(Photo credit: CharlesWrzesniewski)
The Menzingers have it going on. Their last release, After the Party is one of my favorite new albums (and I’m not alone in that—it’s been highly regarded as one of the band’s best releases), and they’re currently on tour with Frank Turner and Lucero.
Before they hit the road with Frank Turner and co. they made a stop at Boston Calling to play alongside weekend headliners The National, Alvvays, Eminem, The Killers, and more, which is where we caught up with them to discuss their most recent release, hometown favorites, and recommendations in music. Take a read.
You’re playing Boston Calling, a festival that I love (being from Boston myself), and feel like has really helped establish the Boston music scene. What are some things you’re most proud of when it comes to your hometown of Philadelphia?
I’m proud to have the most progressive District Attorney in the country, Larry Krasner. I’m proud to be involved with a music community that always seems to be in the spotlight. I’m proud to call South Philly home, though some hot shot developers just tore down our practice space which definitely sucks. I love Philadelphia, it’s a great place to call home.
Speaking of Philadelphia, your most recent release, ‘After the Party’ came out in February of last year, and you recorded with Will Yip. You’ve mentioned that it’s an extremely tight-knit community—what do you think makes that possible? How do you think that community continues to be nurtured and grow?
I think the high level of support and trust our little community has for each other is what keeps it so tight-knit. The music industry can feel like the Wild West sometimes, so it’s nice having friends that are like-minded creatively to reign the madness in. We’re so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazingly talented people, especially someone like Will Yip. There’s an energy this community puts off that’s really inspiring.
I’ve read (Greg) say that “Lookers” has one of your favorite choruses. What makes a good chorus to you? (either in your own songs or when listening to other artists)
I think that song in particular has a chorus that really defines the song. Like, if the chorus was anything else the song wouldn’t work, it had to be that one. I vividly remember writing it in my girlfriend’s kitchen one morning before rehearsal. I was so pumped on it, felt like it just clicked and that we’d be able to put it together effortlessly, which is pretty much what happened.
Your tour with Frank Turner and Lucero starts in just a few weeks, and by all accounts you tour quite a bit! What’s one of the most valuable things you’ve learned from another artist while on the road?
Yeah, so excited for the tour to get rolling. There really is no how to book when it comes to touring, so we’ve absolutely learned everything from the bands we’ve been fortunate enough to tour with. I think some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is how to break out of bad touring habits, which is still a bit of a struggle quite honestly, but its something that always has room for improvement.
In relation to the business side of this industry, what do you wish you had known when you were just starting out?
Against Me! gave us some great advice when we were just starting out. They told us it’s okay to say no. Sometimes it feels like you can’t, and you need to accept everything thats presented to you, but its really not true. The beauty of being in an independent band is that you get to call all the shots. Its something so simple thats often overlooked. You see it all the time, bands burn themselves out so quickly by accepting every tour offer in front of them. That ain’t healthy.
Taking a note from Michael Ian Black’s ‘How To Be Amazing’ podcast I want to end this by asking for your recommendation in any category. Any food, person, show or thing from your life that you recommend.
I think the newest John Prine record is really amazing. I’m listening to it right now while doing this interview actually. Highly recommended. I want “When I Get to Heaven” to be played at my funeral.
What’s coming up for The Menzingers?
Well we’re just about to start this tour with Frank Turner, Lucero, and the Homeless Gospel Choir which is really exciting. I love getting to travel out west, and for all the touring that we do its still exciting crossing into California. Something about it will always makes me feel like a kid. My own manifest destiny I guess. After this tour we’re doing a summer European tour and then taking some time to write a new album this fall.