Livin’ Ain’t Easy

The MenzingersOur new album ‘Hello Exile’ is out October 4 on Epitaph Records. Whatever happens, this year Greg Barnett (guitar, vocals), Tom May (guitar, vocals), Eric Keen (bass) and Joe Godino (drums) will play in venues in our country for the first time ever. This will take place on 22nd May in La (2) de Apolo (Barcelona) and on 23rd in the venue Independance (Madrid), in a tour jointly organised by Primavera Sound and Hello Cleveland.

The Menzingers’ eagerly awaited fifth full-length ‘After The Party’ is finally going to presented in Amsterdam. The band continues to grow and refine their sound, incorporating elements of earthy and earnest heartland rock into their sound, already present on their widely acclaimed ‘Rented World’. T he Menzingers are classic rock bards with expired Warped Tour laminates, as rooted in Social Distortion and ska as they are Springsteen and Kerouac. Together with supports PUP and Cayetana this is going to be a night to remember.

A year later, The Menzingers had released their debut album, titled “A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology,” which made significant waves in the punk world, finding new fans, achieving a sound similar to the likes of the Lawrence Arms. The band moved to Red Scare Industries in 2009 to release their four-song EP, “Hold on Dodge,” before then embarking upon a tour alongside Broadway Calls.

Punk rock , more so than any other genre, comes with a built-in age limit. There’s only so long you can play weeknights at basement venues for a share of the door and travel expenses; only so many years your back can withstand so many nights on strangers’ sofas. Those that don’t age out, sell out: their youthful excesses repackaged to shill hatchbacks and low-fat spread. Thank god, then, for The Menzingers: a four-piece born in the Scranton, Pennsylvania punk scene who opted to channel their 30s into roots-rock with a latent edge, capturing the free-fall into adulthood proper with a certain deft magic.

For our 30th episode, we are joined by Tom May of The Menzingers Tom talks up through his musical journey from growing up in Pennsylvannia, the artists that influenced him and the first bands he formed. We discuss how The Menzingers’ sound has evolved over the years and their rise to fame. Tom talks about his love for the UK and his many friends here. On the day of recording, the band had released the first single ‘Anna’ from their upcoming album. We get into what The Menzingers have planned for the coming months and what we can expect from the new record.

Scranton, N.J.-based punk outfit The Menzingers have unveiled details of their forthcoming sixth studio album Hello Exile, set for release Oct. 4 via Epitaph.

The Menzingers’ Greg Barnett turned 31 this year, but his fans don’t need to be told that. On just about every record the Philadelphia band has released over the last 12 years, the singer and guitarist has alluded to how old he is and how he feels about it.

The Menzingers are an American punk-rock band from Scranton, Pennsylvania, formed in 2006. The band consists of Greg Barnett (vocals, guitar), Tom May (vocals, guitar), Eric Keen (bass) and Joe Godino (drums). To date, the band has released five studio albums, with their most recent, After the Party, released in February this year.

The Menzingers encourages a boisterous, energetic and loud atmosphere. Depending on the venue, fans can expect a packed crowd and a wild mosh pit from the start of the concert until the very end. Fans are also encouraged to sing along with the band. A typical concert may last at least an hour.

The Menzingers released a split 7″ EP with The Bouncing Souls in November 2013. Both bands released a new original song on the split, along with a cover of one of the other band’s songs. The Menzingers covered “Kate is Great” from The Bouncing Souls , and The Bouncing Souls covered “Burn After Writing” from On the Impossible Past.

As you work your way through the record it becomes apparent The Menzingers have said it all before. If it’s bittersweet longing of youth you crave look no further than On The Impossible Past. Five years later, putting a nostalgic spin on calling cigarettes smokes” and glorifying drunk driving does not make it any cooler than it ever was (these lyrical refrains have always been some of the most cliche aspects of The Menzingers’ image).

After the Party’s sophisticated yet emotionally raw songwriting also owes much to The Menzingers’ broadening their palette of influences in recent years. May, for instance, mined inspiration from the off-kilter song structure of Regina Spektor. Listening to her made me realize that you can go in with an idea and build the song around that, without it really having to go anywhere in particular,” he notes. Barnett, on the other hand, found himself swayed by their bus driver’s constant spinning of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell on a summer 2015 tour of Europe. You can say what you want about Meat Loaf, but his ability to craft catchy melodies is absolutely insane, where there’s ten of the strongest melodies ever written all just in one song,” says Barnett.

The Menzingers

We spent our 20s living in a rowdy kind of way, and now we’re at a point where it seems like everyone in our lives is moving in different directions,” says May of the inspiration behind After the Party. Adds Barnett: We’re turning 30 now, and there’s this idea that that’s when real life comes on. In a way this album is us saying, ‘We don’t have to grow up or get boring—we can keep on having a good time doing what we love.’” Bad Catholics” follows the release of After the Party’s lead single Lookers,” which premiered on Noisey in August.

On their new album Hello Exile, the Philadelphia-based punk band take their lyrical narrative to a whole new level and share their reflections on moments from the past and present: high-school hellraising, troubled relationships, aging and alcohol and political ennui. And while their songs often reveal certain painful truths, Hello Exile ultimately maintains the irrepressible spirit that’s always defined the band.

Midwestern States” is especially guilty of lyrics that don’t fit the rhythms of the verse. The chorus sounds like All Time Low with laryngitis. It’s here when you may first start to realize The Menzingers’ songwriting isn’t quite up to the standard they’ve set for themselves in the past.

As they did while making 2017’s After The Party, the band decamped to producer Will Yip’s Studio 4 in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania for an extended period of time. Across six weeks, they finessed a collection that spans anthemic road songs, Full Moon Fever-style acoustic layers and the pogo-ready punk they cut their teeth on.

It’s not fair to paint Hello Exile as a riskless album though, because it does actually takes some large strides forward. I Can’t Stop Drinking” is a great example of this. At five minutes and ten seconds, it’s the longest track on the album. I like that it challenges some of the Menzingers’ repeated imagery (…and we drove back drunk through the busy city streets.”) with what is an ironically sober look at themselves. Greg Barnett is rightly lauded for his short story approach to songwriting, often taking his lyrics behind the eyes of another character. But, I Can’t Stop Drinking” feels cutting, personal, and painful. I hope that both approaches survive into the band’s future, but it serves as a stark reminder of where all these pretty words are born.

Crunchy guitars on America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” and big riffs on Last to Know” conjure both grunge and 70’s hard rock. I Can’t Stop Drinking” and the title track are both country tracks that have more in common with Jason Isbell than Rancid. Strain Your Memory” taps to a similar beat as American Girl,” where Farewell Youth” closes the record out with a massive 80’s Springsteen influence. While these influences have always been infused into The Menzos’ sound, they now bring them to the forefront, which elevates the band from your record collection’s equivalent of drinking buddies to a certain level of elder statesmen of the scene.

While the 12 songs on Hello Exile don’t sonically deviate too much from the rest of The Menzingers’ previous six albums from the past decade or so, it offers a level of introspection relatively unheard in their genre. It’s an honest portrayal of where they are at this point in their life: not ready to settle down and give up the 4 A.M. nights at the dive bar down the street, but also realizing that those around them are in the process of doing so.

With new album ‘Hello Exile’, The Menzingers express all the pain and pleasure you experience in your early 30s. The punk veterans on Teles, tasty” Les Pauls – and why they’ve finally embraced their classic-rock influences on their raw new album.

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