This is a full length interview with The Alkaline Trio and Devin Johnson from the All Ages radio show. The interview was on October 15th, 1998 at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb when they played a show with the Smoking Popes.
Matt: My name is Matt and I’m a Pisces. I am 22 years old and I am available so give me a call.
Glenn: My name is Glenn and I play the drums.
Dan: My name is Dan, I play bass guitar.
All ages: This is sounding so generic. So what’s going on the Alkaline Trio right now? Some people say that you guys are an emo-influenced punk band, what do you call yourself? That’s a bunch labels, or do not label yourselves at all?
Dan: I suppose we try to avoid labels altogether. I would say we are a hard rocking, hard working band.
All ages: Does everyone agree?
Dan: They better, I have a lit cigarette right here.
Glenn: Yes, its true.
Matt: I guess the kind of music we play someone might consider emo-influenced punk, its probably a pretty close description, but emo has become kind of a catch phrase, I think people hear the word emo and automatically assume certain things. We try to play rock n’ roll that comes natural to us.
All ages: How did you guys get together? You are all from a variety of great bands so how did this all get going?
Glenn: Matt and I started the band in late ‘96 with a different bass player, Rob Doran. He couldn’t tour cause he was going to college. And then Danny got in the band and we became a much better band, I think.
Matt: We all knew each other from doing shows with other bands and we became friends years ago and it turned out that we all wanted to do the same thing. When Rob became too busy because he had other things to concentrate on, Danny was available and he was the man for the job. So it worked out pretty good.
All ages: Tell us about the few shows you just played with Less Than Jake.
Dan: We are all good friends with a guy named Peter in Less Than Jake, who I used to be in a band with. We still keep in touch, last minute, last Saturday, Pete calls and said we had an opportunity to go down south and do some shows with those guys and All and Discount. So we took them on their offer and split town the next day. We played in Atlanta and a couple shows in North Carolina with those boys and it was lots of fun
Glenn: A blast.
Dan: They are nice fellas.
All ages: What are you guys doing after this show?
Dan: We are going tomorrow to Columbia, Missoura and then to St. Louis on Saturday.
Dan: Missoura and we are gonna go down there and eat some corn and maybe drive on highway farty-far and be in Missoura. Its beautiful country down there, it really is. And I do believe that Missourins do pronounce it Missoura. But I could be totally wrong.
Glenn: I think more importantly after this show we’re going to get a beer somewhere.
All ages: Do you have a favorite show, either with this band or another in the past?
Matt: I think so far, we played a show with a band called Jets to Brazil that we like a lot and that was fun playing with them.
Glenn: and the Promise Ring.
Matt: Yeah and the Promise Ring, that was a really fun show, really big show
Glenn: At the fireside bowl.
All ages: It was packed.
Dan: We got through it. It was a lot of fun. We had a rough time starting off, but it ended up to be a great show. My favorite show was at a place called the Double Door with the Smoking Popes last spring. That was a great show.
Matt: Yeah, that was a fun show.
Dan: I think we played really well and people were into it. It was really fun.
Matt: The shows are always more fun when you play well. We didn’t play that well at the jets show but it was a treat to play with them and see them.
Dan: Definitely all around great show.
All ages: Couple of you guys are bike messengers, what else do you guys do besides playing in the band?
Dan: I work at a record store and play video games. Old video games.
Dan: yeah Galaga and Metroid and Excite Bike, it’s my newie.
Matt: We ride skateboards.
Matt: Me and Glenn have been messengers for a couple years.
Dan: I was a bike messenger for a day. Actually a day and a half. The weekend was over and it was Monday it was raining and it was in December and I said, fuck it! There is no way I am gonna do this. Yep no bike messengering for me. I don’t know how they do it. Actually they don’t do it any more. “We’re calling in today we have to do a show today, I think.”
Glenn: Yeah actually since we have been doing a lot of shows lately, we have been trying to concentrate on that.
Matt: We have been concentrating on our drinking a little more.
Glenn: Matt’s going pro.
Matt: I am getting sponsored by old style
Dan: We like to relax. Actually I think I can say that for all of us. If we are not all running around like chickens with our heads cut off, it’s a pretty good day. I just like to sit down and…
Matt: Watch movies
Dan: Watch good movies
Matt: Play songs.
Dan: Yeah play songs. We play songs for each other, it’s cute.
All ages: Do you guys sit by a campfire and cuddle?
Dan: We have.
Glenn: We’ve camped as a band.
Dan: When we were on tour, we were at Mertile Beach State Park and we had a fire.
Glenn: Red wine and smores.
Matt: We tried…
Glenn: and weiners
Matt: We tried playing songs for each other but we went through two bottles of Merlot and a couple 12 packs. We weren’t playing too well.
Glenn: Watched the sun come up and passed out.
Dan: It was great.
Glenn: That was our camping trip.
Matt: The dogs were howling that night.
Glenn: It was cold, colder than we thought, we couldn’t swim.
All ages: Do you guys like doing the tours?
Dan: It’s my favorite.
Glenn: We love to travel
Matt: We all get along really well too, so it is almost like we are on vacation when we are on tour. We are going to be leaving for a month long tour in two weeks. Couple shows in Canada and the whole east coast and south Midwest.
Dan: We are going to do it all by end of this spring and have the whole country covered. I am pretty confident that will happen.
Matt: We are planning on Japan in the springtime.
Dan: Late spring.
Glenn: or Summer probably.
All ages: Do you know what bands you are going to be touring with?
Dan: We are probably do most of it by ourself. We are going to do one by ourself in November.
Matt: The most recent one
Dan: We are talking, we recently got picked up a guy that is going to handle all that stuff for us, the booking aspects. We talked to him about doing some package tours with another band or two bands. We are not sure yet
Glenn: We would love tour with like Jets to Brazil
Matt: or the Popes.
Glenn: yeah the Popes.
Matt: The Popes are great.
Dan: There is this band from Florida called Discount that are really great and are fun. We were with them last week with Less Than Jake and All. I wouldn’t mind doing extensive touring with them. Cause they are good. They rock me!
All ages: What do you think of this new album, are you happy with it?
Dan: Yes. Never been happier.
Matt: I am very pleased. I’m proud of it. Definitely.
All ages: Does it sound similar to for your lungs?
Dan: It sounds pretty damn similar.
Glenn: The sound quality is better.
Dan: Yeah the sound quality is better, the songs are in the same vain. There is a little more diversity. There are a couple acoustic numbers on there. Yeah overall that was really good.
All ages: Where did you do the recording?
Dan: Asian Man did the record but we recording in Chicago.
All ages: Will you guys be doing anything with Bicycle?
Glenn: We want to re-release a 7″ that we did with Johans Face because that 7″ is out of print.
All ages: The SunDials?
Dan: Bicycle will do that eventually. We have to work out some details about where the hell the music is. We can’t find it.
Matt: That’s important.
Dan: We are going to do a Cars cover comp out of Florida that we are going to be on with who? Less Than Jake, Ann Beretta..
Matt: Discount, I want to say J Church but I am unsure.
Dan: and another 7″ in spring like a new one.
Matt: That will definitely be on Asian Man, Asian Man is home base. We do all of our recording at atlas studios with our friend Matt Allison, who did the recording For Your Lungs stuff and the new album. He is really into our band and we are really into him.
Dan: Yeah he’s our boy!
Glenn: He’s our guy! That’s the guy and Mike Park is now one of our friends.
Matt: We have definitely established a family.
Dan: Mike Park is the guy who runs Asian Man Records. It’s him and a few other people. His parents included help out quite a bit.
All ages: Well thanks a lot guys. We’d liked to have you guys in the studio too to come play it up a little.
Dan: We should do that.
Matt: We’re not far.
All ages: You guys should definitely come in.
Glenn: For sure.
All ages: Yeah, we’ll have a little wilder time than sitting in the gutter in DeKalb with all the gang bangers walking by.
Glenn: Gang bangers! This is pretty.
Dan: DeKalb’s a pretty rough town.
Matt: Ah man I think I see a security officer.
All ages: Yeah you know those corn harvesters out here are pretty tough guys.
Dan: You gotta watch it, they’re all growing weed behind those cornfields and they get pissed. Hey get away from my farm!
All ages: All right guys thanks a lot.
Interview by : Devin Johnson of All Ages Radio Show