MS: It was really exciting and so worth it but not without its stresses, that's for damn sure. Music is a lot like writing -- the same kind of writing that you do -- it’s just that you have to memorize it. A lot of it is muscle memory. A lot of it is like word association or color association. There are different ways to compartmentalize different parts.
Let’s say you had Derek back -- would you three be able to play a whole show of impromptu requests covering Trio’s entire catalog?
DA: Once we’re in the flow of a tour, it’s like, "Yeah, call it out!" We’ve done it before. I’m not saying we’d get an A on every song, but we’d be at a B-minus average. There’d be some flubs, but that’s to be expected.
MS: It might take us a minute, and it might not sound the greatest, but we can play almost anything. If a kid at the show got there early and said, "Hey, could you play this tonight," and it's not on the set list, we could probably check and play it that night.
Dan, what was life like for you in the years between this album and Trio's previous one?
DA: It was a little bit of a hustle. There was some anxiety involved… Obviously Matt and I were talking. We knew [Alkaline Trio] wasn’t going anywhere. A lot of people were speculating. There are always people saying this or that. He and I knew we weren’t going anywhere. It was just gonna take time.
It worked out very fortuitously. When Matt told me he was gonna do stuff with Blink, I was in the middle of making [2015 solo album] Party Adjacent. I was in San Jose with [producer] Jeff Rosenstock and Mike Park [who released the album on his label, Asian Man Records]. I did some full-band stuff in the U.K. and some solo stuff over here. I tried a couple different lineups of musicians. That part of it was really exciting. When I went to tour Party Adjacent in England, I called my friend Sam Russo, who’s a really talented singer-songwriter over there. I just said, "Hey, you wanna play guitar in my band, and also find me a drummer, a keyboard player, and a bass player?" He was a little surprised, but he really came through, and I wound up meeting some awesome people… That’s something I probably would have never done otherwise.
Around the same time, I started talking to [Lawrence Arms co-frontman] Brendan Kelly about doing some Falcon songs after doing a show at the Red Scare Records 10th anniversary a few years back. I spent a few days up in Chicago. We had a lot of fun recording [The Falcon’s 2016 LP Gather Up the Chaps]. We toured on that pretty good.