Alkaline Trio's Dan Andriano On Punk Production

DAN ANDRIANO AND ALKALINE TRIO are looking forward to a vital year. The Chicago-bred band just released its seventh studio album, This Addiction, on its own imprint, Hearts and Skulls. Since 1996, the band has practically lived on the road, garnering a rock-solid support base of fans. In signature style, the punk-rock trio will tour hard in support of their latest album.
Publish date:

Dan Andriano and Alkaline Trio are looking forward to a vital year. The Chicago-bred band just released its seventh studio album, This Addiction, on its own imprint, Hearts and Skulls. Since 1996, the band has practically lived on the road, garnering a rock-solid support base of fans. In signature style, the punk-rock trio will tour hard in support of their latest album.

Your band is a trio, but on past albums you’ve used overdubbed strings, keyboards, etc. How would you characterize your production aesthetic?

We’ve always wanted to experiment; we’d try anything we thought might sound good. Some of those overdubbed tracks ended up sounding fairly grandiose. This time, we didn’t set out with the intent of stripping that all away; we just wanted to write songs that would stand more on their own no matter what the production value. Our goal is to write songs that sound good with just the three of us playing. Stripping it down makes songs easier to get across live, since we don’t have to play with sequenced tracks. It can be fun having lots of crazy sounds going on, but it’s nice not to worry about it.

What’s the band’s songwriting process?

Generally Matt [Skiba, guitar] or myself will write the skeleton of the tune—maybe just a verse and chorus—but we don’t really structure the songs until we get together with Derek [Grant, drums]. Derek’s really good at putting song structures together in interesting ways. We live in different cities, so we share music and ideas online. That’s worked out pretty well. It’s not until the three of us are in the same room that the songs really come together.

In your years playing with Alkaline Trio, what are some of the things you’ve learned about getting the most from your gear?

When we worked with producer Jerry Finn on Crimson [Vagrant, 2005], I played his ’62 Fender P-Bass, which was the nicest bass I’ve ever played; it was all worn out in all the right spots. As soon as we finished making that record, I bought two Fender ’62 Reissue Precision Basses and sanded the finish off the necks to give them a wornin feel. Now I do that to all my basses.

Live, I play though an Orange rig, but the amp I like to record with is a 1971 Marshall Major head. It’s the best sounding amp I’ve ever played through. I don’t know why more people didn’t get into them. It’s a 200-watt head, so maybe it’s that guitar players can’t get them to break up very easily. But with bass it sounds perfect. It gets pretty gnarly, but it stays smooth. It’s almost like naturally compressed sound. —Contessa Abono


Alkaline Trio, This Addiction [Hearts and Skulls, 2010]


Basses Custom GPC Signature Bass (by Giorgini Precision Craft), custom Fender ’75 Reissue Jazz Basses, Fender ’62 Reissue Precision Basses, Fender ’57 Reissue Precision Bass
Rig Orange AD-200B with Orange 4x10 cabs; Ampeg SVT; ’71 Marshal Major
Effects Fulltone Bass-Drive, custom chorus pedal
Strings Ernie Ball


Dan Kenny with Suicide Silence

DAN KENNY BRINGS MORE THAN just bottom end and sonic boom to Suicide Silence’s crushing sound; with his fast playing and on-the-money technical accuracy comes a well thought out, structured bass approach that truly resonates. The band is currently in preproduction for the followup to its hard-hitting Century Media album No Time To Bleed.

Paul Romanko On Sonic Simplicity

SHADOWS FALL BASSIST PAUL Romanko talks of his desire to craft “simple” bass lines, but even a cursory listen to his band’s brutal sonic assault raises questions about that descriptor. Straightforward and effective, perhaps, but simple … not so much. Romanko’s no-frills approach comes from nearly 15 years of developing his sound with the melodic metalcore outfit, working diligently and scientifically in the studio to hone his tone. The Grammy-nominated band has just embarked on a world tour in support if its new release, Retribution.

Bill Wyman on Making The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St.

“That the album ever came out at all was a complete miracle,” marvels Bill Wyman of the 1972 landmark Rolling Stones album Exile On Main St. Though critics initially overlooked the band’s provocative blend of American roots music with Brit-style rock (“Everybody slagged it off,” Wyman bitterly recalls), the album has since gained recognition as one of the Stones’ most potent statements. This year, Universal has re-mastered the seminal double album, reissuing it with a blistering batch of bonus tracks.

Matt Snell On Tone And Tenacity

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH’S MATT Snell—a former audio engineer and auto mechanic—is one of today’s top authorities of extreme bass guitar. Catch him on the tour supporting his band’s latest, War Is the Answer.

Jonathan Corley : On Melodic Maneuvering

THERE’S A LOT MORE TO GEORGIA than peaches and crunk; The college town of Athens has birthed its fair share of rock royalty (REM, the B-52s), and now the capital city of Atlanta has become a hot spot for up-and-coming indie bands. Leading the charge, Manchester Orchestra tempers its post-adolescent aggression with melodic hooks borrowed from the British Invasion. On bass, Jonathan Crowley links singersongwriter Andy Hull’s tuneful excursions with drummer Jeremiah Edmond’s youthful bombast, carving a cavernous pocket speckled with melodic gems. The band plans to tour through the new year in support of its latest, Mean Everything to Nothing.

Trio In Trepid: John Patitucci Works Without A Chordal Net On Remembrance

WHEN IT COMES TO BASS ROLE MODELS, WE THUMPERS ARE fortunate to have John Patitucci. His firm grasp of jazz and myriad other styles is matched by his equally firm grip on both fretboard and fingerboard. Add inherent creativity and curiosity to the mix, and we’re talking about a forefront musician. This breadth is wholly evident in John’s 13th solo effort, Remembrance. The intimate, 11-track disc is a noble nod to the greats who preceded him via one of the boldest outposts in jazz: the sax-bass-drums (read: piano-less) trio. In truth, the setting—here with sax titan Joe Lovano and drummer Brian Blade—plays right into Patitucci’s penchant for contrapuntal writing and his ongoing quest to establish the 6-string bass guitar in the traditional acoustic jazz realm.

Dengue Fever-Senon Williams On Grooving Globally

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU’VE heard it all, along comes Dengue Fever. Mixing Cambodian pop—courtesy of singer Chhom Nimol—with surf rock, African funk, and good ol’ American R&B, the band creates a sound that defies categorization. Bassist Senon Williams uses his thumb to thump out the band’s global grooves. See for yourself on the band’s new documentary film, Sleepwalking Through the Mekong.