POZ Interview: The Menzingers

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 14, 2012

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PropertyOfZack caught up with Tom May of The Menzingers a few weeks ago for a great check-in interview. Tom and I discussed the band’s heavy touring schedule, opening up to a new range of fans, tour plans for the rest of the year, some winter writing, and more. Check it all out below! 

For the record, could you state your name and role in The Menzingers?
My name is Tom May, and I play guitar and sing in The Menzingers.

The band has been working incredibly hard since the release of On The Impossible Past, and it all started with your spring headliner. How was that tour and the start of the cycle?
It’s been great. We’ve been on tour for a really long time now and people just seem to be really into the record. There’s a new and different crowd of people coming to these shows that seem to only be familiar with the new record, so it’s been great.

I would say that the record has opened the band up to a new fan base. Has the reception been much more broad than you expected?
Yes, definitely. We didn’t have that high of expectations when it came out, but it’s absolutely been more than we expected or could have asked for. We’re really, really happy with it.

With all of this touring, have more of the new songs been moved into the set list?
Totally. We’re touring pretty much on that whole album right now. We’re playing a majority of the songs on that record every day and are mixing it up with some of the old ones as well. But we’ve been mostly playing songs off of the new record.

The tour with The Souls is coming to a close, and it’s an honor in itself. Have their fans been pretty open to you?
They’re great. It’s great playing to some of the more old school people who have never heard of us before and aren’t plugged into the same channels as how people normally find out about our band, like the Internet. By that I mean like a punk message board. It’s totally cool because it’s a group that I like to play in front of a lot and they’re very different. Their heart is very into it. They have kids and all work and are weekend warrior kind of people. They’re great people to be around and are fun to drink with and to be around.

A lot of changes came with the record including Epitaph Records. Would you say that you’ve been trying to take advantage of those new connections as much as possible this year?
We did the headlining thing earlier this year with Cheap Girls and The Sidekicks, which was so much fun. We’re using our ability to do different things with all types of tours and all types of people. We have the rest of the year pretty much planned out and we’re going to do a headlining tour in Europe and just keep doing as much as we can.

The Bouncing Souls tour finishes and then there’s a tour in Australia and much of the rest of the world. 
We went to Australia and Europe earlier in the year, and we’re going to go back to those places as well. We’re also going to hit up America one or two more times before the year is over, and Canada to wrap it up. 

Is the band worrying about tiring yourselves out at all?
A little bit, but not really. We’re trying to time our touring before the winter time, because the winter sucks. We’ve been out all year long, so we do get tired. Touring gets easier though as you play in front of more people. It’s more plush, or whatever. It’s not as stressful as it was for all those years because we’re not panicking for the meals. Touring with The Souls has been so cool too since they’re just comfortable people. It’s really cool to be around them. We’re getting tired though. We’ll be home for a few weeks, and that’s a nice break.

Then there’s Australia. And you’re going on from The Souls to Pennywise.
If you told me I’d be doing that five years ago, I wouldn’t believe you.

The band is headlining a European tour with The Front Bottoms.
They’re great. They did record release shows with us. They’re South Jersey kids, so we’re close together. We’re going to hang out a bit before we go over there. It’s always cool to tour with American friends in Europe since it’s such a strange experience.

There are dates with Propagandhi this fall in addition to Fest. Did you say that you’ll be writing this winter as well?
We will be writing this winter. We have no idea when we’re going to record, but we’re going to try to keep the momentum going there.

With this record, it seems like there has been a lot of new growth. It’s also positioned the band as a larger entity just in our punk scene. Is it nice being more respected now?
Absolutely. It’s great. There is a pressure to it, because we can’t write a shitty album - not that we were planning on it. People get excited about it, and seeing that is so exciting. It’s nice to make people happy. The next record that we put out, there will be more of an anticipation than the last one. Hopefully we can just keep doing that.

So the immediate plan is to tour for the rest of the year and spend a few months writing. And we won’t see a tour until it gets a little warmer?
Unless something comes up, we’ll probably take it easy in the winter. Winter’s a pain in the ass. I’m sure we’ll be writing towards another album, but nothing will be set in stone. Writing, practicing, and getting back into it. There’s not much time to practice, rehearse, and write on tour. You can write in the van, but you can’t write too much together as a band. When we’re not working at home, we’ll just meet up every day and hash out a bunch of songs.

Are there any other special plans whether it’s a music video or unreleased songs?
We’ll do something. We have some things in the works. 

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