One of the bands that I find myself listening to a lot these days is called The Menzingers. They just released a new album called "Chamberlain Waits" and it once again kicks ass. Read on to see what Greg had to tell us.
PRT: For the people out there who haven't heard you before... if The Menzingers were the lovechild of two other bands, which acts would've had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Greg: Hmm lets go with The Clash getting hot and steamy with The Replacements while Mountain Goats frolic in the backyard.
PRT: When you guys released "A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology" you were still very young and - from what I've read in other interviews - you didn't really know what you were doing. How have things changed for you in those couple of years?
Greg: Well first, we learned what to do! To put things in perspective, I was 18 years old when we recorded that record. We had to get Messy, the engineer, to buy us beer during the session! We had never previously went on tour and at that point I think we were all living at our parents houses. Also, It seems like most bands gradually find there way into all of this and learn the ways from previous bands etc. This is our first go at being a full time band. We're still trying to figure everything out.
PRT: It's not the same thing but I remember when I started my zine ten years ago, I didn't have a clue either (or a single contact for that matter) but it was all new and exciting and a lot of fun. Then before you know it, there's a routine and it sometimes feels like work. Fun work but still... is it the same for you guys?
Greg: Yeah for sure. There's obviously something special about finally doing something you've only romanticized about before. I think the important part is to make sure everything stays fresh. Hotels are boring every night. Sometimes its totally worth taking up the offer for the "friend of Jimmys cousins girlfriends"- type of house party. That's usually your best chance to shoot some guns in the backyard and teach everyone cowboy shotguns.
PRT: You have a new album called Chamberlain Waits which is out now on Red Scare. So far all the reviews I've seen vary from positive to raving. What does that do with a guy?
Greg: It stokes a guy! We're really proud of the album and its rewarding to see positive press for it. Just dont talk to the dude from Absolutepunk about it. He'll go on some nonsense tangent.
PRT: I read somewhere that you wrote the majority of the songs in the two months before entering the studio. Are you guys procrastinators and do you need to feel some pressure in need to get it all done?
Greg: Haha I'd say we're pretty big procrastinators, but we found its much easier to write in a shorter block of time than a longer one. 9 outta 10 times Tom and I will come in with a super basic structure for the songs and then we'll build from there. Some of the songs were roughly structured a while back. I remember playing a recognizible version of "Timetables" at a pool party a week before we first moved to Philly, 2 years ago. I know Toms been kicking around Male Call for a while too.
PRT: You have a lot of literary references in your lyrics. Which one of you guys is the avid reader? And why should kids read more books rather than tweeting all day long?
Greg: I'd say we're all avid readers. I lucked out pretty hard with being the only person who can read while in the van though. Everyone else gets car sick. Maybe they should start tweeting less.
PRT: Another band that has literary references abound is The Lawrence Arms. Musically as well you have a thing or two in common with them. So I'm guessing they have been an influence for you . What's it like to know that you're pretty much in the same place as those guys now?
Greg: The Lawrence Arms are definitely a big influence on us and I'm really glad we can call them all friends. I still remember driving up to Scranton and buying "The Greatest Story Ever Told" on a complete wim, without ever hearing of TLA before. I must have listened to that record 10 times before I got home. Its still one of my all time favorites. We're definitely not at the same place as the Lawrence Arms but Brendan seems to think we will be soon. I think hes been drinking too much.
PRT: I heard something about an acoustic EP that's in the works. Is that really going to happen? Is it going to be all new material or acoustic versions of older songs?
Greg: It is going to happen! In fact, Tom and I played an acoustic show last night and the new songs went over pretty damn well. Hopefully we can get it out this fall.
PRT: You're touring quite a bit these days. Is The Menzingers now a full time job for you?
Greg: Pretty much. By the end of this year we'll have spent 6 months touring. so I guess its right in the middle.
PRT: Is there a European tour in the works? You guys should definitely come over!
Greg: It is! November? Dont quote me on that though. Yeah, lets go with November.