Published Dec 14, 2010For the past five years, Scranton, PA has perhaps best been known as the home of Michael Scott and his Dunder Mifflin employees on NBC's adaptation of The Office. After eight months of touring behind the excellent sophomore album Chamberlain Waits -- which claimed a spot in Exclaim!'s punk year-end best-of list -- the city's Menzingers just might change that.
Spending a few days off in Philadelphia before heading back to Canada for a string of shows through Quebec and Ontario with local road warriors the Flatliners (along with Fake Problems and Kitchener, ON's Mockingbird Wish Me Luck), Menzingers guitarist/vocalist Greg Burnett tells Exclaim! that the positive response to the album could not have been predicted.
"This year has just been crazy. It's been a dream come true... things just kept going up the entire time," he says. "Even going to places like Western Canada, places I never thought I would go to, or overseas, and seeing people that supportive over a record on a small label was just incredible."
For the unacquainted, Chamberlain Waits is a fiery intersection of Paul Westerberg and the Clash, fusing folk-influenced structures with instinctual melodies and enough melodic modern punk edge to satisfy a large spectrum of punk fans. After releasing and touring their 2007 debut A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology on Go-Kart Records, buzz had built and releasing Chamberlain Waits on small indie Red Scare Industries was a surprising move to some. Still, the strength of the record landed them more critical and fan praise, as well as supporting slots on bigger tours.
"Going on tour with Gaslight Anthem, there were like 2,000 people [a night]. It's been a rewarding thing, those tours, with people becoming new fans of the band, and supporting us when we headline shows," Burnett says. "You meet people that hear you for the first time, then come see us on the headline tours, so those have definitely grown from the great support tours that we've had."
Wanting to take advantage of the momentum, the Menzingers have already started writing songs for their next record. Burnett clarifies a Twitter call-out to fellow Scranton band Tigers Jaw, where the Menzingers vowed to make a more grunge record than the one their friends just released.
"They're our best friends," Burnett laughs. "We wrote one song so far and it definitely has a '90s feel to it, so it's kind of funny."
When asked if external pressure is the reason for the fast turnaround, Burnett can't deny that it's there. "Definitely... with this record having done well, there's pressure to keep that up, but we're trying to keep that out of our heads and write what we want to write.
"The most rewarding factor of everything that's happened [is that] we went in not trying to please anybody except us and close friends, and having other people that really enjoy it is incredible."
For a complete list of the Menzingers' Canadian dates, have a look at the schedule below.
12/14 Barrie, ON - The Mansion *
12/15 Kitchener, ON - The Schwaben *
12/16 Hamilton, ON - The Casbah *
12/17 Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dee's *
12/18 London, ON - Call the Office *
12/19 Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dee's *
12/28 Asbury Park, NJ - The Stone Pony ^
1/23 Philadelphia, PA - The First Unitarian Church ^^
* with the Flatliners, Fake Problems, Mockingbird Wish Me Luck
^ with Bouncing Souls, Leftover Crack
^^ with Tigers Jaw, Algernon Cadwallader, Glocca Morra