by Leslie Krouse
Alkaline Trio’ 6th album, ‘Agony & Irony’ has been three year in the making, and well worth the wait. The Chicago Indie band has newly signed with Epic record, and recorded in Los Angeles along side of producer Josh Abraham (Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars, Slayer), created this 11 rip-roaring punk-rock anthems that take you on a spiritual trip to hell and back. “There’s a heavy theme of duality, light and dark, life and death, on the album,” says Matt, adding, “we tried to make it all about the individual songs, and we really took the time to craft each one in the studio.” Matt Skiba, Dan Andriano, and Derek Grant have achieved what they set out to do. I chatted with lead vocal/guitarist Matt Skiba on the phone to dig a little deeper into the psyche behind the band and their songs.
RIS: Did I catch you meditating?
MS: No, not yet. It definitely helps me get over a great deal of anxiety that I didn’t even realize I had. A couple of songs came out of discovering Transcendental Meditation, “I Found Away”, and “Into the Night”, this really taken me to a whole different level. It’s good stuff I highly recommend it. I think everyone should try it; there isn’t a person on this earth that couldn’t benefit from how it teaches you to relax.
RIS: Where did the name Alkaline Trio come from?
MS: Webster’s dictionary. There were three of us and we knew we wanted to be the something trio, because at the time here weren’t any bands that we knew of that had the name trio and definitely not punk rock band. So we wanted be the something trio and we opened up the dictionary and didn’t get very far in the A’s, and Alkaline Trio had a ring to it.
RIS: It seems that your songs come from real life tragedies; there is a lot of honesty in the lyrics. What is the story behind “Help Me”?
MS: I saw film called “Control” it was about the band Joy Division. It reminded me of how powerful and special Joy Division was, and still is. They’re a huge influence on myself, and of many others. I thought the film Control was really well done, and the self-titled documentary “Joy Division” was really, really impressive as well. Again a reminder of how amazing, and beautiful, and tragic the Joy Division legacy was. Control just came out on DVD not long ago, and the film Joy Division is also really great, they talk to the surviving members, and interview Anton Corbin who directed ‘Control’ it’s very in-depth. I felt like I was channeling the tragically doomed Curtis, who hanged himself on the eve of Joy Division’s first U.S. tour, leaving behind a wife, a baby daughter and stunned band mates.
RIS: You guys have stepped outside of the music realm, and hooked up with Nike’ to create a shoe, that thing is so cool.
MS: Thanks; there are a lot of people that don’t agree with you. Because kids are corporate blah, blah, blah, and they’re also saying “Nike is an evil company, they make shoes in sweatshops” they no longer make their shoes in sweatshops, they make their shoes in China. But so does every other shoe company in the world. Kids are wearing Chuck Taylor’s are pissed off about us making a Nike, and not realizing that Nike make Chuck Taylor now. It’s fine, I’m glad that people care enough to be bummed out at us for the decision’s we make. We’re proud of it, we have some good friends at Nike, we grew up wearing Nike’s, and I still wear Nike’s and now we have a shoe by Nike, which for us is an honor. Their also made from synthetic materials, so if you don’t eat or wear animals there all yours.
RIS: So who’s the vegan in the group?
MS: There is a vegan in the group, there are vegetarians in the group, and we are always up to something with PETA. We definitely support, you know there are people in our crew, our base player Dan is a meat eater, and I’m not preachy about it. It’s a personal choice, I feel like it’s a smarter choice, it’s better for the environment, and better for your body, but nothing against anyone who want to indulge in such vial activities.
RIS: Any shouts out to anyone?
MS: Down in San Diego my boy Matt Barker, and Tum Yeto Empire (Toy Machine Bloodsucking Skateboard Co.), they make skateboards and shoes and stuff, those are our homies, and our buddy ‘O’ down in San Diego he’s our boy, he use to be a singer for a band called The Fluff for awhile, and is an amazing photographer, amazing fisherman, and an amazing friend, big ups to ‘O’ and to Matt and the boys, and to all our homies in San Diego.