Origin: Bremerton, Washington
Genre: Skate punk, Pop punk, Punk rock
Years active: 1992–present
1995: Teenage Politics
1996: Life in General
1998: Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo
2000: The Ever Passing Moment
2003: Before Everything & After
2007: Secret Weapon
2012: Plans Within Plans
MxPx is an American punk rock band from Bremerton, Washington founded in 1992 as Magnified Plaid. The band has skate punk and pop punk leanings, with connections to the pop punk scene. Current members include Mike Herrera on lead vocals and bass, Tom Wisniewski on guitar and backing vocals, and Yuri Ruley on drums. The band’s discography includes nine studio albums, four EPs, four compilation albums, a live album, a VHS tape, a DVD and 20 singles. A number of their releases have charted on Billboard, including the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on Billboard Christian Albums.
Early start (1992)
MxPx began in July 1992 with the name Magnified Plaid. Initially, they started playing music inspired by Descendents, Black Flag and other Southern California skate punk bands. The trio—Mike Herrera, Yuri Ruley, and Andy Husted—were classmates at Central Kitsap High School in nearby Silverdale, Washington and were 15 years old when they formed. The name was a tribute to the original guitarist’s fascination with plaid shirts but did not fit on the band’s posters. Consequently, the name was abbreviated to M.P. But in Yuri Ruley’s handwriting, periods appeared as “X”‘s, and since he made up the show posters for the band, the four-letter moniker stuck.
Tooth & Nail years (1993–97)
Band bassist Mike Herrera performing “Move to Bremerton” in 2006.
MxPx caught the attention of Tooth & Nail Records when they played a showcase for the label in 1993 in Herrera’s parents’ back yard. Their first major album, Pokinatcha (1994), was released while the band members were still in high school. The album, though classified as Christian punk, incorporated the quick styles of hardcore punk, and is composed of influence from skate/surf punk and punk underground. The songs are characterized by their raw punk sound, catchy rhythm, and classic punk three-chord guitar style.
Guitarist Andy Husted soon left the band and was replaced by Tom Wisniewski. MxPx released two further albums with Tooth & Nail: Teenage Politics in 1995, and Life in General in 1996. The latter features “Chick Magnet”, perhaps the band’s best-known single. The album also features artwork by the artist Coop.
A&M years (1997–04)
MxPx received a major distribution deal with A&M Records. This deal first saw a re-release of Life in General. MxPx then released two more studio albums jointly distributed by Tooth & Nail and A&M: Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo was the first in 1998. It ranked at No. 99 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold on January 27, 2000 by the Recording Industry Association of America. At the Show is a live album recorded by MxPx, released in 1999. At the time of the recording, the band was touring in support of Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo as well as the B-sides collection Let it Happen, also released in 1998.
This was followed by The Ever Passing Moment in 2000. MxPx gained critical recognition for this album and landed a slot supporting for The Offspring and Cypress Hill on the Conspiracy of One tour. “Responsibility” proved to be a minor radio hit, peaking at #24 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. The video, which is directed by The Malloys, features the band messing around and causing mayhem while caddying at a golf course, and also includes an appearance by Cheers star George Wendt. The song was featured in the Daria Television Movie Is It Fall Yet?. After The Ever Passing Moment, MxPx had then fulfilled their contract obligations with Tooth & Nail and decided to part ways.
Their version of the song “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” is in the soundtrack of the 2002 movie Scooby-Doo. Their studio album Before Everything & After was released by A&M in 2003. The album achieved the band’s highest ever chart position on the Billboard 200, peaking at number 51.
They provided the song “The Empire” for The Passion of the Christ: Songs, which won the Gospel Music Association 2005 Dove Award for Special Event Album of the Year.
SideOneDummy years (2005–06)
In 2005 MxPx was dropped by A&M, signed with SideOneDummy Records, and released their seventh full-length album Panic. This was a breakthrough album when the single “Heard That Sound” proved a minor radio hit. It also featured the Blink-182/+44 singer-bassist Mark Hoppus on “Wrecking Hotel Rooms.” It also leaves the pop punk sound off their previous album and returns to their skate punk/punk rock roots.
In September 2006, MxPx and the City of Bremerton started a marketing effort revolving around the band’s song “Move to Bremerton”. The band was given keys to the city by Mayor Cary Bozeman in recognition of their contributions to the city.
MxPx spent the majority of 2005 and 2006 touring in support of their 7th album Panic. On November 21, 2006, Tooth & Nail Records re-released “Let It Happen”, an earlier rarities compilation, in a “Deluxe Edition” which included a bonus DVD featuring 12 music videos, new artwork, and two new songs. Let’s Rock, MxPx’s second rarities album, was released on Side One Dummy Records on October 24, 2006. The album consists of many previously unreleased songs, re-recorded b-sides and acoustic demos.
Tooth & Nail, Rock City (2009-present)
See also: Secret Weapon (album), Life in General (album), Left Coast Punk EP and Plans Within Plans
MxPx released the full-length album Secret Weapon in 2007, their first release on their original label Tooth & Nail since 1996’s Life in General. The album debuted at No. 76 on the Billboard 200; it also went to No. 1 on the Billboard’s Christian chart. The album’s sound goes back to their beginning sound.
In 2009, the released a six-song EP entitled Left Coast Punk EP, which was the first record released by Rock City Recording Company, MxPx’s own record label. Also in 2009, they released Christmas album, titled Punk Rawk Christmas. In late 2009, Mike Herrera teamed up with frontman of The Ataris, Kris Roe and the drummer of The Summer Obsession, Chris Wilson (formerly of Good Charlotte) for the MxPx All Stars tour in Japan and South East Asia.
The band released a documentary entitled Both Ends Burning on December 1, 2011. In addition, Mike, Tom, and Yuri were working on their ninth studio album. On December 19, 2011, they announced that the album would be called Plans Within Plans. It was released on April 3, 2012. In 2012, Wisniewski and Ruley announced their retirement from touring, but said that the band was not breaking up and that they will continue to write and record new material together.
Style and influences
The band’s style is mainly skate punk and punk rock. Originally a punk rock band, by the rise of popularity of pop punk in the late 1990s and early 2000s they went more pop punk. Albums like The Ever Passing Moment and Before Everything and After were criticized by some fans for its pop punk style. Their 2005 album Panic returned to their roots.
Many of the band’s early releases touch on Christian themes and placed them in the front of the Christian punk scene. However by 2012 this was a title that the band was trying to distance themselves from.