Alkaline Trio, ‘Blood, Hair, And Eyeballs’ | The Album Story

Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano talk us through the making of their tenth studio album, ‘Blood, Hair, And Eyeballs’, out January 26 via Rise Records.

Plus, we have teamed up with the band to bring you this world exclusive t-shirt design.

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With a penchant for the macabre, Alkaline Trio have spent the last 27 years counting down to armageddon.

Often leaning into hyperbole whilst holding a mirror to the darkest aspects of humanity, the Chicago punk legends have long charted the world’s descent into brooding chaos, and now – six years since they last released an album – real life has seemingly edged closer to Doomsday than ever before.

From a global pandemic to mass shootings to drug epidemics, there are no shortage of horrors sitting on our doorstep, and thanks to social media – they can often feel impossible to escape. As the planet unravels and we witness the Earth become a breeding ground for a whole host of terror, everything feels uncertain – but one thing’s for sure, it’s the perfect time for new Alkaline Trio music.

With their milestone tenth album, the three-piece are stripping things back to basics. Redefining their morbid sonic identity to serve as an antidote for the swirling confusion that now dominates so many of our lives – they’re back with a dark record for a truly dark time.

Welcome to ‘Blood, Hair, And Eyeballs’.


In January 2023, the vision for Alkaline Trio’s tenth album came to life on a snowboarding trip in Northern California.

With Matt Skiba, Dan Andriano, producer Cameron Webb, and the band’s manager – Blair Dickerson – taking to the slopes together, the two frontmen took the opportunity to demo some song ideas they’d been cooking up over the pandemic. Sitting in a cabin as a record amount of snowfall flurried down onto their surroundings, Matt began to reflect on the band’s journey.

“There’s a sense of urgency on our first two albums which I think comes from us all being in the room together when we wrote them… After ‘Maybe I’ll Catch Fire’, we all lived in separate cities, so we would write separately at home before learning each other’s ideas during pre-production,” he explains.

“After that trip, Dan, Derek [Grant, former drummer], and I got together in Los Angeles to listen to the demos, and to be honest – they didn’t sound like anything new. I thought that we could write a much more interesting record if we did it all in the same room again.”

Dusting off the cobwebs over four days of pre-production in California – writing album closer ‘Teenage Heart’ in the process – it was a matter of weeks before the trio made their way to Dave Grohl’s Studio 606, holing up for two weeks to set Matt’s plan in motion. 

A recording space intricately engineered for loud, live rock music with no room for grandiosity or excess, it became an environment for the trio to get back to the heart of what they do best – writing huge, no-frills punk songs.

An Alkaline Trio record in its purest form – laden with back-and-forth duelling vocals and brilliantly anthemic choruses – ‘Blood, Hair, and Eyeballs’ is not without its share of surprises. From an instrumental interlude to tracks that open with their choruses, the band’s tenth album is a reminder that we’re often greater than the sum of our parts.

“The whole process was so collaborative, and it reminded me of when this band first started,” Matt nods.

“Obviously, it’s a different beast now than when we were kids, but it’s still just instruments being recorded. All it comes down to is the music, and it was a reminder that we should always be doing this as a team.”


With a firm vision of how they wanted to approach album ten, Matt and Dan knew that to make the record they wanted to make – they needed someone else on-board who truly understood their band.

Having worked with the Grammy-winning producer on 2018’s ‘Is This Thing Cursed?’, it didn’t take long to conclude that Cameron Webb was the man for the job.

“We can communicate with Cameron really well, and he’s a fantastic engineer,” Dan nods.

“Not many producers would have let us write an album directly in the studio, because most people want to hear demos first, so they know what they’re getting into. Usually, you write it all at home then just come into the studio and hit record, but that’s not what we wanted to do. Cameron was very patient with us, which we really needed this time.”

“He’s also one of Alkaline Trio’s biggest fans, and it’s good to have somebody in the studio who’ll tell you that you have a booger on your face,” Matt adds.

“He’s able to tell us if a lyric feels out of place or if something is distracting from the song’s story, and having someone who isn’t worried about offending anybody in that regard is important.”

With Cameron also producing the last six Motörhead records, the producer struck up a friendship with Dave Grohl – sharing stories of the late Lemmy under a huge Motörhead banner hanging in Studio 606’s live room. 

A warm, fun, and inspiring environment to create a record within, ‘Blood, Hair, and Eyeballs’ marks Alkaline Trio’s final album with long-time drummer, Derek Grant. His position now filled by legendary drummer Atom Willard (Angels & Airwaves, Against Me!) – album ten serves as a triumphant transition between two chapters of the band’s story. 

“Derek is a genius, a literal prodigy, and such a funny, beautiful human. Whilst him leaving feels like the end of an era, Atom is a ridiculously talented drummer who brings a whole new vibe and energy to the band.” Dan explains.

“Derek did such an incredible job on this record,” Matt adds.

“If you’re going to leave something that you care about, you want to leave it knowing that you’ve done it justice. He did just that.”


With instrumentals for the album fully locked in before any lyrics were penned, at the start of the album creation process each song on Alkaline Trio’s tenth album was given a placeholder name. Whilst many titles evolved and changed as vocals came together, some – including humorously titled opening track ‘Hot For Preacher’ – stuck. 

Most notable amongst these exceptions would prove to be the title of the zombified love song, ‘Blood, Hair, And Eyeballs’. A phrase that Matt’s mother – a triage nurse in Vietnam who later worked as an emergency room nurse in Chicago – would use to refer to situations where things were approaching pandemonium, it proves a fitting reflection on the state of planet Earth in 2024. 

“My parents met when they were in the army, and they experienced all kinds of things. When they would have an especially busy night, they would triple the staff in the ER and they’d refer to those nights as being ‘blood, hair, and eyeballs’,” Matt explains.

“It’s something that I would often hear my mother say, and it always got my attention. These songs are all drawn from true stories and it’s pretty apocalyptic, so it felt apt. A couple of people were a little timid about using it as the album title because they thought it may be a little off-putting – but honestly, there’s a bunch of stuff about this band that’s off-putting!”


A band consistently drawn to the darker side of life, over the last few years there have been no shortage of horrors for Alkaline Trio to delve into.

In a society that’s becoming increasingly divided in which greed is often favoured over kindness, the realities of life on planet earth are perhaps closer than ever to the brooding universe the Chicago outfit have long been creating – something which Matt and Dan were extremely aware of when they began penning lyrics for this album.

“It feels like the world is on fire, and it is, in a lot of places,” Matt shrugs.

“When the pandemic happened, I was prepared for it to be curtains for all of us. I thought that was it, and at the time I was okay with that. I’ve had a great run, so if that was it – so be it. Looking back on that now, that’s scary. I thought it was the end of the world, and yet I felt fine.”

That apocalyptic introspection is littered throughout ‘Blood, Hair, And Eyeballs’, from the blood-soaked imagery of blazing ‘Break’ to reflections on near-death experiences in gloomy love song ‘Bad Time’.

It’s a theme that Matt began to contemplate even further after watching ‘Turning Point’ – a documentary surrounding the events of the 9/11 attacks. Hearing people make their final phone calls to loved ones and saying their goodbyes, he found himself drawn to the combination of terror, courage, and love in their voices – a poignant display of human emotion that would come to shade the entire album.

“I watched that documentary after we’d started principal production, and as well as directly influencing some of these lyrics, it also helped me tap into other things to write about. It was the impetus of the lyric waterfall,” he explains.

“It’s wild times out there, and honestly I’m terrified,” Dan adds.

“Despite all the horrors though, it’s important to remember that there’s still fun, positivity, and love out there. This record is us doing our part to keep things moving in a normal direction, and that’s what’s special about music and art. It’s certainly a dark album, but in a cool, Alkaline Trio type of way.”


Expanding on a history of producing thought-provoking, image-focused album art – ‘Blood, Hair, And Eyeballs’ brings something a little different for Alkaline Trio – with a strikingly simplistic cover featuring a Roman numeral ‘X’.

The work of iconic punk-rock graphic designer John Yates, the symbol serves as a stark icon of the band’s latest era.

“John came up with a few things that were a little more related to the album title, but when Matt and I saw the final image for the first time we had a strong reaction. I was moved by how simple it was,” Dan recalls.

“I think each record should have its own brand, and some of my favourite record covers are very plain. In the digital age, everybody’s listening to music on-the-go, and they only ever see a mini version of the album art. We wanted something that would still look great on a tiny screen,” Matt explains.

“I went to design school, so working on the artwork is always one of my favourite parts about making a record. We tried a bunch of different colourways, and we tried moving the fonts around, but the final idea ended up being the first one we created. It fits with the record because there aren’t a whole lot of frills. We wanted this album to sound just like the band playing live, and I think the artwork fits that vibe perfectly.”


Over 25 years into their existence, ‘Blood, Hair, And Eyeballs’ wraps up everything that the world has grown to love about Alkaline Trio in a shiny new packaging.

Rejuvenated by the process of writing together in one room and driven to keep their story moving forward in unexpected ways, Matt, Dan, and Atom are now sitting on the precipice of a new era – and it’s unlikely you’ll have to wait another half a decade to hear what comes next.

“I want to go back to the studio and make another record now!” Dan laughs.

“It’s incredible that we’ve been around for as long as we have, but I want to keep doing this for as long as people want us to. There are still so many more realms left for us to explore, and that really excites me.”

Alkaline Trio feels like home, and I hope that it’s around for a long, long time,” Matt adds.

“Dan is my brother, and every time we speak on the phone, we say that we love each other. This band is my baby, and these people are my best friends. I don’t see any reason why we won’t keep doing this until we’re embarrassingly too old to be doing it.”

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