Top 5 Must-See Phoenix Shows This Week

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The Menzingers - Yucca Tap Room - Wednesday, January 29

On the Impossible Past, Philadelphia quartet The Menzingers' third effort, is a wail of an album. Angry, passionate and, best of all, literate, the songs resonate with the kind of pure punk spirit that made bands like Black Flag and The Misfits so important to the American indie scene.

Speaking from a tour stop in Alabama, Mezingers singer/guitarist Tom May spoke with us about the band's sound and the ever-evolving nature of punk rock.

Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion said you guys play pure punk rock. What did he mean by that? I don't know if you can really pigeonhole it. I guess it's just honest.

Then what punk bands do you think are dishonest? Every once in a while, you get a wave of heavy music that seems to have a hugely commercial focus that is void of the true meaning of what it is trying to be. I am not calling any band out by name.

Would Green Day be considered dishonest? No way. They created a whole new kind of thing. It's just theatrical. The entire production is a different game from what it was before. They are not trying to be salt of the earth type of stuff. They are trying to create a giant performance with lights and makeup and all that stuff. The older I get, the more I see that the lines between genres are not well defined, not that straight. People have all kinds of reasons for doing all kinds of things.

The band's style is very anthemic, like a mixture of Springsteen and The Clash. I think that's the greatest compliment anybody ever gave us. We get kind of nostalgic about our music. We hope people can relate to it like we do. -- Darryl Smyers

Read the full interview with Tom May

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.