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Guest Column: The View from the Back - Paul Shirley...

Posted by: Thomas Nassiff (11/15/11)
Today, we're bringing you guys a guest column from Paul Shirley - a former NBA player who has written about music and sports for the likes of ESPN, Esquire, Slate and the Wall Street Journal. You can head to the replies to read Paul's column about Amy Klein's departure from Titus Andronicus and, more broadly, the human tendency of how music fans to react to change in a band. Be sure to weigh in with your own thoughts. Paul is the chief editor for FlipCollective.com, a website for writers, and this is his first piece for AP.net. You can find him on Twitter or send him an email if you'd like.
      
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 45
01:33 PM on 11/15/11
#2
Thomas Nassiff
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Titus Andronicus: Departures Are Never Far From Arrivals, by Paul ShirleyLast week, guitarist Amy Klein left Titus Andronicus.

I couldn’t help but be disappointed by Klein’s departure. I wasn’t devastated; I’m no Andronicus superfan. But I was aimed in that general direction, thanks to finally seeing the band live this summer, in the steamy 12:45 p.m. slot on the last day of Lollapalooza.

As I reveled in T.A.’s fragility, their intensity, and their tendency toward the whimsical – all of which I found surprising and refreshing – I understood what I’d only begun to grasp during multiple listens to The Airing Of Grievances and The Monitor: This is no passing fancy; this is a rock band with something to say and all the tools to say it.

Amy Klein had nothing to do with those albums; she joined Titus Andronicus after The Monitor was finished. Still, the group seemed better with her than it had without her.

But a couple of weeks ago, Klein announced she was leaving the band, and I had to wonder if I’d clawed my way onto a lifeboat with a hole in the bottom.

I felt a similar sense of loss one day in the spring of 2005. I had only just become a devotee of Mitch Hedberg, the long-maned and painfully shy comic responsible for lines like, “We don’t need to bring ink and paper into this,” and, “Just press 2 for awhile.” Then, before I could ever see Hedberg in the flesh (because comedy, like music, is always better live), he was dead – overdosed on whichever drug he’d chosen that day.

Amy Klein is not dead. Neither is Titus Andronicus. All reports have the band planning to soldier on. This is not new territory; the band has soldiered on before. There are actually more former members of Titus Andronicus than there are current members of Titus Andronicus.

But, despite my awareness that Titus Andronicus will be fine and, further, my happiness that I ever got to see them play with Klein in the fold, I can’t help but lament Klein’s departure.

Making me, of course, a human being. It is in our nature to try to hold onto what we know: My life was better when I was 7; I’ll never feel again about anyone what I felt about Kristy during our sophomore year at Fordham; everything I hear now is worse than everything I heard in 1994.

But this, while as instinctive as a lizard’s search for a warm rock, is also woefully shortsighted. Because, as has been said in more profound ways than I’m about to write: We’ll never get the new without saying goodbye to the old.

The only way to combat our desire to cling to the past is to make a conscious effort not to do it. To remember that you would never have found out how amazing it is to drive a rusty American car down a country road if you’d stayed 7 forever. That you wouldn’t have met Ashley if you hadn’t let go of Kristy. That you wouldn’t have heard Mogwai if you’d spent your entire life listening to Vs.

So goodbye, Amy Klein-era Titus Andronicus.

And hello, whatever comes next, whether that’s a better Titus Andronicus, a Titus Andronicus that’s exactly the same, or some band I discover because Titus Andronicus becomes notably worse and I used the brain cells that would have been devoted to processing new Titus Andronicus to giving a chance to Cradlejack or 72Fishpatrol or Steve Stevenson’s Nordic Jammers. *

I’m looking forward to meeting you, hearing you, and seeing you onstage at 12:45 on Sunday at next year’s Lollapalooza.

And then, to worrying about what will happen when you break up.

*As far as I know, these bands do not exist. Do not Google them. Or do, just don’t expect any results.
01:36 PM on 11/15/11
#3
Cody Nelson
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Awesome that you got him. Loved reading his work on ESPN.
01:40 PM on 11/15/11
#4
lightcollapse
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Titus Andronicus, to quote Amy Klein, is "the great rock and roll band of our time."
01:41 PM on 11/15/11
#5
TachyonEvan
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Hahahaha, this is awesome.

01:44 PM on 11/15/11
#6
Holly HoX!
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A nice article and change of pace for sure.

I'm a Titus fan but I wasn't taken aback be her departure at all. It is what it is. Plus, if you've followed TA at all it's pretty clear the Patrick is the main man in the band, so the tunes won't change very much. TA is very much his baby.

Anyway, liked the article and I'm pumped to read more.
01:44 PM on 11/15/11
#7
DevinDomino
FUCKyeah
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In coincidental news, Ryan Key of Yellowcard has a piece for ESPN http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/theli...ory?id=7220126
01:47 PM on 11/15/11
#8
Thomas Nassiff
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Titus Andronicus, to quote Amy Klein, is "the great rock and roll band of our time."
I would say something similar. I can't say they are my favorite but this band is insanely talented and the lyrics are something else....really like, he has something to say and he goes out and fucking says it.
01:48 PM on 11/15/11
#9
ODDSn_nds
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Great article.
01:49 PM on 11/15/11
Jack Appleby
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Good read.

It's interesting to track the career paths of ex-members. Often the original group is never the same, and sometimes the departing members disappear into oblivion.

The obvious bands this applies to for AP.net is Mayday Parade.
02:14 PM on 11/15/11
Numero10
No al calcio moderno
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Nice piece, a bit too short imo. Maybe that's just cos I liked it and wanted more.
02:38 PM on 11/15/11
BottleRocket
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he tweets a lot haha
03:01 PM on 11/15/11
PigDestroyer
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this guy is an embarrassment to writing, I cannot believe a site like this would feature him

everyone knows the story already about what a shitbag Paul Shirley is and why he was fired from every place that had employed him as a writer
03:03 PM on 11/15/11
mymusicismylife
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Nice, a pleasant surprise atop the front page. I don't ever expect much coverage of T.A. news.

Titus Andronicus Forever.
03:06 PM on 11/15/11
Thomas Nassiff
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this guy is an embarrassment to writing, I cannot believe a site like this would feature him

everyone knows the story already about what a shitbag Paul Shirley is and why he was fired from every place that had employed him as a writer
go away
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