Matt Skiba's pain worked to Alkaline Trio's gain on the Chicago punk group's latest album, "My Shame is True."
As the group was coming up with songs, Skiba acknowledges that "I avoided writing about this breakup I was going through at all costs." But when the songs he and bassist Dan Andriano accumulated "didn't feel like they were from the heart," he ultimate relented and tapped into his personal travails.
"I realized I should probably be writing about it," says Skiba, 37. "You want to make something that's honest and hopefully something people will want to listen to and identify with. That's really the only way to go about it. So I finally gave in and just wrote the record as an apology note to my lady -- and it wrote itself pretty quickly."
"My Shame is True" is hardly a downer listen, however. Alkaline Trio -- which also includes Detroit-born drummer Derek Grant -- maintain its high-velocity brand of melodic punk rock throughout the 12-song set, which it recorded with producer Bill Stevenson at his Blasting Room studio in Fort Collins, Colo. And Skiba sees no great contradiction in writing hard-rocking songs about heartbreak.
"You want that juxtaposition of these kind of dark, morose lyrics but also something people can dance to," Skiba explains. "I love listening to Psychedelic Furs, to Devo, and some of those lyrics are really dark. But, man is it dancey. So that was the goal, to write about something very true and quite painful, but also make it cathartic and make it fun.
"I also had the perspective of, 'I have good problems.' People go through heartache and it still affects your life in a very heavy way, but I'm grateful I'm not out in the desert getting shot at or shooting people. People have survived far worse than what I went through, you know?"
Alkaline Trio and Bayside perform Wednesday, May 29, at Clutch Cargo's, 65 E. Huron St., Pontiac. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $21. Call 248-333-2362 or visit www.clutchcargos.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to