedtoperform。

I’mgoingtobesoboldastosaythatwekiiiindahadthesepeopleonoursidefor“Jump,”butbythetimewewerehalfwaythroughbutchering“Lil’BoysInDaHood,”weweredoingeverythingwecouldtoavoidgettinghitbyalltheshitbeinghurtledatusbythissmalllegionofcreeps。

(IwishIwasn’tbeingliteral,butI’mprettysuresomeactualfecalmatterendeduponEric’sdrum?

head。

)

Anyway,anyonewhowasinfrontofthestagewasthereentirelytomakeusfeelawfulandunwelcome。

Everyoneelsewasoffstuffingtheirfaceswithjunkfoodorwatchingwrestlingmatchesorstand-upcomedyorwaitinginlineforahelicopterride。

Thesewerethemostcommittedhatersonthefaceofthe?

earth。

Yeah,therewerehelicopterrides。

Theyhadthematthefestivallastyeartoo,anditwasabigdeal。

Everyonewasreallyintoit,sotheywentalittlefurtherandgottheseold-timeylocomotivesandsetuptracksallaroundthefestivalsite。

Itwouldhavebeenkindacute,butofcourse,thisissetupforthelargestcongregationofdumbassesinworldhistory,andsoeverythingwentfuckinghaywire。

Foronething,theseidiotswouldnotgetoffthetracks。

They’djustwanderontothetracksandhangoutthereandshoutattheoncomingtrains,whohadtostoptokeepfromrunningtheseguysover。

Butyouknow,thedudesrunningthetrainswerenobetter,andIthinksomepeopleactuallygotrundown。

Iwasn’ttherewhenthishappened,butIguessneartheendofourset,thispackofdrunkgoonsdecidedtoderailoneofthetrains,anddon’taskmehow,buttheymanagedtodoit。

Iheardanexplosion。

Therewerepeoplerunning,peoplescreaming。

Ourstagecaughtonfire-again,don’taskmehow。

It’sallthishorriblenightmareblurinmy?

mind。

Iremembercertainimages,butIthinkwewereallinsomekindofprimalsurvival-drivenfuguestate。

ThethingsthatstickoutinmymemoryaresoweirdIcan’tbelievetheyhappened,butit’slike,Iknowithappened,Ican’tun-seeit。

Forexample,whenIwasfleeingfromtheburningstage,IsawthisbigfatguythrowwhatIbelievewasagoatatoneofthosedudesonstilts,andhejusttoppledoverontothisupendedrailroadspike。

Sofuckinggory,man。

IdefinitelyrememberseeingtwooftheVivianGirlsrunningbywithbolognaslicesstucktotheirbareskin,andAndrewBirdgettingkickedinthestomachbysomekidridingbyononeofthoseminifour-wheelers。

You’veprobablyalreadyreadaboutthisinthenews,Idon’tneedtotellyoueverything。

Itwasatremendouslyfucked-upscene。

Iprobablywouldn’tbealivetodayifWillOldhamhadn’trescuedmyselfandAntonyandshepherdedustosafetyonaJohnDeeretractor。

Iswear,theonlythingthatkeptmesaneinthatmomentwastryingtogetthatFaygo-bottleballgagoutofpoorAntony’s?

mouth。

I’mgladtohaveblackedouttheworstofit。

Iremembertheheatandnoiseoftheexplosions,butIhavenovisualmemoryofwhenthathelicopterthatgotcommandeeredbysomeJuggalosonPCPcrashedintoPandaBear’sstage,orhowthe“fleshheap”outbythebarbecueareacaughtonfire。

(Idon’tthinkitwasaconnectedchainofevents。

)Ishouldbegratefulthatmyentirebandmadeitoutofthere,andnoneofusmanagedtogetanysignificantinjuries。

Wegotpaidenoughthatlosingallourinstrumentsandequipmentwasn’tsuchabig?

deal。

Whenitcomesdowntoit,asscaryasthisstuffwas,itwasstillbetterthanworkingsomedayjob。

ThistimelastyearIwaspissedoffaboutshadysecurityataVICEparty,andnowthatjustseemsquaintafteraneventthatmayaswellhavebeencalled“AltamontX-Treme。

”Myfaithinhavinga“career”inmusicisrattled,butIdon’twanttolosetrackofthepositivethingsbydwellingonallofthistrauma。

Afterall,attendancewasprettygoodforourclubtourinsupportofoursecondalbum,wegotafewgoodreviewsonline,andoneofoursongswas#4ontheHypeMachine。

That’sgottocountforsomething,right?

Sincerely,

ThatGuyfromTitusAndronicus