DFW Music News

Q&A: Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba Talks The Misfits, The Cure and Mullets.

The trio behind Alkaline Trio? Well, that's just Matt Skiba, Dan Adriano, and Derek Grant. And their latest, This Addiction, is their first for Epitaph Records--quite the change, after putting out records on Asian Man, Vagrant, and Epic prior.

With a sound that mixes the best of The Misfits, The Damned, and Jawbreaker, the Trio brings its devilish pop-punk to the Palladium Ballroom on Saturday night. Get there early, too--Cursive and The Dear & Departed will open this, one of better shows going on in the area this weekend.

Below, check a special Q&A with frontman Matt Skiba in regards to the show.

With seven full-lengths and two non-LP compilations, is there a challenge in creating a set list for the longtime and new fans?
Not really. What we usually do is keep a record of what songs we've played in what cities. We can look back and see what we played the last time we came through town and then we can write the set according to that. We don't want to be making people pay to see the same show twice.

There are some songs that you guys seemingly always play, though, like "Radio."
There's definitely songs we feel obligated to play. We appreciate that and we try to oblige.
A few years ago, The Cure apparently played every song they've done over the course of one tour. Do you think the Trio could do that? Or would you guys even want to do something like that?
That's an interesting idea. We've gone out and played our first record before. We've done some thematic tours. It's not a bad idea. Through the course of their tour, did they make sure they played everything they ever wrote?

Yes--apparently including B-sides.
That's great. It's a really good idea.

I'm guessing "Exploding Boy" got in there somehow. [Note: Alkaline Trio covered this song for a compilation in the late 1990s.]
"Exploding Boy" and "Cut Here" are two of my favorite songs, and they're both B-sides.

Do you remember playing Dallas at Deep Ellum Live with Face to Face and a small little band called A New Found Glory?
I do remember that show, surprisingly.

Any fond memories of it? Any bad memories of it?
That I don't remember. I don't remember if it was a good show or a bad show. I remember being there. I remember what it looked it. But I can't remember if the show was good or not. I'm gonna go ahead and say it was amazing.
Any fond memories of playing elsewhere in Dallas?
The House of Blues is a nice place to play, but the House of Blues is always nice to us. We've played a few really cool places in Dallas, but I can't remember the names of any of them. We've spent a lot of time down in Deep Ellum. I've gone to a lot of shows at Trees, but I don't think we've played there. Is that place still around?

They actually reopened last year.
Dallas is a good town. I spent a lot of time there as a kid. It always nice to come back. 
Derek and Dan have played in ska bands before. Did you ever play in a ska band?
I have never played in a ska band. Never had a mullet. Never played in a ska band. They're one in the same: mullets and ska bands. I really like a lot of the old 2-tone ska. I definitely went through a phase where I was into The Specials and The Busters. But a lot of the ska revival--I never really have had an interest in that.

Did you ever see Dan's old band, Slapstick, play?

I saw them a lot. I grew up going to their shows and playing with those guys. Many, many, many times I saw them.
How did this cover of The Misfits' "Attitude" come about, where Derek on sings and plays guitar and you play drums?
We were just messing around at soundcheck. We'll just kind of screw around and switch instruments and play covers. We kinda figured, why not do this live? It's fun. A lot of people don't realize how talented and multi-faceted Derek is. Derek is a great singer and great guitar player and everything. It's fun to see him up there and get behind the drum kit.

Have you guys been playing this cover at almost every show?
We've been switching it with [The Misfits'] "Angelfuck."

Could there possibly be a day where you guys covered one of the extremely fast songs from Earth A.D.?
We can play almost every Misfits song. They're not that hard to play. I love The Misfits, but it's not brain surgery.

Alkaline Trio plays Saturday, March 27, at the Palladium Ballroom.

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs