Before The Menzingers played Scranton’s Vault Tap & Kitchen on June 18, American Culture took the stage to warm up the crowd. This wasn’t the first time American Culture’s Michael Kinney and Tom Miller shared a bill with members of The Menzingers; during the heyday of regional venues like Cafe Metropolis, Kinney and Miller’s former band Closing Statement shared the stage with Bob and the Sagets, a ska/punk band that featured members of The Menzingers.
“We just always used to go to shows and they were kind of something that inspired us to start playing,” Kinney said.
“We still come back to those days,” Miller added. “We hope we can do that same thing today for other people.”
Kinney and Miller, both 29, began playing guitar when they were 15. They taught each other by learning covers together, creating original material and playing together at bars. The two started Closing Statement during their tenure at West Scranton High School to play at talent shows and in friends’ backyards, but a year and a half ago the pair started a new venture with American Culture. Kinney and Miller have gone back to their roots; two guitars and stages in bars.
“We’re kind of building what we have now based on what me and Tom have built a foundation for,” Kinney said. “We plan on, within this next year, we’re going to try to put out a CD.”
Until then, the two are taking on hours-long sets made of fan favorite covers with the odd original composition thrown in.
“We try to play music that people like,” Miller said. “I personally like to see people jumping up and down getting into it. We’ve been playing a lot of covers and throwing in originals when we can. When you’re playing three hours a night it’s really hard to cover that all up with originals.”
According to Miller, those originals deal with love, communication between human beings and various facets of the relationships we build with each other. Kinney adds another meaning to the group’s name with his decription of their music.
“The American culture of Scranton, day to day things like whether or not your girlfriend left you at a bus stop or you’re just aggreviated with what you see on the news” Kinney said. “Things like that.”
For more information on Scranton’s American Culture, visit American Culture’s Facebook page.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts