Alkaline Trio is celebrating their 21st Anniversary by releasing the Past Live recording. The limited edition Past Live vinyl bundle box set includes the live recordings from their 2014 four-night residency at the Metro in Chicago. Starting yesterday, this offering will ONLY be available for a four-week pre-order ending on February 9th.
Across two decades, eight albums, and a multitude of singles, splits, and EPs, Alkaline Trio has built a reputation as a defining act in punk rock's modern era. Formed in Chicago by vocalist-guitarist Matt Skiba in 1996, the band would come into its own with its debut album Goddammit in 1998. Since then, the band has continually evolved, incorporating new influences with each record while achieving artistic, critical, and commercial success along the way.
In 2014 and 2015—just ahead of the band's 20th anniversary—the Trio launched the Past Live tour, which saw the band play four consecutive nights in select cities, playing two of their albums in full at each show. "We realized there were a ton of songs we never played live, just because of studio stuff, or they just never made it into the set initially, and kind of got forgotten about," says vocalist-bassist Dan Andriano. "This was the chance for us to get out and do everything, to kind of celebrate the records by going out and playing them all." And it was an intensive workout for drummer Derek Grant, who analyzed all of the albums to make sure the songs were played as faithfully as possible. "I tried to pick apart the drums for all of the albums, and really understand how and why things were played," says Grant. "It kept me on my toes for sure, and I had a blast."
When the band rolled into the Metro in Chicago—a club that's been as much of a home to the band as any—Audiotree teamed up with Alkaline Trio to record the four shows with multitrack audio and HD video. And now, Alkaline Trio is proud to release Past Live in full, as an eight-LP vinyl box set (with individual LPs available) and a set of four Blu-Rays, along with exclusive printed posters and T-shirts, as well as tote bags made from backdrops the band used on previous tours. With nearly 100 songs performed across those four nights at The Metro, Past Live commemorates the band's storied career and gives fans the chance to relive those celebratory full-album shows.
"It's taken a long time to get it out, and it's hard to even put a finger on why," says Andriano, "But it's finally time." Since those Past Live shows, Andriano and drummer Derek Grant both released solo albums, and Skiba joined blink-182, releasing the chart-topping album California with the band. But as Skiba says, the relationship with the Triofaithful is one that makes revisiting the Past Live sets a reminder of the band's unique relationship with its devoted fans. "Our fans are amazing, and whenever we have a show it feels like we're all in it together," he says. "I was very pleasantly reminded of that at the first show," saying that, with nearly 100 songs to remember, he'd occasionally stumble on a lyric, "I'd forget something and it just didn't matter. The kids knew all the lyrics, and it just made it even better." And aside from the fans who have been with the band for nearly two decades, it gave new fans a chance to be part of it. "It feels like a family," says Grant. "Now people are bringing their younger siblings and their kids to shows, it's multi-generational, which is cool to see."
Alkaline Trio's live shows have always been thrilling due to the fact that, even as the band ascended through the ranks of punk, they always retained the feeling of three friends excited to be on stage together. "When I think of a Trio live show," says Skiba, "I always go back to the humble beginnings of the band, and I want that to always be in this band." Andriano agrees, noting that this anything-could-happen aura is something they've always prioritized, and is captured perfectly on Past Live. "We tried to make shows about all of us—the audience, the crowd, all the singing along—we're very much about the community aspect of it." But in listening
back to Past Live, Andriano's learned something about the band's live shows that he never realized: "We're good too, you know?"
And while Past Live functions as a retrospective, its release also hints at the band's future, with Andriano saying "It feels like the wheels are turning to get things going again." Alkaline Trio closed 2017 with a coveted opening slot for The Original Misfits, a band Skiba describes as his "first love," Alkaline Trio is primed to step back into the spotlight. "We have the wind at our backs, it seems," says Skiba. "Every aspect of the band—be it business or artistically or whatever—it feels like the Gods are in our corner." Andriano agrees, and says that he's ready to make the band's best record yet. "There's not an inch of me that feels like we're done making music, or we're done making new stuff," he says. "I wanna be a band that people want to hear new stuff from. Because I feel like I'm still in a band that wants to write good, new music."