Robbery and recovery as Tom May looks back at the last twelve months with Rock Sound.
In May this year The Menzingers lost money, passports, gear, personal effects and more after their van was robbed following a show in Manchester. Shit sucked. But shit got a lot better for the band as vocalist Tom May told us for our end of year review in the latest issue of Rock Sound, click here to pick up the magazine or scroll down for a platinum-lined tale.
You wrote in a blog post that the show you played just before you were robbed was incredible, can you elaborate on what made it so life-affirming? How quickly did shock turn to anger when you found out about the van break in and when did the desperation kick in when you realised that money and passports were gone?
"That show was amazing. From the first chord we struck to the last there was an explosion of energy. The smiling faces and the sweaty fists in the air came together for an experience we rarely get to see. It was almost as if some perfect storm came about and swept us all up into it. Everyone in the band was in an incredible mood. After the show we were celebrating with drinks and dancing. It was kind of a 'too good to be true' setting.
Shock at finding out we were robbed turned to anger immediately. We raced up and down alleyways with flashlights hoping to find a trace of the bags. We hopped fences and talked to bouncers at all the clubs in that immediate area. I even harassed some poor kid who was acting shady and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We smashed rubbish bins and were generally feeling helpless and violent. After we made it back to our friend's house we just sat in a circle on the floor drinking scotch and trying to sort out our plans. We were fortunate enough to sort out new passports within a couple of days at the US Embassy. It may have been the only time in American history that federal bureaucracy functioned how it was supposed to. We were really counting on that because we were scheduled to leave the country to play more shows immediately."
How long has it taken to resolve all the emotional problems that event caused (I'm thinking about the journals at this point)?
"I don't think you can ever emotionally resolve something like that. It's not a tragedy and we've all dealt with worse things, but some things like that can't just go away."
What were the knock on effects for the band losing that much money? What form did support from friends and fans take? And what did that do for you?
"That's the platinum lining of the whole situation. The band losing that much money is just unfathomable, that's some next level loss of function shit, but people sent us money. People from every corner of the world sent all kinds of money. We actually had to give money back. Going through the list of donations brought tears to our eyes. It was almost as if every person we've ever worked with came out of the woodwork to help us out."
Where does that van robbery sit in 2012, was it the worst moment or not even close? What were some of the best moments?
"It was absolutely the worst moment. If you really sit there and think about it, that means we've had a damn good year. We put our album out in the beginning of the year and have just watched the band grow since then. We've made a heap of new friends and fans. We've also learned so much about this life from people like The Bouncing Souls and Rise Against. I mean we got to tour with fucking Propaghandi!!!! For Chrissakes!!!! Bands we are such good friends with like The Sidekicks, Cheap Girls, and Title Fight all put out amazing albums this year. And we got to wrap up 2012 with a quick leg of shows in Canada with our great friends in The Flatliners. All in all 2012 has been the best year of my entire life. I don't see a reason why it won't just keep getting better too."