alkaline trio’s Hot Water Music

By Kenneth Baumbach
February 28, 2002

“People think we’re always dark and gloomy, and we’re not,” Matt Skiba, guitarist and lead singer for the prot-punk outfit Alkaline Trio, said. “We definitely like to write songs about darker things, but we like to think of it as a celebration of the evil ideas that run through everybody’s head.”

The members of Alkaline Trio, singer-bassist Dan Andriano, drummer Mike Felumlee, and singer-guitarist Matt Skiba, after years of wandering in the pop cultural wasteland, have finally found a safe world, with bands such as At the Drive In and Jest to Brazil, for the emotionally charged style of punk best known as emo-core.

When Alkaline Trio first formed in 1996, the punk scene was in a self-induced slump, which was brought upon because of many unsuccessful records and a disinterested public. Skiba, who played with bands such as Jerkwater and Blunts before forming Alkaline Trio, had grown up with the Trio’s ex-bassist, Rob Doran. With a drummer, who the band describes as “long gone” the trio spent years of constant playing and songwriting, all in attempts to perfect their craft. “With punk there was a lull for a while but we stuck together and made it work,” Skiba said.

Alkaline Trio went on to release a series of LPs and had mild success early on in their career. Their lineup in the band steadily evolved over time, with various members coming and going. With the latest addition, ex-Smoking Pope drummer, Mike Felumlee, Skiba hopes things have finally settled down with the band and that things will remain more permanent and stable. “Thing have been easier than they’ve been in the past. If Mike hadn’t joined the band, we would have broken up definitely,” Skiba commented.

The band released two albums on the independent label, Asian Man Records, 1998’s “Goddamnit,” and 1999’s “Maybe I’ll Catch on Fire.” Both albums soon became favorites of the “diary-rock” scene. The band’s most recent album, “From Here to Infinity,” was popular enough to embark the band on tour with Blink-182. However, their most recent tour, with the association of MTV’s darling Blink-182, has upset some of the Trio’s more possessive fans, who have voiced their opinion on the bands website. Many negative remarks toward the band have been made and many of their original fans feel that touring with Blink-182 was the Trio’s way of selling out. “One time in Philadelphia, I mentioned the Blink tour. Half of the crowd was throwing rock signs and the other half was throwing us middle fingers,” Skiba said.

With lyrics that are sensitive enough to make emo kids weep and songs fast enough to make Blink fans forget about Carson Daly, Alkaline Trio have a steadily increasing fan base. The band feels that they will top the 200 show mark they hit in previous years and hope to continue with their success playing the music they love.

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Kenneth Baumbach

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