Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles was rushed to the hospital Wednesday night after sustaining a serious electrical zap from a microphone at a Brooklyn rehearsal space. During a long wait at the Long Island College Hospital, a loopy and dazed — but otherwise fine — Stickles performed a new song for fellow patients, which he wrote on the way to the emergency room. The title of the track? “Electric Man.”
“I’m happy to be alive,” Stickles, still recovering, tells SPIN. He adds, jokingly, “But the next Titus album is going to be acoustic!”
The band was practicing at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium, a live/work/performance venue, when complications at a Con Edison construction site nearby apparently sent a surge of electricity through the lines and eventually to Stickles’ mic. A Con Edison rep wasn’t available for comment at press time.
“We were playing ‘No Future (Part I)’ and I sang the first three verses, and then I went to play my guitar and sing the bridge and I started to feel something weird in my hand,” he says. “I felt a weird combination of resistance from it, but an irrepressible attraction. It felt as if the strings were getting hotter. They were becoming more rigid. I was like, ‘What’s happening? This feels wrong. I’ve got to stop.’ “
He sat down on the couch as the power in Shea and on the rest of the block went out. As his condition worsened, So So Glos guitarist Ryan Levine decided to rush him to the hospital. “He was very out of it and manic in the car,” Levine says. “He started to write a song about it. When we got to the emergency room he was asking everyone if they wanted to hear his song.”
At some point during their seven hours at the hospital, Stickles decided to sing “Electric Man” for a group of kids. (He later posted the lyrics on Twitter. A sample: “I am the electric man / I got an electric band / Got everything but the electric van.”) “I was worried, but I didn’t let on that I was worried,” Levine admits.
After a series of tests to rule out internal damage, the doctors approached Stickles and Levine around 2 a.m. “[The doctors] were like, ‘Okay, we’ll wait for this urine test. It’s going to take awhile,’ ” Stickles says. “I was like, ‘I want to leave because I want to get on with my life.’ “
The pair then drove back to Shea Stadium, where they led a rousing rendition of the new tune for a group of friends. Now that’s rock’n’roll.