The Men Discuss Getting Spiritual for 'New Moon,' Clarify Former Bassist's Dismissal

The Men Discuss Getting Spiritual for 'New Moon,' Clarify Former Bassist's Dismissal
The former hardcore punk and now somewhat less pin-downable Brooklyn quintet the Men strip down and dive into their country influences on the relatively personal New Moon, their newly released LP and fourth in five years.

"I think I have [mellowed out]," singer/guitarist Mark Perro tells Exclaim! in a recent interview. "I try to. I don't like being aggressive and angry all the time. I mean, I have my issues. I am angry a lot, but it's not something I see as a positive in my life. I try to find some kind of peace within myself, some comfort, so [I'm] not on edge or ready to... do something."

Linking his journey towards "that place of light" with an Ayahuasca ritual in which he partook before recording second LP Leave Home, Perro goes on to question the attitude of fans feeling betrayed by the Men's stylistic evolution.

"To me, being a punk or playing punk or whatever is that freedom to do whatever you want. There is no rule or limit on who you can be, or what you can be, or what you can say or what you can sound like. So it's interesting to me when punks have a problem with us for 'abandoning certain sounds.' We're trying to be as free artistically as we can be, and [we] allow whatever's floating around in our minds to come out. That's as punk as you can be, in my mind."

Perro also refutes the claim of former bassist Chris Hansell was was "kicked out" of the band because he couldn't afford to go on tour.

"There's a reason why certain people are not in the band any more," Perro clarifies. "It was too volatile and a little too violent or whatever. You can't survive if that's the way it's gonna be. You can't tour, 'cause how can you sustain yourself when you're constantly at the brink of blowing up?"

He continues: "When we parted with [Hansell], it was one of the most horrible feelings I've ever had: finally making the decision to take that away from someone. Especially because when you're in a band like ours you're not just a bass player, you're a big contributing part of that. Unfortunately, for anything to grow, these things are necessary. If that didn't happen, we would've broken up for sure."

The less-volatile version of the Men are set to head out on a series of tour dates, with all upcoming stops visible below. New Moon is out now on Sacred Bones.

Tour dates:

3/14 Paris, France - Point FMR
3/15 Kortrijk, Belgium - De Kreun
3/16 Bruxelles, Belgium - Magasin 4
3/17 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
3/18 London, England - Rough Trade
3/19 London, England - Garage
3/20 Nijmigen, Netherlands - Merlyn
3/21 Copenhagen, Denmark - Stengade
3/22 Berlin, Germany - Festaal
3/23 Prague, Czech Republic - 007 Club
3/24 Vienna, Austria - Arena
3/25 Budapest, Hungary - Gozsdu Mano Klub
3/26 Ljubljana, Slovenia - Menza
3/27 Zagreb, Croatia - Club Mocvara
3/28 Belgrade, Serbia - Grad Beograd
3/29 Skopje, Macedonia - Menza Pro Koritu
3/30 Tessaloniki, Greece - 8 Ball Club
3/31 Athens, Greece - AN Club
4/10 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
4/11 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
4/12 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue and 7th Street Entry
4/13 Northfield, MN - The Cave (Carleton College)
4/14 Winnipeg, MB - West End Cultural Centre
4/15 Saskatoon, SK - Amigos
4/16 Calgary, AB - Broken City
4/17 Edmonton, AB - Pawn Shop
4/19 Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret
4/20 Seattle, WA - Vera Project
4/21 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
4/22 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
4/24 Las Vegas, NV - The Bunkhouse
4/25 Salt Lake City, UT - 1133 Richards Street
4/26 Denver, CO - Hi Dive
4/27 Omaha, NE - Slowdown
4/28 St. Louis, MO - Firebird
4/29 Memphis, TN - TBA
4/30 Nashville, TN - The Stone Fox
5/1 Durham, NC - Pinhook
5/2 Washington, DC - DC 9
5/3 Providence, RI - Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
5/29 Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree Cafe
5/30 New Orleans, LA - Circle Bar
5/31 Austin, TX - Chaos in Tejas
6/1 Austin, TX - Chaos in Tejas