Lovers Lane
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| June 30, 2008 | 0 Comments

The bassist, who moved to St. Augustine, Florida last September, was a fixture in the early-’90s northwest suburban punk scene that spawned Smoking Popes and the Third Floor, the now-shuttered all-ages Elgin venue whose booking agent, Brian Peterson, would later book Chicago’s Fireside Bowl during a period of considerable punk interest. (Peterson has since left the Fireside Bowl and now works for MP Productions, which books shows in Chicago, DeKalb, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis.)

Andriano was well-known for his three years in now-defunct ska-punk torchbearers Slapstick before joining Alkaline Trio in 1997 (replacing original bassist Rob Doran). For a year, the Elgin native pulled double-duty, fronting now-defunct emo-leaners Tuesday before committing to the trio full-time. At 31, the new father says he puts no thought into staying “punk,” much to the chagrin of those commenters.

“I know where my roots are from,” he defiantly states. “I know what I came up doing, and I’m not really concerned with other people’s opinion on what I do. I try and write good songs that I would want to listen to. That’s my only goal, for this band and for everything I do that involves music . . . I’m not really concerned about labels and genres or whatever. It’s not worth being concerned about.”

He says the bands many consider to be the forefathers of punk — Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash — weren’t technically independent themselves. “Those bands were on major labels, but the music they were writing was very controversial at the time and rebellious, and that was kind of what was driving it. And then from there — there started a whole underground movement.”

Alkaline Trio’s previous studio album, 2005’s Crimson, was the last of three albums the band recorded for Vagrant Records, an indie label partially owned by Interscope Records through the first half of this decade. In October 2006, the trio signed with V2 Records, an indie upstart that was inking deals with The White Stripes, The Blood Brothers, Gang Of Four, and dozens of other acts. According to, Alkaline Trio were scheduled to begin record a new studio album in February 2007. But in January of that year, V2 suddenly folded, leaving Alkaline Trio without a home — and without funding for a new album on which to properly tour.

“We took a long break,” Andriano says with a sigh. “Partially, that was unintentional. Partially, we needed that time to write.” The band began conceiving Agony & Irony while they were free agents. “We didn’t know what label it was going to be on,” says guitarist/vocalist Matt Skiba by telephone from his home in Los Angeles. “We were still meeting with people when some of those songs got written.”

Last year, the former president of V2, Andy Gershon, was hired as the executive vice president at Epic. Gershon had signed Alkaline Trio to V2 and, in May 2007, he brought the band over to Epic. Skiba says the trio signed a two-album contract. For the first time, they were fully on a major label. Epic’s parent company is Sony BMG, one of only four remaining majors. Skiba says it “feels like the first time,” with Epic being perfect gentlemen.

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