Sneak Peek: Behind the Scenes With The Men, Brooklyn's Last Great Rock Band 

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Photographs by Kenneth Bachor

The following is an excerpt from an L Magazine cover story on Brooklyn rock band The Men, which will appear in full tomorrow, both online and in print in orange boxes all over the city.

The idea of being a “guitar band” in Brooklyn seems like a funny thing. As expansive as the scene is, with all sorts of offshoot niches, and as timeless as Tomorrow’s Hits feels, I can’t think of another local band that sounds anything like you.
MP: I’ve noticed that a few times when trying to figure out who to ask to play with us or something. I don’t think we really have too many people who fit in musically with what we’re doing.

NC: I also don’t really consider us from here anymore. I don’t live in Brooklyn anymore, but that’s not even why. It just feels like we’ve expanded our community. Now there are, like, bands out in California that we’re friends with through touring, you know? It just sort of grew outside of Brooklyn.

There are some pretty good guitar bands here, though. There’s a band called Pampers, who are really cool. We did a tour with them. And Nude Beach. Chuck [Betz] is a great guitar player. There’s a pretty thriving hardcore scene that we were loosely affiliated with when we started, and all of those bands have some pretty cool guitarists. But a lot of Brooklyn bands do use it in a different way where it’s secondary. There aren’t a lot of big solos. It’s changed.

So how did writing and practicing work with you, Nick? You mentioned you aren’t living in Brooklyn anymore…
NC: I was at that time. I just moved to Long Island last year, so I’m close by.

Ah, ok. I thought maybe you meant you moved to LA or something.
NC: I mean, if I were cool, that’s where I’d be. [Laughs]

That’s another thing that seems to be happening a lot these days, though: bands who have been closely associated with Brooklyn for some time are relocating.
MP: It’s tough to survive as a band here. It’s so expensive—not just rent but to find a place for a five-piece band to play. You could move somewhere else and have a house and land and space.

Did having neighbors ever become an issue during the writing/demoing process in your apartment?
MP: Well, we played during the day. I live over a subway train, so it’s pretty loud anyway. We also stripped down a little bit by being there. We deadened the drums, played acoustic guitars, had smaller amplifiers. That’s a totally new situation for us. We typically have big, loud amps. That definitely impacted how these songs came out.

NC: I’ve played in maybe 50 apartments in New York, and you can tell when you’re in a place that you shouldn’t be loud. We never felt that. I was comfortable. I mean, I was singing pretty loud with a mic. If we upset anyone, no one ever said anything.

The Men play Bowery Ballroom on March 5. Tickets are $12, $14 day of. Grab them here.

Slideshow
The Men
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The Men

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Photographs by Kenneth Bachor


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