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Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles Talks Donald Trump, Aliens, and Kanye West

In a new interview with Stereogum

Patrick Stickles, the frontman for punk-rock rabble-rousers Titus Andronicus, doesn’t want to give a s**t about being in the papers. “I’d still be in bed now, no offense, if we were selling out four nights at the Beacon Theatre,” he recently told Stereogum in a wildly amusing interview, where he also touched on Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, aliens (of the interplanetary variety), Kanye West’s 2015 VMA speech, and the future of his band. Check out the highlights below, and reread SPIN’s Titus Andronicus cover story.

On whether he thinks we’ll find aliens soon…

“Well, if they were on Mars, they would be pretty small. They probably wouldn’t have achieved that much by our standards. They might be up there. Until we get that water under the magnifying glass, it’s hard to say. You’d have to figure that there must be some aliens out there. The universe is so vast. Thinking about the vastness of the universe is something I spent a lot of time on as a younger guy. It’s too mind-boggling sometimes. Life on Earth…you figure it was kind of inevitable, right? The universe, cauldron of possibilities that it is, so much time…what couldn’t happen, right? Probability, statistically speaking…I’m not an expert on it, but, you gotta figure of course there’d be life sometimes.”

On Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump…

“He’s a perfect newsmaker in [terms of performance]. He’s presenting the most exaggerated possible version of this position, which is maybe based on how a lot of American people feel. Not me, personally. He’s another one of those inevitable figures, I guess. Either side of the media can use him. The left wing will say “Look at this, here’s all of our worst fears and the total antithesis of everything we stand for up on stage. He’s our perfect villain, so we can churn out endless articles about how monstrous he is.” And then on the other side, the right wing, they can say, ‘Here’s our perfect hero, presenting the exact same exaggerated version of our positions.’ But, on the record, I don’t like him that much. I don’t think that he would be a good president. But, compared to what? Every president ultimately serves the capitalist party, you know what I’m saying? He’s certainly a lot more outrageous than some of the other candidates, but like…at the end of the day they all serve their real constituency, which is the one-percenters that allow them to exist.”

On whether he would kill a baby Hitler…

“I don’t want to kill anybody. Violence only begets more violence. Is it un-American to say I wouldn’t? I don’t want to kill any baby. That’s not to say that I don’t support a woman’s right to choose, obviously. That’s an abhorrent thought, to kill any baby.”

On Kanye West’s 2015 VMA speech…

“I found it…it was a very empowering thing to an artist like myself. He says, ‘I wanted people to like me more but f**k that. Listen to the kids.’ It’s true, the artist can’t please everybody. And if the artist is going out just trying to say the right thing, trying to just achieve some bland consensus. That doesn’t really move the culture forward in any kind of meaningful way. He wants to challenge the status quo, and people like him. If you listen to the kids, he’s got a lot of support. It gives me a lot of strength when I think about…if Titus Andronicus doesn’t achieve a massive consensus, that’s OK, because I know there are people out there that are responding to the stuff that we’re about. And if it’s not the #1 cool thing, that’s alright. Because the #1 cool thing doesn’t have to be the #1 thing for everybody.”

On the future of Titus…

“I hope [Titus will have a future]. I don’t know what I would do otherwise. But people are very fickle nowadays. We didn’t achieve a huge consensus, like I said. But that’s less important nowadays, for an artist on our level. It’s just a long game that we’re playing. There’s not much we can do as a rock ‘n’ roll band, with the kind of interests we got, to like, suddenly leap up to some new plateau and now life is suddenly super easy.”