In March 2020, The Menzingers have been greater than 10,000 miles away from their beloved Philadelphia when the world began to know that COVID-19 was certain to turn into a history-altering world occasion. The band have been in Melbourne, Australia, to start one other leg of the world tour in help of their all of the sudden aptly titled sixth album, “Hi there Exile,” when every thing shut down.
“If we had left a day later, we wouldn’t have gone,” Tom Might, one of many band’s twin guitarists, remembers. “If we had left the day earlier than, we might have thought every thing could be completely wonderful. However on the day we left we have been like, ‘I don’t find out about this, I’m listening to all this stuff that make me suppose that is going to be a fairly large deal.’”
By the point their flight landed in Australia the New Zealand leg of the tour had already been postponed. The Australian authorities could be shutting down exhibits in a day and the USA would quickly comply with course. “We have been like, ‘Can we even play the present?’” Might says. “However we performed it, it was tremendous fucking bizarre. Then we hustled again right here and thought we’d postpone our subsequent tour arising for 2 weeks.”
The weeks turned months. Then the months turned years. The Menzingers, like all of their brethren within the music business, have been grounded from touring and compelled right into a form of exile. Ever because the inception of the band in 2006, the 4 members had been rattling close to inseparable. Greg Barnett (guitar and vocals), Eric Eager (bass), Joe Godino (drums) and Might didn’t simply tour collectively, they spent years dwelling in a home collectively. Previous to happening tour, bands need to tackle a ton of bills in preparation, and with every thing canceled, The Menzingers not solely discovered themselves in lockdown, but additionally with no solution to recoup the cash they put into the tour.
Merely put, the band wanted to discover a solution to proceed to make a dwelling. Plenty of bands had turned to Zoom acoustic exhibits, however The Menzingers have been somewhat lukewarm, to say the least. “I don’t care if the Zeta variant comes out and we get shut down once more,” Might says with greater than a tinge of frustration in his voice. “I’m not enjoying one other fucking Zoom acoustic present once more.” They may put out some shirts or different merch, however on the coronary heart of it the band needed to maintain making music. Then certainly one of them—Might thinks it was Barnett—steered re-recording “Hi there Exile.” The end result was “From Exile.”
The thought of re-recording an album not even a 12 months after its launch just isn’t one thing most bands would relish. But it surely gave the band the chance to play with a number of the songs, in addition to the possibility to study a wholly new solution to write music.
“We weren’t essentially attempting to ‘repair’ the opposite variations of the songs we did [on “Hello Exile”], we’re actually proud of that document,” Might explains. “After we have been initially beginning the challenge we had a very tough time and numerous actually tough conversations about how intense we have been going to be perfectionists. Fortunately, after numerous irritating conversations and doubting, we have been like, ‘We’re fucking doing this.’”
The expertise was a lot totally different than something the band had ever carried out beforehand. That they had at all times written collectively in the identical room, enjoying with issues and going forwards and backwards. Now they have been sending recordings to one another in Dropbox. The brand new means of doing issues was definitely galling at instances, however ultimately they created a document that stands out as a real reflection of the time it was created.
On June 5, 2020, the band launched “America Pt. 2,” a remodeling of their observe “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” from “Hi there Exile.” The observe dropped two weeks after the dying of George Floyd and the band held nothing again, notably the track’s second verse:
“Effectively, George Floyd was murdered by a cop
The entire world noticed the video and watched
Now justice is lengthy overdue
Seize your pitchforks, we’re heading to Pennsylvania Avenue.”
“Everybody was caught at dwelling and you’re feeling form of helpless,” Might says. “Lots of people have been within the streets and lots of people have been elevating cash, and we felt that we had a solution to commiserate with folks, elevate cash and have the ability to say one thing.” All proceeds from the discharge went to, and are nonetheless going to, native bail funds by Act Blue and Marketing campaign Zero to finish police violence.
In 2021, The Menzingers have been capable of get again on the street in some semblance of the life they’d lived for over a decade. At first, they’d the intention of sharing the stripped-down songs on “From Exile,” however as soon as they appeared out at a crowd of individuals able to let free for the primary time in over a 12 months, these plans modified virtually as rapidly as their touring plans had in March 2020.
“As quickly as we performed exhibits once more, we simply needed to be loud,” Might laughs. “Oh my God, it was fucking superb [to play again]. It wasn’t even bizarre, I anticipated it to be bizarre, nevertheless it wasn’t even bizarre. The exhibits have been superior.”
With a summer time stuffed with exhibits deliberate and the seedlings of latest songs forming of their heads, The Menzingers are able to say “Goodbye Exile” and get again to doing what they do finest.