INTERVIEW: The Menzingers

Published in The Music (NSW, VIC, QLD) on, Jan 2017


Debating The Pros And Cons Of Touring Six Months A Year

“It’s a daily question sometimes; it can really be a struggle,” The Menzingers’ Greg Barnett tells Daniel Cribb on choosing the touring life against family and friends’ guidance.

Although “washing off the hangover” from a gig the night previous, The Menzingers’ Greg Barnett is chirpy and ready to conquer the world — or at least do his part to make it a better place — when he picks up the phone.

“We did a charity event in Philly, we just played acoustic last night,” Barnett begins. “We were able to raise some money for the welcoming centre for new Pennsylvanians — it’s a resource centre for immigrants coming into Pennsylvania, looking for housing, work and schooling.”

With The Menzingers forming in 2006, Barnett and his band mates spent most of their 20s touring the world, so it’s not surprising they’d be keen to support an initiative that helps cultural diversity thrive. “The world is just so, so big, and there are so many ideas and cultures, and the beauty of seeing all of that is eye-opening, you know.

“We’ve seen the positives of [extensive touring] and have been really fortunate to be able to spend such a large portion of our lives already travelling, seeing the world and learning about everything and enjoying life as much as we possibly can,” he explains.

But of course, such a lifestyle doesn’t come without sacrifice and anxieties. “It’s a daily question sometimes; it can really be a struggle. It’s really emotionally taxing for not only the four of us, but for the other people involved in our lives; significant others, family members. To be gone for more than half of a year isn’t an easy thing to put on anybody.”

Celebrating their ten-year anniversary in 2016 as they penned their fifth studio album, the aptly titled After The Party, those questions formed the foundation for arguably their deepest record to date. “Is this something we’re going to do for another ten years?… Are we going to just put all of normal life on hold for another ten years?

“I think that we’ve definitely [reflected] in the past, but this is the first time that it has had a positive tone to it — it’s like, ‘Yeah, you know what, we can.’ We’ve spent ten years designing our own lives and living outside the norm.

“Our family and friends have guided us to not do this, and we’ve decided to carve a path for ourselves, and that’s what I think about that record; we kind of won — we did what we wanted to do with life.”