Three's Company

B-Sides sees triple with Alkaline Trio, crunches numbers with Son Volt and gives Billy Idol some career advice

Alkaline Trio is hardly the first threesome to take the world by storm. But in the midst of a tour for the band's newest disc, Crimson, bassist/vocalist Dan Andriano took time out to share his thoughts on other famous troikas throughout history.

Triple threat: Nirvana

Who: The grunge flagship comprised of Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and that other guy.

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Andriano's analysis: "None of us love them or anything, but I'm a pretty big fan of In Utero."

Triple threat: Cream

Who: Eric Clapton-fronted supergroup that may or may not bring its string of reunion shows stateside this fall.

Andriano's analysis: "No way. We're way better than them."

Triple threat: The Beatles. Plus Ringo.

Who: Yellow submariners who created and broke every pop-music rule in the books.

Andriano's analysis: "Oh no, you can't do that. Ringo was the star. I can't participate in this question."

Triple threat: The Bee Gees

Who: Stars of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the questionably conceived film "based" on the Beatles song of the same title.

Andriano's analysis: "They were excellent. I'm a huge fan of the Bee Gees. 'How Deep is Your Love,' right there, that's the one."

Triple threat: ZZ Top

Who: Bearded, cheap-sunglasses enthusiasts who'll be lookin' for some tush in the Lou this week

Andriano's analysis: "I like ZZ Top because they have a lot of shticks. They didn't have just one shtick. When you've all got really long beards and spinning guitars and all your talk of cars and chicks' legs, that's a trio of shtick."

Triple threat: Hanson

Who: Girly-boys who "MMMBop"-ed their way into obscurity, er, the "independent music scene."

Andriano's analysis: "Wow. I can't do the boy-band, pop-band thing. Although if you think about it, Hanson's kind of like the younger, not-quite-as-good Bee Gees."

Triple threat: Alvin & the Chipmunks

Who: Animated rodents raised by Dave, a Showbiz Moms & Dads-caliber single father.

Andriano's analysis: "They had potential, but Alvin was a glory hog. He was a lot like Liam Gallagher, you know, always getting into trouble. But Michael Jackson's dad, Joe Jackson -- he had nothing on Dave Seville."

Triple threat: The Three Stooges

Who: Knuckle-headed comedy kings of the small screen.

Andriano's analysis: "I can't hang with the Stooges. This dude that used to baby-sit me was a 38-year-old wingnut, and he used to watch the Stooges constantly."

Triple threat: Sex, drugs and rock & roll

What: The only reasons for living. Or, the reasons some of these folks are no longer living.

Andriano's analysis: "Yeah. That's a pretty decent trio, I guess. I don't really take drugs, but they're still a pretty good trio."

Triple threat: Bacon, lettuce and tomato

What: Sandwich accoutrements that form a gastronomical Axis of Evil when united by mayonnaise.

Andriano's analysis: "Personally I'm a fan, but I think I'm the only one in our group who can say that. It's just a good diner staple, you know."

Triple threat: The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria

What: Nautical harbingers of disease, death, destruction and firewater.

Andriano's analysis: "Terrible. My least favorite trio of all time. The genocide of millions isn't cool." -- Julie Seabaugh

Idol Threats
Some '80s icons try reinventing themselves endlessly to maintain record sales -- Madonna, anyone? Others just wait for trends to change and hop on a genre with which they're at least somewhat familiar. The latter option is, of course, much easier, and we really can't blame '70s punk Billy Idol for taking that route. With mall-punk becoming the predominant way to rebel -- you kids are so cute with all your piercings and dyed hair! -- Idol and guitarist Steve Stevens are playing it safe by releasing Devil's Playground, a record that's easily in league with anything playing at Warped Tour these days.

Ever-willing to try our hand at career consultation, B-Sides came up with a few more options for Mr. Idol as he plans his next career move.

Country: If you put a little twang and a Southern twist to the lyrics of "Rebel Yell," the result would probably be something to which Bocephus-minded folks could really boot-scoot. Never mind that you're British -- just drape yourself in the Confederate flag and they'll think it's cool. It may be questionable money, but being the soundtrack to Klan rallies might prove lucrative too -- "White Wedding" has some serious potential there.

Rap: This one's tricky, but we're thinking maybe you could get Eminem to sample your version of "Mony Mony." Get Dre to drop a fat beat behind it, and you could make a cameo in the video -- instant bling! Alternatively, team up with Flavor Flav and save two careers at once.

Rap-metal: Hey man, if Fred Durst can make this shit work, so can you. We know you'll feel like a chump wearing the required attire -- Adidas gear, big-ass pants, doofy hair and crappy tattoos -- but having legions of brainless fans has its price.

World music: Why let Peter Gabriel have all the fun? Become some sort of multicultural guru and invest your '80s-hits royalties into developing third-world artists. Hop on the next flight to the Ivory Coast and start scoping. Hell, you could also probably score some grant money for this.

Reggae: Although you did sport dreads for 1993's Cyberpunk, you didn't put 'em to good use, mon. With that trademark snarl of yours, you could inject some true grit into a cover of Peter Tosh's "Legalize It," or pack the bong and write your next hit, "I and Idol Survive." -- Guy Gray

Okemah's Index
Jay Farrar and the gang celebrated the July 12 release of Son Volt's latest, the awkwardly titled Okemah and the Melody of Riot, with a little more pomp and circumstance than the average St. Louis CD release party. Throngs of eager fans packed Manhattan's Bowery Ballroom, and Farrar et al. showed there's still some blood left in alt-country's veins --even in New York City. Some facts gathered about the show:

Legal capacity of the Bowery Ballroom: 498

Estimated attendance: 499

Number of celebrities spotted: 1 (Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke)

Number of people at show who would consider Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke a celebrity: 2 (including Fricke)

Rank of Okemah in the Son Volt catalog: 2 (Wide Swing Tremolo is No. 1)

Ratio of Son Volt to Uncle Tupelo to Wilco T-shirts spotted in the audience: 1:1:2

Average number of miles between the Bowery Ballroom and a St. Louis CD release party: 980

Amount charged for what is clearly $3.50 worth of Budweiser: $5

Number of corporate sponsors present: 1 (Target)

Ticket price: $25

Rumored online scalping price: $150

Number of free shows Son Volt was playing in New York later that week: 1 (at the River to River Festival)

Rumored percentage of Bowery Ballroom tickets handed out to New York industry types: 50 percent

Percentage of Son Volt shows attended where this reporter has been ejected for drunkenness: 50 percent -- Jordan Harper

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