Whilst Alkaline Trio are on a little break and Matt Skiba is going a little stir crazy he decided to keep on keeping on with the side project Matt Skiba and The Sekrets. We were lucky enough to have our main man Jack Lundie interview Matt to talk all things Sekrets, Vegetarianism, Alkaline Trio and a lot more. Enjoy.
Hello, this is Jack Lundie speaking, how are you?
[After casual greetings I switched my phone to loudspeaker.]
For those at home lets start, an introduction Mr. Skiba, who are you? And a brief explanation of what you are doing at the moment?
Hi my name is Matt Skiba, I am a Pisces. I am sitting in my friend’s house, I just had some veggie grill, which is the best vegan restaurant in L.A., and I am currently on the phone to you.
Rock and Roll, that’s what I like to hear. Moving on to question two, what song from your entire discography what song would you say bests describes yourself?
I would say 5-3-10-4.
And why would you say that?
Because it’s about me, I mean many of my songs are from my perspective but that song really is about how I saw things. I wrote that song when I was still doing the bike messenger grind and you know being down by the stockyards where they would take all the animals and slaughter them; there were a bunch of slaughterhouses down there and there were cows and pigs being frozen and chunks of meat were hanging in trucks, it was such a pinnacle time in my life. Some of these songs are personal I just have to get them off my mind.
As a side question to that, I am a fellow vegetarian, how do you respond to other reactions when they question your rationale behind this lifestyle choice and what was the catalyst for this decision?
I just lost the taste for it. I haven’t eaten meat for something like 17 years. I remember I was eating meat one day and my cat was looking up at me and I thought, ‘Man I wouldn’t eat my cat. What difference would it make if it was a little cat or a cow?’ and it occurred to me that we are all connected and I didn’t want to contribute to that. All the time people around me are eating meat but that is their thing it is not until they ask that I inform them that I am a vegetarian and it is a big part of who I am. Unlike a lot of other vegetarians and vegans I don’t let it define me, it is a personal choice and one that runs parallel with my own ethics towards life.
We are in the same boat there. Next question, you have recently released a new record as ‘Matt Skiba & The Sekrets’, what is the inspiration behind the new project?
A big old break from Alkaline Trio and I am not one of those people who can sit still at all. I knew some people who were feeling the same and we thought why not make some music? And that is how that happened.
Is this release a one off release? And will we be seeing any more releases from you in the future as Alkaline Trio or other side projects new and old?
All of the above.
Do yourself and The Sekrets have any plans to tour in Australia soon?
No plans at the moment, I can’t guarantee The Sekrets will make it out. It is kind of a hard thing to organize because everyone is playing in different bands. We really lucked out that we get to do the run that we are on now and all of our schedules coincide. It is a hard thing to do; it is definitely a labour of love for me. We have a really great label behind us but times are tough for everyone and launching this side project has been lucky enough to make a little bit of money. The Skeet’s for me isn’t about taking over the world or anything, just being able to do what I want with music. You can sell it as a Pop/Rock record but for me it is an art project. I broke even with getting the record out, it occupies my time a little more than I am accustomed to chewing but it is all worth it, it is really fun and am honoured to be a part of it playing with such talented musicians.
On the topic of touring, there is some controversy regarding a recent performance in Chicago, without trying to offend you, what exactly happened?
I don’t know. We were rehearsing for five days straight here in L.A. and I blew my throat out. When we got to Chicago I couldn’t even speak and right there we probably should have cancelled the show. I haven’t lost my voice in a really long time and I panicked, I was taking all of this cold medicine on top of some other kinds of medicine and I was drinking hot tea with whiskey in it throughout the day so by the time I got up on stage all of that shit in my system hadn’t metabolized yet, so there I am with no voice knowing that I am in no state to perform but I went up and I don’t remember any of that, I completely blacked out. It was really unfair to everyone there. I am feeling a mass amount of emotion over it because I have all of these great musicians with me, we have a great record out and I fucking blew it. I just hope that people have faith in me, understand that I messed up and it won’t happen again. A word to the wise, if you can’t sing don’t play, it is a recipe for disaster. I’m not blaming anyone but myself, not being able to even talk and going up on stage in front of all of those people and cameras and everything and doing what I did is something that I feel is pretty disgraceful about and out of character for me, I am going through some hard times and am guilty of self medicating with alcohol and I have learnt a valuable less, when you are in distress don’t get yourself all fucked up and try to entertain people, maybe call it a day and come back to make up for the show which I am trying to figure out a way to do that. In the end it was a culmanation of no voice, being totally scared shitless not knowing what to do and pounding meds all day with a whiskey back, it was not a great moment for me.
Like myself your roots are from a very DIY scene. Do you still go out to shows to scope out new bands and in your opinion whom should we be listening to right now?
Yes I still go out to see bands, it is one of my favorite pastimes, there is a really great band who played at that fateful night in Chicago called The Empires, they are a Chicago band and they are fucking brilliant.
What are your thoughts regarding the methods bands use to promote themselves today?
I don’t care about any of that, it doesn’t affect me at all, I don’t even know if we have a Facebook page. I have an account but I am never on there dude, and Twitter for me is like a drunk dial to the world, the only time I would use those sites was when I was fucked up which was a lot of the time, I would jump on there and talk shit. Since Chicago I realized I was going down the tubes really quickly both physically and mentally, I was abusing a lot of substances and I have been trying to clean my act up and make some changes in my life. Now that I am thinking more clearly I just don’t give a shit about what is happening on there, I want a bit of privacy. For bands now you can go on You Tube and you can see any band that you like with clips of their shows and it is going to be the same show you see two days later, which is hopefully not the case for The Skerets, the element of surprise and mystery is gone, I mean I get it but I just want to be as small a part of it as I can and the Chicago show has a lot to do with. Every time I go on there it is either really good or really bad and I am not just talking about myself. If we’re being honest I really have no interest in the Internet besides my e-mail and porn.
If you were given complete freedom to book your own tour, what three bands would you take and where would you play?
I can take any three bands out?
Dead or alive?
Dead or alive.
Shit, can we be opening for these bands?
This is your tour.
Fuck man, Billy Brag and The Clash and we would only play Australia. Sorry man but I have to go, it has been a pleasure talking, take care dude.
The pleasure is all mine. Thanks for your time Matt and take care.