jeanne crump gets in the pit…
If you haven’t discovered the Philly based punk act The Menzingers yet, open the interwebs and indulge. Their most recent album, On The Impossible Past, has been burned into my brain. Their straight forward punk and hella catchy lyrics landed them on Epitaph Records last year and now they’re playing shows with the likes of, well, everyone. From their upcoming show at Starland Ballroom (Thursday, Sept 14) with Flogging Molly to their short stint with Taking Back Sunday, this group has got one long and loud road ahead.
I caught up with vocalist & guitarist Greg Barnett to get a glimpse into their busy fall schedule, plans to record and a whole lot more.
Pop-Break: So you guys are making your way over to Jersey soon and are playing with Flogging Molly who I’m a huge fan of as well. Have you guys played with Flogging Molly before?
Greg Barnett: No we haven’t actually and that is kind of the reason we jumped at the opportunity when it arose. I’ve heard great things about them and I’ve seen them live once.
PB: Yeah, I saw this show was coming and was just like “holy shit.” Plus, River City Extension is on the bill and they’re an awesome band.
GB: Yeah, I picked up River City’s album this year and just fell in love with it.
PB: I was looking at your tour schedule and was seeing that you guys are playing with so many great bands this fall–you have Taking Back Sunday, Propagandhi, Off With Their Heads, Gaslight Anthem…so you have a lot going on. Are you looking forward to one more than the other?
GB: That’s kinda a hard question and we got a lot of tour offers for the fall and the reason we didn’t take it was because we wanted something like this, just something fun to do a bunch of small tours with a lot of great bands, especially with ones that you really like. It kinda worked out perfectly like that. I can’t say I’m more excited about one more than the other, I’m excited about all of them to be completely honest.
PB: I figured you would say that! Propagandhi is such a legendary band, I’m sure you guys are stoked to play with them though.
GB: Oh yeah. There are some bands you get the opportunity to play with and you’re like “yeah, that’s great” but then there are some you just think would never happen and Propaghandi is one of those that we seriously never thought would happen in a million years. We definitely jumped at the opportunity.
PB: So moving into your latest album release, On The Impossible Past, how has it been working with Epitaph? This has definitely been your biggest release so far.
GB: Yeah, definitely. It’s been excellent. Its been everything I hoped it would be. They love the album and believe in it as much as we do. And especially these days in the music industry you talk to your friends and ask how their label is treating them and there is always horror stories and you kinda feel bad and we’re like “we’re pretty good over in this camp” and you just feel lucky.
PB: That’s great. And Epitaph has been doing this so long and they’ve always had (mostly) an amazing roster and I’ve always heard they had a great staff.
GB: Yeah, they’re really easy going and very laid back.
PB: I saw you recorded at Atlas Studios with Matt Allison, and I’m a big fan of The Lawrence Arms who also recorded there. How did you guys get hooked up with recording at Atlas?
GB: We did our last LP there and we were good friends with Matt and the Chicago scene is such a tight knit family, so we ended up recording there again and he’s one of our good friends at this point. He’s someone we really, really trust.
PB: After your scattered tour this fall do you have any plans to record?
GB: Yea well that’s what we’re working on now…we’re going to start writing before we go on tour again and more in the fall and the goal is to release a record in the fall.
PB: With this past release, have you guys been satisfied with the response you’re getting?
PB: Yeah, I mean I guess satisfied is a tough word because you always want it to be something bigger and are always searching for the next level, but everything that happened exceeded all our expectations for sure.
PB: So with your past releases and then with this album, for you personally, have you had an album that has meant more to you than another?
GB: I would totally have to go with the new one. It’s such a hard question but I think it was the first time that when everything was said and done I was really satisfied with everything and there was no second guessing. I thought to myself “this is exactly how it is was supposed to sound.”
PB: And just to throw in the cliche random question: What are some bands you’ve always wanted to tour with (that you haven’t toured with already?)
GB: To be completely honest, we’ve gotten the chance to tour with almost every band we’ve wanted to but one would be Alkaline Trio. They were one of my favorite bands as a kid and we haven’t been able to tour or even play one show with them.