They are known as the Alkaline Trio, but the way the red-hot Chicago punk band goes through drummers, they could be called the Next in Line Trio.
Since founding member Glenn Porter left the group a little more than a year ago, the trio have had three different drummers, and they'll have a fourth by fall.
Porter was replaced by former Smoking Popes drummer Mike Felumlee, who left a year later to spend time with his family. Face to Face's Rob Kurth filled in temporarily for Alkaline Trio's breakthrough slot on Blink-182's spring club tour.
The group is now rehearsing with former Rocket From the Crypt drummer Atom, who will tour with the trio this summer before the Suicide Machines' Derek Grant takes over and follows them into the studio.
"We're in drummer limbo," singer/guitarist Matt Skiba said. "But we're making the best of a bad situation. We've gotten to play with some great drummers."
Alkaline Trio, whose lineup also includes bassist/vocalist Dan Andriano, can't afford to let an abandoned member slow them down. Since the release of From Here to Infirmary in April, they have been expanding their fanbase at the same blistering pace as their two-minute pop songs.
First they went out with the world's biggest pop-punk hitmakers, Blink-182. Now they're building a hit of their own with the single and video "Stupid Kid."
"Making your band your career just seems like a pipe dream when it's not happening, and when it does, it seems so surreal," Skiba said.
Alkaline Trio's tour with Blink-182 not only changed their popularity level, it also altered the label many are putting on them. Before, they were lumped in with emo bands; now they're being called pop punk, which is fine for Skiba, who "grew up on Green Day and the Ramones."
"Blink's audience is not punk-rock kids at all," Skiba said. "It's like preppy frat boys and little girls and sh--. But it was interesting, and the people were nice to us."
From Here to Infirmary was recorded earlier this year at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota — otherwise known as "the middle of nowhere," Skiba joked. The band's quarters were rumored to be haunted, which helped put a little extra spook — and humor — into the record.
"People were telling us that it was haunted by some Mafia dude's wife," Skiba said. "We heard the same story from totally different people. We were sleeping in the same room because we were so scared. Once we sort of got over it, we spent a lot of time scaring each other. It got kind of 'Blair Witch.'"
Despite the studio's locale, Skiba and Andriano, both longtime Chicago residents, didn't forget where they came from. The album includes such Windy City references as "If a--holes could fly/ This place would be busier than O'Hare" ("You're Dead") and "I'm dying tomorrow/ This house, this street, Chicago" ("I'm Dying Tomorrow").
"I love Chicago," said Skiba, who recently moved to Los Angeles to "try something new." "My best friends live [in Chicago]. It's a pretty big part of my life."
Alkaline Trio will play Chicago a few times during their upcoming tour schedule. First they'll play several dates on the Vagrant America tour, which kicked off July 5 and includes the Get Up Kids, Saves the Day, Dashboard Confessional, the Anniversary, Hot Rod Circuit, No Motiv, Reggie and the Full Effect, Ultimate Fakebook and Hey Mercedes on various dates. In August the group will headline the Plea for Peace/Take Action tour.
Alkaline Trio tour dates, according to the band's publicist:
- 7/22 - Detroit, MI @ St Andrews Hall