Led by singer/guitarist Ethan Fein, Men Without Hope is a New York-based rock & roll/pop/rock trio that specializes in humorous, goofy, quirky songs about life's challenges and disappointments. The group members find a lot of things to kvetch about, whether they're singing about romantic disappointments or mentally ill people who bother them on the streets of the Big Apple. And they also love to write about aging. Fein, a native New Yorker, doesn't try to hide the fact that he is an aging baby boomer who has lost his hair; in fact, growing older is often a source of humor on Men Without Hope's songs.
But for all the kvetching, Men Without Hope is not an exercise in self-pity -- if anything, Fein's band is an exercise in dark humor. Like a lot of blues and country artists, the New York residents in Men Without Hope have a way of laughing at the things they're complaining about. They might have a jaded, cynical, world-weary outlook and see the glass as half empty instead of half full, but they manage to do it with a smile. They find clever, amusing, genuinely funny ways of telling listeners how much they think reality bites.
Men Without Hope was formed in the late '90s by Fein, who has earned his living playing guitar in Broadway shows (including productions of Cats,West Side Story, and 42nd Street). The group's two other members are bassist Bob Renino and drummer Ricky Martinez; Fein, Renino, and Martinez share the lead vocals, and Fein writes or co-writes much of the material (sometimes with New York songwriter Donald Wollner). They recorded their debut album, The Sub-Basement Tapes, in the late '90s and put it out themselves in 2000.