Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Interview with DEREK GRANT of ALKALINE TRIO:
Derek Grant, drummer of Alkaline Trio, in rare form playing guitar at Debonair in Chicago (8.18.09). Photo by Jason Duarte.
Interview with Derek Grant of THE ALKALINE TRIO (August 6th, 2009):
Squid Pro Quo: All right! I guess first - I spoke with Matt in a club in Chicago not long ago and he had mentioned you guys are working on a new full-length. How is that coming and do you know when we can expect its release?
Derek Grant: We actually start recording this week, so there's no real progress to report. As for a release date, hopefully November.
SPQ: Do you guys plan to keep on the same track as you did with “Agony & Irony,” kind of keeping it stripped down and straightforward?
DG: Perhaps more straightforward even but we will do whatever is best for the songs.
SPQ: Where are you guys going to record this one?
DG: In Chicago, back to our roots.
SPQ: Is that Atlas Studios with Matt Allison?
DG: I can't really discuss the details at this point; top secret stuff!
SPQ: Right on. I know Screeching Weasel was a big influence for you guys. How's it feel to be playing with 'em - or Ben and Dan anyways - at Riot Fest?
DG: It's a huge thrill for us, and there are so many other great bands on that show as well. It's sure to be a blast.
SPQ: Awesome man. Back to what you guys are doing now - I heard you guys play a song I never heard before at the Metro in April, it was pretty fast and blew me away. Is that one of the new ones?
DG: Yeah, I'm not sure which one you heard; we played four new ones on the last tour. Usually one a night.
SPQ: How many tracks will be on the new album?
DG: Most likely 12 or so.
SPQ: Cool cool. Usually there's a longer waiting period between Trio albums. After “Agony & Irony,” did you guys just keep that creative momentum going or how does that work especially since you guys are scattered across the country? (Matt Skiba in California, Dan Andriano in Florida and Derek in Indiana).
DG: We definitely kept the momentum with no desire to have a long gap in between albums. Creatively, we just write separately and E-mail ideas back and forth until we have enough material to merit getting together.
SPQ: Nice. Where do you draw influence from, especially when you write a lot in a short period of time? Do you ever get "writer's block" so to speak?
DG: I think we've all dealt with writer's block at one point or another. Inspiration comes from so many different places, you can never be certain where it will arise next.
SPQ: How about with the newest songs?
DG: That question would be better suited for Matt or Dan as they've written the bulk of the new material.
SPQ: Do you ever write songs, or lyrics?
DG: I've only ever written music for the band. Matt and Dan are two of my favorite songwriters so it's hard for me to compete, lyrically speaking.
SPQ: Understandable. You diggin' any new bands or music out there today?
DG: I just listened to a band called The Avett Brothers the other day, pretty cool Americana. Also a band called Black Anvil plus a ton of old stuff, which is the bulk of what I listen to.
SPQ: Right on, man. What are some of those moments in your life that you'll never forget with music or bands you love? Like, what was the first show you went to see?
DG: The first show I saw was a band called Fastway, then it was ZZ Top.
SPQ: Cool. Are you still playing with The Vandals or working with them?
DG: Of course, I'm going to Japan with them next month.
SPQ: Right on! I'm actually going to Japan with my band in September. Never been, but I'm stoked on it. How long will you guys be out there for?
DG: The 4th-8th or something. I'm going to have to split soon.
SPQ: That's awesome man. Well hey, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me.
DG: No problem, take care.
Since August, I unofficially-but-very-reliably heard Alkaline Trio's new album will be called "Seven" and will be released in January 2010.