As an avid music lover, I can’t help but try to stay on top of my game with the latest talent and trends. Whether it’s attending live shows, downloading the iTunes free single of the week, or just browsing the shelves of the rare existing record store, I always find myself on determined missions to find the next best thing. Being a fan of the punk genre, I was instantly pleased when I stumbled upon Philadelphia’s best-kept secret, The Menzingers, back in 2006. Far from a secret now, they’re gaining national attention, touring like crazy, and earning all of the recognition they deserve. They’re also not your average punk band, to say the least. Maybe it’s their deep lyrics or hypnotic guitar lines; whatever it is, it’s perfection. I’ve seen them at festivals and in intimidate settings, which gave me a deeper perspective as to how talented they actually are. Each one of their releases are thoroughly enjoyable, for they never try to outdo themselves, yet always find a way to expand their sound and fanbase.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with The Menzingers’ drummer, Joe Godino, and we discussed touring, hobbies, new music, and more. It’s always refreshing to hear about the normalcy of musicians who seem to be so out of reach for the common folk like myself. The band does not forget where they came from, and will always do it for the pure love of making music. Touring with big names humbles them, and they are grateful for every opportunity they are presented with. Long story short, fans have a lot to look forward to in the near future. Check out what Joe and I discussed below:
The Menzingers just wrapped up a tour with Hot Water Music. How did that go?
It was amazing. One of my favorite tours we’ve done. The shows were all packed with lots of energy. The general vibe of the whole tour was positive, just a bunch of great people helping each other out.
You guys have really racked in an intense lineup of touring, with bands like The Front Bottoms and Propagandhi. Having toured with these groups, what do you think you value more: the experience or the awesome exposure?
The experience of touring with bands that have influenced you is very humbling and will never get old. Every tour we do, we learn something new from the bands we tour with. The exposure is a bonus for sure, but watching your favorite bands every night and knowing that you’re part of the production is an awesome feeling.
For fans that may not know much about the band, how would you describe The Menzingers?
Robin Williams, Simon Pegg, Ryan Gosling and Jimmy Fallon started a punk band.
Which would you say you enjoy more: touring or studio time? Are they even comparable?
The isolation of being in the studio and the constant movement of being on tour can create an awesome balance, except when you’re driving through North Dakota and it’s freezing and you can’t feel your toes. Then I’d take the studio.
I’ve seen you guys perform live multiple times, each time better and better. However, the setlists are always different. How do you choose it? Is it a vigorous process?
We just like to change it up. Playing the same songs every night can become stale. I think it adds more energy to the set when you swap some songs out for others. Makes you feel like less of a robot.
Do you prefer playing at a smaller, more intimate venue, or an arena-type atmosphere?
There’s nothing quite like playing a festival in front of thousands of people. It’s one the biggest adrenaline rushes I’ve ever experienced. You definitely lose the intimacy factor, though. We’ve always felt more comfortable playing when people are right up in front screaming lyrics back and getting beers thrown at our heads.
I think as fans we enjoy being right up front as well! What is your most memorable tour moment?
Landing in London for the first time was pretty surreal. That, and the time Darrell Hammond from SNL did a comedy show in a different room of the venue we played in New Orleans. [We] went and watched after our set and talked with him for a bit.
Rumor has it you guys will be headed back into the studio after this tour. What can fans expect for the next release?
We’re going to start writing after this tour. I am not exactly sure when we will record, but hopefully by the end of the year. We have a couple of songs that we’ve been working on, but it’s too soon to say how the next album will sound overall.
Some of us tend to forget that there is life outside of the studio for The Menzingers. When you’re not playing music, what are some of your hobbies?
If I could watch and play soccer all day, I would. It’s kind of hard to kick a soccer ball while in a van on tour, but after a few post-show drinks I’ve definitely tried.
The band has already achieved so much in just a short period of time. Many musicians strive to do half of the things you all have done. Is there anything you still feel you need to accomplish?
I would love to do a Live Aid type thing where I sing a song about world peace with a bunch of ‘80s celebrities. I think that’s how you know you’ve made it. That and play bongos in Toto.
The Menzingers will play at The Stanhope House, in Stanhope, NJ, on Wednesday, March 6. For more information, go to facebook.com/themenzingers.