INTERVIEW: Greg Barnett – The Menzingers


INTERVIEW: Greg Barnett – The Menzingers

One man's love affair with a 1978 JMP? Read on to find out more.

If you could describe The Menzingers’ sound to someone using one word, what would it be?


You spent a lot of 2014, 2015, and 2016 touring North America, Australia, and Europe. What has been your favourite tour moment so far?

It has all been such a great experience, it’s really difficult to choose one specific moment. We’ve been really fortunate to check off new cities we’ve always wanted to visit. We played in San Jose, Costa Rica this year which was an incredible experience. We played new cities in Eastern Europe which were a blast. I went bungee jumping off an old crane in a field in Poland. That was one for the books. Too many good times.

Tell us a bit about what’s in your current rig?

I’m running two Marshalls at the moment. I have a ’78 JMP 2204 running through an old ’70s Marshall cab fitted with Celestion Creambacks, and a JCM800 2203 with a matching slant cab. The two blend together perfectly, with the JMP taking on that classic ’70s crunch and the JCM rounding out the bottom and adding a bit more gain. Thankfully we have a wonderful FOH who never tells me to turn down.

The ’78 became a bit of an obsession before I tracked the right one down. During the summer of 2013 we were touring Europe with our friends The Arteries. We’d just started the tour in Zurich and we all agreed to share gear that night since the venue was in a basement bar located down two flights of windy stairs. Luckily for me I got to borrow their guitarists ’78 JMP and I immediately fell in love. Before then I wasn’t much of a gear guy. It all seemed a bit too complicated for what I was trying to do, but that night in Zurich was a bit of an epiphany for me. I heard the sound in my head that I always wanted.

What do you love about Marshall amps?

I love the simplicity of the single channel Marshall circuits. JCM800’s, Master Volume JMP’s, 4 holer JMP’s, and of course Plexis. Its the perfect guitar tone. And you know it’s funny, because the amps simplicities create a very complex tone. I love that.

Also, who doesn’t love a good Marshall cabinet?! I’m becoming a bit of a hoarder in that department.

Your new album ‘After The Party’ has just come out, what was the recording process like?

I think I can speak for everyone here and say it was a career highlight. Seriously, it was an incredible experience working with Will Yip. We made the record we always wanted to make and had an absolute blast every day.

We took a different approach this time around and focused on building one song at a time. This lead to much more experimentation than we have done in the past. Will broke us out of some songwriting habits we’ve developed over the last 10 years as well, which was really refreshing.

Also, this was the first time we’ve ever owned gear worthy of recording with. Tom and I knew exactly how we wanted our guitars to sound, and Will was the best at helping us achieve that. I mean, have you ever dimed a 100 watt JCM800 and played a green Russian Big Muff through it? Its heaven. That sound should be on every record as far as I’m concerned.

Can you remember what your first guitar/guitar amp was like?

Yeah! My first guitar was a white Mexican Fender Stratocaster my father bought me for my birthday. I still have it and bring it out occasionally. I’ve modified it over the years and it still rips! I switched out the pickups for Seymour Duncan Antiquities and replaced the neck with an American Strat neck. I think my father thought it would end up in the closet after a month. Pretty crazy to think how far that little investment has traveled.

My first amp was a Marshall Valvestate combo. I bought it used in Scranton at our local music store Gallucci Music. I don’t think I even plugged it in first, I was just so stoked to have an amp with a Marshall logo on it, haha.

What would you be doing if you never picked up the guitar?

Well, at 14 I was dead set on becoming a professional skateboarder. Unfortunately I didn’t really have the talent for that, haha. Not exactly sure where my life would’ve taken me but I cant imagine it without music or the guitar.

If you had to give one bit of advice to young, aspiring musicians, what would it be?

Just have fun. Don’t get caught up in the business of it all and just have fun with it. Play loud and often with your friends. Its incredible how far some good songs can take you.