The Menzingers Interview with Greg Barnett

Hey guys! After only a few tries I’m very proud to publish this interview with Greg Barnett of The Menzingers! I caught up with him after their record release show at the Redwoods in Wilkes-Barre, PA and he said he’d be down to do it. Check it out!

You guys are obviously a tight bunch of friends, how long have you all known each other?

Too long. I met everyone through playing shows with Bob and the Sagets. I was in a shitty band and would constantly end up at the same after parties as the other three. Joe Eric and Tom have been friends since they were super young. They were in a really good band. It’s crazy to think so many kids would come see them every weekend, including myself. You can say whatever you want about ska, reggae, or their band name, but the fact is they had a better live show then most bands today. Kids are so fucking moody these days. I just wanted to dance with my friends.

What bands have influenced you guys growing up and even up to now?
The Clash, Nirvana, Smoking Popes, and Alkaline Trio. That’s just me. More importantly our friends bands. Here’s an example.. One night at Test Pattern I was watching Ben Walsh play guitar and I noticed the way he would phrase his chords using an open D position. I went home and did the same thing. I used that to write Rivalries. Here’s another example… One night I was recording an EP for my friend Danny of Beako at our old practice spot next to the Sun Hotel in South Side. We did it live in this little room Tom would sleep in occasionally. In the other room their was a party going on. Danny started to play a song called “Casey” and it was the most beautiful song I had ever heard. The first verse went “Casey, gets drunk before she does the dishes. When will we listen to our boredom”. It’s still the best song I ever heard. I asked Danny if I could use a bit of it for a song I was working on. He agreed. I’m still in debt to him.

What is your favorite song to play live?
Good Things.

Looking back to A Lesson In The Abuse of Information Technology, your style has evolved into something completely new. What made you take the direction your newer albums are in now?
Growing up, failed relationships, and growing up.  I never know how to answer that question, you know? Sometimes things just happen.

The lyrics over your past few releases have gotten very personal and powerful, what drives writing them?
Well personal experiences.. Besides Springsteen, my favorite band is The Mountain Goats. Both John and Bruce (we’re on a first name basis now) have a way of breaking your heart and gluing it back together again in 3-5 minutes. I love that. I’ve always loved bands that were brutally honest, and I constantly push myself to do the same. The best songs are the ones you’re afraid to share.

Tell us what is it like thinking back to playing at skate parks, compared to the recently touring with Rise Against and A Day to Remember?
Skateparks are more fun. I never thought I’d play an arena so saying it was a dream come true would be a lie. It was an incredible opportunity and I had the time of my life. I can’t say enough great things about Rise Against and their crew. That being said, our band just doesn’t really work in that kind of atmosphere.

What has all this recent experience given you all as a band?
While this is technically my “job”, don’t ever ever refer to it as a job. Never take being in a touring band for granted. Take tons of pictures and go sightseeing. If theres five people or 5,000 people at the show don’t let it affect your mood. Finally, fuck the music industry. Just have fun. Jut have fun. Just have fun. I’ve watched way too many bands play their sets with zero enjoyment at all. If you’re not having fun then what’s the fucking point? I want nothing to do with that.

Have you had that moment yet where you will be walking somewhere and some random person would stop and say, ‘Hey! You’re in The Menzingers!’

Yes.

What is the meaning behind the cover of  On The Impossible Past? It’s very different than anything before. 

Different is good. Art should have many interpretations. I’d be cheating the very idea of its purpose if gave you my interpretation. Take it for what you want. No more holding hands.

Is the girl in the “blue cotton dress” in Burn After Writing the same one in Times Tables?

No, ones from Lake Ariel and ones from Scranton. Two places that are light years away from eachother. Its a popular color dress for women our age apparently. You don’t want to meet either of them.

What does the future hold for The Menzingers? Is another album already on the mind?

I don’t know, I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m in no rush. Yes, there’s always another album on the mind. We just need to experience more to write it.

What is it about Kevin Bacon that is so delicious?
He’s a heartthrob for sure.

If you could have an unlimited supply of a candy bar, what would it be?

Paydays probably.

-I fucking love you guys.

I love you.

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