Matt Skiba, one of the voices behind the eerie and emotional phenomena that is Chicago-based band Alkaline Trio, was sitting in a parking lot in the middle of the hellhole that is Riverside, Calif., when he called to be interviewed. “There is nothing around here at all,” he lamented, as his van pulled up to UCR in preparation of their evening’s show. “My cell phone isn’t even getting good reception. You have to love beautiful Riverside.” Despite the qualms of touring, Alkaline Trio looked positively toward the future with their involvement in the Punkvoter Tour taking over the Thunderdome tonight, happy to be on the bill with good friends and a worthy cause.

Artsweek: What made you want to participate in the Punkvoter Tour?

Matt Skiba: My hatred for the Bush administration primarily, also being able to [play music] with good friends. Were friends with all of the Fat Wreck Chords people and NOFX. I mean, it’s something that is really important to do; it’s something that is also very fun for us. So you know, I think we all feel very strongly about the wrongdoings of the Bush Party, and we feel really good about playing music, so we put the two together and here we are.

Do you think people are responding to the political message so far?

We’ve registered like maybe 100 new voters at each show, so we’re on our way.

What do you see as the most important issue facing young voters?

I think it’s hard to say there is just one issue. I think for the kids that don’t give a shit, who aren’t voting, it’s like the Bush administration more than anybody would be quick to reinstate the draft, which would affect kids hugely. I think the religious right, pro-life people in office affect every voter. I mean, a woman can’t get pregnant by herself, but it’s a huge women’s issue. You know, this war and the mess that it’s causing is gonna need the future engineers of this country to clean it up. And the list goes on and on and on. Everything that is going on right now is going to affect young voters, so we are hoping to make people realize that [and] get them excited about voting.

Why do you think young people aren’t voting?

Apathy, laziness. I don’t understand why else. I mean, maybe some people feel that their vote won’t count. I think this last election was a perfect example for why it would, but hopefully, I mean all you can do is hope that it will make a difference. I mean it takes five minutes so… I think there is a great deal of apathy among young people and I can’t say I blame them. We’re hoping that maybe kids that are excited about our band that normally wouldn’t give a shit will start.

The Punkvoter Tour, in conjunction with A.S. Program Board, will hit the UCSB event center stage at 8 tonight with doors opening at 6:30. Tickets are $5 for students/$15 general and are available at the A.S. Ticket Office as well as at the door. Call 893-3535 for more info or visit