Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Daniel Andriano

The Revival Tour was created by singer/songwriter, Chuck Ragan, best known for his role in the punk rock band Hot Water Music. Now in its fifth year, the tour has really made its mark by showcasing songs in a raw, acoustic form and creating an atmosphere of camaraderie among musicians and audiences. The line-up is constantly changing, but this year Ragan is joined by Cory Branan, Dave Hause (of The Loved Ones), Tommy Gabel (of Against Me!), and Dan Andriano (of Alkaline Trio, The Emergency Room). I sat down with Dan Andriano and discussed the dynamic of the Revival Tour, what it’s like to be tied to such an influential band, and his current musical endeavors.

So you’ve been doing the Revival Tour. Did Chuck ask you to play this year or how did you end up on the tour?

Dan Andriano: Chuck asked me to join up with the Revival Tour that went to Europe and the UK last fall, he asked me a little over a year ago about that one and I was really exited. I was working on my solo record and the Revival Tour is something that I’ve been a fan of, just what Chuck is doing as far as creating a different kind of a tour and a different kind of touring atmosphere. When he asked me to do it I was very excited and then since I haven’t done Revival Tour in the states yet until now, while we were in Europe he asked me if I wanted to stay on board for this trip and fortunately I was able to do about 80% of it before I have to cut off in about 10 days, but it’s been great so far.

Everyone throughout this comes from really influential bands (How Water Music, Against Me!, Alkaline Trio). How has it been to cover each others songs together, including so many songs that have a lot of history attached to them?

Dan Andriano: It’s been great. Everyone is here for the same reasons. Chuck asks people that he knows who care about music and care about wanting to challenge themselves and do different things. So everyone is very open to playing each others songs and honestly I’m honored to be up there and play songs with Chuck, Tom, and Cory—it’s special.

There’s this incredible sense of friendship that surrounds this tour and I think essentially represents it overall. Did you ever think you’d get to tour the world and play music with some of your best friends? Can you even imagine doing anything else?

Dan Andriano: Luckily the band I’m in that tours here and there these days, we’re super close. I’ve seen bands that go on tour and they fight constantly and it’s a weird vibe and I’m very happy to say I’ve never experienced that. So this for me is a similar thing. The cool part about this is that it’s like I get to be in a different band for a little bit of time. I get to be in a different band with people that I love and respect and appreciate their songs, so it is a blessing. I can’t really imagine doing anything else as far as career. Sometimes when I’m home and I make really good delicious food, I think maybe I could do that for a living. But that would entail a whole lot of other things. Man, I like to make some good food, though.

You’ve been a part of so many bands and tours—it’s a huge part of your life. I’m sure you get uninspired at times and the traveling takes it’s toll. What motivates you to push through all of those negative feelings that are bound to exist?

Dan Andriano: I guess knowing how much I love music, knowing that’s never changed and that’s never wavered once. I don’t know how good at it I am, but I just know that I love to do it. Like you said, as hard as it is to be away from my family and as I get older to still try and make this work, it’s what I do. It’s what I need to do to be completely happy. I think my family appreciates it and they understand, as hard as it is on them. It’s better for everyone. I don’t know what I’d do if I was home. I don’t think I could open a restaurant, maybe I could. I might be happy doing that too. I love to cook those foods. But yeah, they get it and they want me to be happy and I want to come home to them after missing them like crazy knowing I did something good for myself and ultimately good for our family.

As for your solo stuff under the name The Emergency Room, you released Hurricane Season in 2011. Do you plan to release another solo record or even do a solo tour?

Dan Andriano: Fortunately for me this Revival Tour is going to suffice for a good part of the tour on Hurricane Season, at least on the east coast. I still have to get out west and do some things. I did some shows when the record first came out down in the southeast with Dave Hause,with me and him driving around in a rented minivan like maniacs. And I will make another record, but I’m not sure where the priority is right now. It’s kind of hard because I don’t consider it a side project, I consider it more like I’m in two different bands. I want to make this Emergency Room deal more like a band where I’m not playing every instrument on the record and driving myself crazy at home recording it. I want to find some different people, and I’m in no huge hurry since this record hasn’t even been out a year. I’m going to do a little more touring on this record and get busy with writing some Alkaline Trio songs and see where I’m at.

Alkaline Trio‘s lastest release was Damnesia, which was also in 2011. Will you guys be releasing another full length soon, or touring? 

Dan Andriano: I want to make a new record fairly soon, probably by the end of this year we’re going to be working on that. Fall of 2012 I think we’ll be working on a new record and in the studio recording it. At the same time, it’s got to be right. We’re in no huge rush to do that either. We’ve made a lot of records and we want to keep making them, but I want to make the next one we do amazing and make it special. Not just “Oh, Alkaline Trio is making another record. No big deal.” I want it to be a big deal.

Is your solo stuff more personal and exposing than the stuff you write for Alkaline Trio? How would you describe that difference for you when you write?

Dan Andriano: It’s funny because the songs come from a similar place, but I think it’s just the way I present them that makes them a little different. I don’t really write intentionally different styles. I’m not prolific enough or capable enough to really do that. I just kind of write a very raw, basic song and then build it in a different way. If I’m like “Alright, I’m going to write a song for The Emergency Room,” then I’ll kind of know, but I’m not trying to write it a different way. When I was getting ready for this tour I had this cover tune I wanted to try and get recorded. I started writing a new song and I wanted to get this seven-inch recorded going. I just sat down and recorded and I knew it was going to be for this tour. It turned out to be very simple, sloppy, and live, but I like it. It turned out cool. I have also been trying to actively write some Alkaline Trio demos at home.

We talked earlier about being in a band with a lot of influence and history. With the other music you make and side projects you pursue does the influence tied to Alkaline Trio ever affect them in a negative way? 

Dan Andriano: Yes, but I’m not complaining. It’s going to happen. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play a show and not have someone yelling out Alkaline Trio songs. The thing that’s a little frustrating is that people can’t separate what I do from what Matt does, in terms of Alkaline Trio. I’ll play Alkaline Trio songs that I wrote and sing, but I feel really strange about singing a song that Matt wrote without him there. It’s not my place to do that. That’s not why I’m doing this, to capitalize on his songs. And that’s why I get a little confused why people would even ask me to do that. There are exceptions, like last night in New York we did two shows and the first show I played this old Alkaline Trio song “Bleeder” and the second show I played “Radio.” Both of those songs were covered by Hot Water Music and that’s why we did those two. I’ll do stuff like that; Chuck covered that song 10 years ago and sang it, so I got him up there and I said “Alright, I’ll do “Radio,” but Chuck is going to sing it.” And it was fun and cool, and I’m not against doing it. I do put a lot of effort and thought into this new thing, so honestly it’s a little frustrating, but I’m not complaining, I get it. In a perfect world it would be different, but I understand where people are coming from. I appreciate that they love Alkaline Trio and it’s still the most special thing. I just want to make songs—I want to make up words and sing them.

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