After releasing their fifth studio album After the Party at the beginning of 2016, Pennsylvania punk rock group The Menzingers have been touring non-stop. They’re back on UK soil this January for a headline show at SWX with a hefty support bill featuring PUP and Cayetana.
Menzingers vocalist Tom May takes some time out from his schedule to chat to Nitelife about the last year and what’s in store for 2018. As we get him on the phone, the band have just finished headlining two dates at Asbury Park in New Jersey with fellow punk bad The Flatliners. Tom describes the show as a homecoming: ‘We have done Asbury Park a number of times and we love it. Both shows were sold out which is awesome.’
The four-piece have an unusual set up in that frontman duties are shared between Tom and Greg Barnett
The four-piece have an unusual set up in that frontman duties are shared between Tom and Greg Barnett, both of them brandishing a mic and guitar, with other band members Eric Keen and Joe Godino on bass and drums.
Tom and Greg seem to take centre stage on rotation, delivering their own verses with neither overshadowing the other – their two voices perfectly complementing each other. Not to mention Eric and Joe, who do a fantastic job of shining individually whilst also showcasing how well they gel as a band.
It is very much a team effort but both Greg and I write separately and then join forces to make the song what it is
‘It is very much a team effort but both Greg and I write separately and then join forces to make the song what it is,’ Tom explains.
It’s no secret that The Menzingers love to party. Throughout their records are constant, not-so-underlying references for their love of drink and drugs, and some of the mistakes it’s caused them to make. The new album’s title track, for example: To the nights we lose our self control / From the sex, from the drugs, from the rock and roll.
there were some nights I was definitely too pissed on the stage
‘I remember there were some nights I was definitely too pissed on the stage,’ says Tom. ‘It was fun and we’re calmer now – though we still love to drink.’
The band have described After the Party as a ‘love letter to our 20s’, which echoes the nostalgic sentiments in some of the lyrics. Nitelife asked Tom if he could give his 20-year-old self any advice, what it would be:
The band have described After the Party as a ‘love letter to our 20s’
‘Get your shit together. Stop worrying about the things that you can’t control. That would be the main advice I’d give my 20-year-old self. But it’s too late for that now, eh?’
Despite more than 10 years as a band, The Menzingers retain a fierce love of touring. Even after a solidly booked out 2017, Tom says that they are excited to get straight back on the road for 2018 with their European tour.
‘We love touring and, as great as it is spending time with family, I always like to get back on the road. The UK is one of the first places we ever toured so we absolutely love coming back.
‘Bristol is great, we don’t normally get a chance to look around the cities we play in, but we’re going to try and change that this time.
Bristol is great, we don’t normally get a chance to look around the cities we play in, but we’re going to try and change that this time
‘The major difference between the US and the UK is how polite you guys are! You form an orderly queue at the bar – what is that about? I think the UK crowd is calmer than the US lot, but both are awesome.’
Looking beyond the Bristol show and European tour, Tom teases at even more shows in the pipeline, as well as some new Menzingers material for 2018.
we will be recording new stuff at some point
‘We’ve got a few big shows coming up, but I can’t tell you what they are yet! And we will be recording new stuff at some point too.’
Tom and the band can’t wait to start their UK tour and quite frankly, neither can we. Catch them at SWX on 31 January for a guaranteed epic gig. See you in an orderly queue at the bar!
Words by Hannah Ryan
Photos by Charles Wrzesniewski