INTERVIEW: The Menzingers

Published in The Music (WA) | 14.05.14 | Issue # 38



Until a few years ago, falling asleep to the smell of animal faeces and sounds of intercourse were nothing out of the ordinary for The Menzingers. Co-lead vocalists/guitarists Tom May and Greg Barnett sit down with Daniel Cribb to detail their rise to success.


spent all day getting drunk in a pool!” The Menzingers guitarist/vocalist Greg Barnett declares to a sold-out Rosemount Hotel, halfway into their Australian tour supporting local punk legends The Smith Street Band. But touring life hasn’t always been so easy for the Pennsylvania four-piece, and while they’ve a slew of friends in countries all around the world that show them unrelenting hospitality, there was a time…

“It was wild,” guitarist/vocalist Tom May admits, sitting in the beer garden of a small Irish pub whilst in Perth. “Greg and I stayed at a punk house in Savannah, Georgia and we just walked into a room and this guy just pointed to a corner and was like, ‘Yeah, you guys can stay right there, just don’t lift up those buckets because there’s dog shit under there.’ And there was a crusty punk couple just making out in the corner. But at the time, it wasn’t bad at all; we just got wasted every day.”

“That’s the thing. Looking back, those first couple of tours were my favourite tours I’ve ever done in my life,” Barnett adds. “And it’s definitely not something I would ever want to do now, but at the time it was fucking great and now, this is fucking great.”

They’ve hit Australia three times in as many years – in 2012 with Soundwave, 2013 supporting Pennywise and now with The Smith Street Band. “Basically touring for us really picked up after Chamberlain Waits [2010]. After Chamberlain Waits, we kind of found ways to make it work and now, I don’t know, it just feels comfortable, it feels like being home in a sense,” Barnett says. “It’s crazy to say that I can sit in Perth and be comfortable. I’m on the edge of the world.”

“I think you made a really good comparison yesterday when you compared it to a sailor’s life,” May adds. “You’re kind of just gone for an extended period of time and that’s all you know. Then you come home for a bit and it’s weird, you live a dichotomous life like that.”

Their third trip here brings the band’s new record, Rented World, an album truly reflective of their past few years while being a little darker at times. “I think a lot of it has to do with getting older,” May explains. “You can’t foresee what’s going to happen five years from any point in time and as the world changes and things get different for us, we try to relate that out to other people and hope they can relate to the emotions.”

“I think if I was going to generalise anything with this record, there is more of a conscious effort to look at what’s going on around you and just better it,” Barnett adds. “I think we’re just getting too old to avoid life anymore. We kind of just have to make those grown-up decisions and be a bit more responsible than we were in the past.”