Gregor Barnett, guitarist/co-vocalist for The Menzingers, announces his debut release Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave due out digitally and on CD February 18 via Epitaph Records. The album will be available on vinyl 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,” says Barnett. “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.”
“Writing’s always been my way of making sense of the world,” Barnett explains treating his early lockdown writing sessions as something akin to therapy, a place to process his anxiety about his family’s health and wellbeing and the grief that came with the passing of his grandfather. “I was writing because it felt good to write,” he adds. “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.”
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 (Mannequin Pussy, Quicksand) for a two-and-a-half-week recording session. 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 ten 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 shares the title track, “Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave,” 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 explains. “I wanted this song to be a celebration of life and what we have before it’s gone.”