Punk band Alkaline Trio to perform at Florida Theater
Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.
Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio is a happy guy these days. On the day he phoned in for a mid-April phone interview, he was taking a break from a final recording session with the Hell, a new side band that also includes Pat Smear of the Foo Fighters and the legendary punk band, the Germs.
What: Punk band performs, with Bayside and Off With Their Heads
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: Florida Theater of Gainesville, 233 W. University Ave.
He also is fired up about a foray into movie screenwriting. In creating the video for a new Alkaline Trio song, “I Wanna Be A Warhol,” he forged a partnership with director Rob Soucy and discovered a talent for film writing. Now he and Soucy have formed a film production company and have received the film rights to the book ‘Twilight Man” by Boyd Rice.
Then there's the new Alkaline Trio album, “My Shame Is True,” which the band will promote with a performance tonight at the Florida Theater of Gainesville.
To say Skiba is fired up about the album and the early reaction it received from fans would be an understatement.
“I feel electrified literally and figuratively when we're playing this new stuff and to see the looks on peoples' faces,” Skiba said. “They already know all the words.
“We've made records that are less punk,” he said. “This record, I think, is a little more punk rock. I think it's the Trio record that people have been waiting for, for several years, me included. I'm always proud of our stuff, but this has a whole new thing.”
Skiba's enthusiasm is striking when one considers the state his emotions were in when he wrote the songs for the album. At the center of “My Shame Is True” is Rosie O'Laskey, Skiba's girlfriend at the time he started writing the new songs.
The two remain good friends, but they ended their relationship, and Skiba used his singed emotions as fuel for his lyrics. And obviously, he wasn't the happiest person during this time.
“The album was very cathartic. It was quite painful to write,” Skiba said. “I had been working on material for months and months and not really striking gold. I had a pretty serious case of writer's block, which I had never experienced. And then me and my girlfriend, who is on the motorcycle on the cover of the record, we're still good friends, but we broke up. It was quite painful. So it was cathartic to write and it was really cathartic, too, to sing the songs in the studio.”
While Skiba knew the lyrics would have their share of pain and upheaval, he and his bandmates — bassist/singer Dan Andriano and drummer Derek Grant — didn't want the music to feel that way.
“As kind of downtrodden as some of the songs are — as all of the songs are — we wanted it to be empowering and catchy and fun and something you'd want to drive really fast to,” Skiba said. “So it was very, very cathartic to me. It's a very honest record, I think. As far as like urgency and energy, it certainly has both of those things.”
So musically at least, “My Shame Is True” became an album filled with fast-paced rockers like “She Lied To The F.B.I.,” “I Wanna Be A Warhol” and “I, Pessimist” that boast some of the catchiest melodies Alkaline Trio had ever created.
It's also the most punk-oriented album the band has made in a while. After starting its career with three punk-rooted albums, the 1998 debut “God------,” 1999's “Maybe I'll Catch Fire” and 2000's “From Here To Infirmary,” the Chicago-based band veered toward a more rock-oriented sound on its next three albums, “Good Mourning” (2003), “Crimson” (2005) and “Agony & Irony” (2008). That sound didn't go over well with some Alkaline Trio fans.
But the group's previous album, 2010's “This Addiction,” took a step back toward punk, and now “My Shame Is True” goes even further in that direction.
“I think there's a lot of really fun stuff on the new record,” Skiba said.
“We did some throwbacks to like a lot of Psychedelic Furs, a lot of early punk stuff is more prevalent on this record than on ‘This Addiction.' So yeah, it's just kind of relating the story in a different kind of way. And we went more '80s with this, and more of a Ramones' ‘Too Tough To Die' kind of vibe.”
The songs on “My Shame Is True” came quickly once Skiba broke up with O'Laskey.
“All of our records I wrote pretty fast,” Skiba said. “It took me just a little less than a month to write it from start to finish. So I write fairly quickly.
“I don't really like to over-think things,” he said.
“Obviously, our music isn't rocket science. It's punk rock 'n' roll. And our sound, it's nothing that complex.”