Menzingers vocalist Greg Barnett announces first solo album with title track and music video
From a press release:
Today, Greg Barnett, co-vocalist/guitarist of Scranton punk band The Menzingers, announced his debut solo album, “Don’t Go Throwing Roses in My Grave,” will be released digitally and on CD Feb. 18 via Epitaph Records.
The album, which is presented under the name Gregor Barnett, will also be available on vinyl on March 18.
Written and recorded in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Don’t Go Throwing Roses in My Grave” is a sonic departure from Barnett’s more punk-leaning work with The Menzingers, drawing on the gritty, off-kilter Americana of Tom Waits or Warren Zevon as it faces down loss and doubt in search of relief and redemption.
“It was this perfect storm,” Barnett said. “The band couldn’t tour, I was going through a really difficult time, and I was stuck at home watching my family struggle with illness and death and hardship. The only thing I could do was write my way through it.”
After working on demos and mapping out the project in his home studio in Philadelphia, Barnett brought the songs to longtime collaborator and producer Will Yip (Scranton indie rockers Tigers Jaw, Mannequin Pussy, Quicksand) for a two-and-a-half-week recording session.
“Writing’s always been my way of making sense of the world.” Barnett treated his early lockdown writing sessions as something akin to therapy, a place to process his anxiety about his family’s health and well-being and the grief that came with the passing of his grandfather.
“I was writing because it felt good to write,” he added. “But once I got three or four songs together, I began to realize that there was a story there and that I should be documenting how I felt as I made my way through this really challenging chapter.”
Barnett also enlisted Yip to play drums and brought in his Menzingers bandmates Eric Keen to play bass, Joe Godino to add percussion, and Tom May to take the record’s cover photo. The result is 10 vulnerable and stripped-down tracks that serve as a reminder to cherish the ones we love and the connections we have with them in what precious little time we’ve been given.
Today, Barnett shared the title track, in which he takes a look at the ritual of laying flowers in memory of the deceased.
“It’s a beautiful way to honor the people we’ve lost, but I think a lot of times we forget to appreciate our relationships with those people while they’re still here,” he explained.
“I wanted this song to be a celebration of life and what we have before it’s gone.”
He also set some tour dates in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland in support of the upcoming record, though nothing yet in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The trek kicks off at the House of Independents (572 Cookman Ave., Asbury Park, NJ) on Feb. 24 and stops at the Mercury Lounge (217 E. Houston St., New York, NY) on Feb. 25 and Johnny Brenda’s (1201 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia) on Feb. 26.
Meanwhile, The Menzingers will return to their hometown for a Black Friday concert at the Scranton Cultural Center on Nov. 26.
Typically, the group hosts an annual Holiday Show in December just before Christmas in the Grand Ballroom of the SCC with Tigers Jaw and other Scranton natives, but they decided to take a break in 2019 and plan something special for 2020 – then the pandemic put the entire music industry on hold. The Menzingers’ last show in NEPA was an acoustic set at the Gallery of Sound in Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 6, 2019.
Canadian alternative rock band The Dirty Nil and Scranton indie/alt rocker James Barrett and his band were just announced as the supporting acts for this all-ages show at the Scranton Cultural Center (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton). Tickets are on sale now via ticketmaster.com.
See NEPA Scene’s photos and video of The Menzingers’ acoustic in-store appearance here, photos of them playing the 2019 Vans Warped Tour in New Jersey here, and check out our review and photos of the band’s 2018 Bethlehem concert here.
Photo by Jason Riedmiller Photography/NEPA Scene