- The MxPx guys (L to R): Yuri Ruley, Mike Herrera, and Tom Wisniewski
Fourteen years. Over a dozen releases. International tours. Most bands would have self-destructed long before being able to accomplish all of that, but the members of Bremerton, Wash. trio MxPx – singer/bassist Mike Herrera, guitarist Tom Wisniewski, and drummer Yuri Ruley – have proven to be true punk veterans and the inspiration for many in the scene today.
The album in particular that changed the lives of the band members as well as fans was 1996's Life in General, released on West Coast punk/Christian label Tooth and Nail Records.
"We've been hearing for a long time from fans and from bands that Life in General is an important one," says Ruley. "I think a lot of popular bands today cite us as an influence. I know it was a very pivotal record for our band. When I first listened to it after it was finished, I was blown away. I couldn't believe that it was us. And that's when things started happening."
A major-label record deal with Interscope/A&M followed. Three albums and lots of perks. They enjoyed having everything taken care of for them: tour support, big studio budgets, flashy music videos. They even got to "run in a higher circle of people" as major-label players.
Eventually, MxPx decided to go back to their D.I.Y./indie roots and signed with Side One Dummy for the release of their latest, Panic.
According to Ruley, he prefers being on an indie label, where the personal touch and connection still exist and where everything is run way more efficiently. If the guys need something done, they can go to the president of the label rather than fumbling through a bunch of red tape. On Side One Dummy, MxPx feel at home.
"We're at a point where we just have to keep doing what we love to do," says the drummer. "We've always been that way, though. This is nothing new. It's not like a revelation or anything. We make the music we love to make and if people like hearing it, that's awesome."
MxPx are set to hit the studio to start writing in October after their current tour wraps and are eager to try new things in the writing process. Even though Ruley refuses to look too far ahead, it's probably safe to say that MxPx aren't going away any time soon. –Leah Weinberg