There are punk bands, and then there are punk bands’ punk bands. The Menzingers belong in the latter category — over the course of six albums released in the past decade, including their excellent forthcoming LP, After The Party which comes out this Friday, 2/3, the Philadelphia quartet have forged a strong following among punk fans as well as their fellow musicians. On numerous occasions while interviewing punk groups, I’ve heard the Menzingers name-checked as one of the scene’s most consistent recording acts and most galvanizing live bands.
Outside of punk circles, however, the Menzingers remain largely unknown. But there’s reason to think that might soon change. The invisible line that exists between the punk and indie-rock worlds has been breached in recent years by groups like the Hotelier, Pup, and Joyce Manor, all of whom have recently garnered positive press from indie music sites after being largely ignored in the past. Will the Menzingers be the latest band to cross this pointlessly large divide? Singer-guitarist Greg Barnett, who shares songwriting duties in the Menzingers with fellow guitarist Tom May, doesn’t seem optimistic.
“People in indie-rock circles write off our band because we’re immediately thought of as another punk band,” Barnett says in a phone interview from the Menzingers’ home base in Philadelphia. “We’re never going to be [well-regarded] in these pretentious indie scenes. It’s just who we are. That’s the kind of people that we are, the kind of shows that we go to, we just hang out with open-minded people. And if there are people or critics who write us off that quickly, about something as f*cking dumb as the kind of bands that we play with, I guess we never really wanted them as fans anyway.”