Interview with Johnny Mennell and Craig Robinson of The Family Ruin

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I had the chance to sit down with Johnny Mennell frontman for The Family Ruin and Craig Robinson lead guitarist and supporting vocals for the group about their first U.S. tour, what it’s like to be on tour with label owner and guitarist for Asking Alexandria, Ben Bruce, and what’s coming next to the group. They’re hitting the ground running and not letting up any time soon. Check out what the two had to say below!

Congrats on the first full US tour! How’s it been being on the road with Ben [Bruce] your label owner?
Johnny: It’s been wild.
Craig: Fucking mental!

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Johnny: This is obviously our first tour of the US and the first big tour that we’ve done, which is absolutely an understatement. Not only do we have a proper hectic scheduled with massive shows we also have to drink like Asking does. So we have to drink all the time because the Asking boys like to drink, they’re British, they’re from the same hometown as us so we have to step up our game to make sure we represent as well. There’s been a few hangovers, some chaos.

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I heard from someone that one of you tried to get off the bus at 70 mile an hour?

Johnny: So we’re talking about that?! I thought we were keeping that quiet. That may have been our other guitarist, nearly almost killed himself and nearly the whole bus load of people. To be honest I’m going to give Langley diminished responsibility on that one and blame Ben Bruce. He made him drink an entire bottle of vodka straight so I think said guitarist thought the bus was stationary when in fact it was travelling down a highway.

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Craig: In his defense I don’t even remember falling asleep that night. I just woke up and we were in Seattle already like “oh okay, at least we’re here already”. At least I didn’t wake up dead.

Wake up dead…? Care to explain how that happens?

Johnny: That’s when you wake up like, wow I fucked up. It’s when you see your body but you can’t move.

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What’s it been like learning the ins and outs of tour and the industry from Ben Bruce?

Johnny: On the professional side of things, not just the partying and drinking, Ben is a quality manager. He’s given us loads of things and advice on how to project ourselves, how to actually handle ourselves on the road. Some of the things we need to know before we get out there. He’s really a good mentor. There have been things that we haven’t expected and he’s explained how things will be. H a good guy to go to if we have any problems of if we’re unsure of anything we can just hit him or Kyle up. Kyle is more the hands on businessman, he’s cracking the whip and making sure we’re not leaving any loose ends and that we’re meeting everything we need to meet. Ben is more of the do this do that, now fucking drink this! Some nights its Kyle getting to us first, other nights it’s Ben, and some nights its both of them.

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Craig: I think one of the nights in question Kyle told Langley to drink something so he could sit on him and play him like a drum kit. I think his head was part of the kit too.

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Johnny: I think that was Ben playing him like a drum kit though. They’re a great team to work with.
Craig: They definitely are!
Johnny: It’s almost like having the Ben as the devil on one shoulder saying “Let’s get fucked up and be rock and roll” and Kyle on the other saying “You can have a fun time and be all rock and roll but first fill out this form”.

What’s been your favorite memory from the Moving On Tour?

Johnny: My personal favorite. I spent one or two nights with Ben on the Asking bus and it’s the first time I’ve ever done this. I was so fucking hung over. I stumbled off the bus at maybe 2 in the afternoon and went back to our bus and slept. These guys thankfully looked after my ass; they did everything, the setup, the sound checked, and got me up 10 minutes before our show. It’s the first time I’ve woken up, still hung over, walked down a snowy lane in Canada and straight onto the stage and ten seconds later sung my first line like where the fuck am I? I didn’t even know what city we were in. It was the first time I did that, it should probably be the last time I do that but it probably wont be. For me this was my favorite memory because I’m always concerned about doing my warm ups and being prepped and this was like you’re on, do it. I’d say I met the grade that night; I was rowdy but I probably didn’t sing very well.

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Craig: You did something. You were there; well your body was at least. I don’t know to be honest. I haven’t been as ridiculous as everyone else.
Johnny: (Cutting in) WHAT?!
Craig: Oh really? You tell me what I’ve done.

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If you don’t remember than I’d guess you’ve had a few nights like everyone else…

Johnny: There was a few nights that Craig had. On the previous tour none of us got too fucked up. On this tour I’m usually messed up before everyone else so I haven’t seen anyone else too drunk but there has been a few days where Craig’s been worse than me. Craig has a tendency to stumble onto the bus with the boys from Upon a Burning Body and we all end up partying for a few hours. Before I know it they’re asking if they can ride with us and we end up having sleepovers. The other night I was planning to get an early night after a heavy one…

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Craig: Wait! This is my favorite memory, I’ll tell this story! We had a ridiculous late bus call, like 4 am and we’d been on Asking’s bus and had a few drinks and all of the buses were stationary so everyone was bus hopping. I got back around 3 am and there was Langley, Dom, and the merch guy for Chelsea [Grin] and they were already on here drinking and the music was loud. I’d already been drinking quite a bit so I decided I was just going to make a sandwich and they put on some song and they all started screaming along. All of a sudden Dom was just like “lets all get naked!” and I was looking at them like what are you doing. They all got bullock naked and were jumping around, junk everywhere and I was just standing there like what the fuck. AK from Chelsea Grin rolled up with Josh and they both just stood there like what the fuck is going on. The rest of the night they all just stayed in their boxers.

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What are you most looking forward to one the rest of tour?

Johnny: For me this is the longest full proper tour we’ve done with the most hectic schedule and most singing every night. Right now we’re on an eleven day run and we have three days left. It’s the most I’ve done. I was supposed to be very sensible but I had a few benders in the middle and lost my voice for a little bit. I’m not looking forward to the last day of tour but I’m looking forward to the last show when I can have a cigarette again. I’ve been very good and not smoked. Usually I have a cigarette after I play but Danny [Worsnop] from Asking told me if you smoke after you play it fries your vocal cords so I haven’t had one. I’m really looking forward to when I can have a few cigarettes and drink more again. I’m going to be gutted when it’s over because these are going to be the biggest shows we play for awhile. The next tours we’ve got booked aren’t going to be at the same caliber as Asking. We have Mushroom head in January and Chelsea Grin in March, then South by So What?! There’s rumors we may play Rock on the Range and we’re going to try to fill gaps in between. We’re in America for the foreseeable future.

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It’s your first time playing the new record, how’s it been received?

Craig: A lot better than I expected. I didn’t think it was going to be bad but with being the opening band and with us being the only band with a clean vocalist it’s always hard to gage how it’s going to go down. A lot of people have been singing along and have known the record. I wasn’t expecting anyone to know, care, or even know who we were.

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Johnny: We weren’t expecting anyone to know who we were but we’ve definitely had quiet a few people singing along and those who haven’t known the words have come up to us saying things like “I had no clue who you guys were but now I fucking love you”. The guys who haven’t heard us before are digging it live. To be honest even some of the fans for Chelsea Grin fans and the Asking fans have said they’ve never seen an opening band set off a crowd like we did. I think things will keep going how they are and keep picking up.

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Anything to say to current and future fans?

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Johnny: Current fans thank you, we couldn’t have expected a warmer welcome to The States. Thank you for coming out, thank you for bouncing—we love bouncing! Thanks for the crowd surfers, the walls of death. All of the shit we wanted to do that we didn’t think we would we’ve gotten to. Thank you so much for getting down with us. To all the new fans enjoy the record and don’t miss a live show. We’ll be touring our asses off! After we’ve played we’ll always come to the merch table.
Craig: That’s very important we’ll ALWAYS be at the merch table we’re not one of those fuck off bands that doesn’t want to come out. Give us a high five and come hangout!

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