If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
That’s the belief punk rock band Alkaline Trio has held steadfast in since forming in the mid-1990s, and nearly two decades later, it’s one that has paid dividends. While most of the outfit’s contemporaries have long since burnt out, Alkaline Trio is playing to the same devout fans it has always enjoyed having along each night.
“A lot of it has to do with the relationships we’ve maintained with our fans,” bassist and singer Dan Andriano said. “They feel like friends. We’ve never made great efforts to change what we do. We’re happy with what we do and comfortable with where we are at, and people seem to recognize that. I hope so, anyway.”
And as the band members have grown older, so too have their fans … with a few new faces peppered in, of course.
“It feels like our audience has grown up with us. When I joined this band, I wasn’t legally allowed to drink at a bar,” Andriano said, laughing. “It’s interesting. Our crowd isn’t as rowdy as it used to be because they are my age. They aren’t going crazy in the front row … they’ve got places to be in the morning.”
The band wanted a blast back to those earliest days when it came time to write and record its latest album, My Shame Is True, enlisting the help of Bill Stevenson (of Descendents and Black Flag fame), who has produced albums for Rise Against, NOFX, As I Lay Dying and more.
“He’s a hero to all of us. All those bands he’s been in and records he’s produced … it was a great experience,” Andriano said. “He liked the group, so he didn’t change us. He just made sure we got the most out of every song, be that minor or major changes, and they were always good. It was just nice and tightened.”
The old-school production was suited to the approach and feel Alkaline Trio brought into the album, one that Andriano said recalls the band’s earliest work.
“I really enjoyed the record and the honesty that’s there. It’s a heart-on-your-sleeve record, which is really what this band started as. It got back to something really natural,” he said.
The fans have responded, and Andriano notes that the response to the songs on this current co-headlining tour with New Found Glory — which makes a Friday stop at Diamond Ballroom — has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Sometimes, when you play a new song, people don’t seem as pumped. They want to hear old stuff, but the reaction to these songs have all been so great,” he said. “People have really responded to this record. There’s a certain energy and vulnerability that people have really identified with as well here, as they have since we first started.”