By paul

The Ataris swear by them and Good Charlotte would probably be nothing without them – after 10 years MxPx’s time could well be now…

“Timing is everything, and our time is now” – a bold statement if ever there was one, but you can forgive MxPx frontman Mike Herrera for feeling confident that his band will finally make a breakthrough. After celebrating their 10-year anniversary last year, the trio are surely due some commercial success. Revered in pop-punk circles, Mike (vocals and bass), Yuri (drums) and Tom (guitar) have influenced a string of modern day pop-punk bands. If it wasn’t for MxPx, you could argue that the likes of Good Charlotte, Simple Plan and New Found Glory wouldn’t even exist. ‘Life In General’ and ‘Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo’ are simply two must have albums; your record collection is not complete without them.

After starting out in Bremerton, Seattle in 1992, MxPx have just released their 12th album Stateside. They managed to put out two full-length albums before they’d even graduated from High School and inked a deal with cool US indie Tooth and Nail Records, even if the relationship later ended in a bitter split. Good Charlotte even acted as a support band for years, but despite a distinguished career that saw the band sign to a major label, A&M Records, back in 2000, MxPx have failed to hit the big time like they surely deserve. New album ‘Before, Everything and After’ could well change that. Poppier and more considered than their earlier albums, the band believes this could finally be the record that brings them the success they deserve. “The world is a much different place,” Mike said, looking back on the band’s career so far. “It just gets stranger and stranger. I think MxPx adapts to that in some ways and resists in others. We’re all affected by the march of time, but I think MxPx is getting stronger and more in tune with ourselves musically.”

And they are not the only ones who agree – Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, Kris Roe of The Ataris and Jordan Pundik of New Found Glory fame all guest on the new album, testament to just how much MxPx have influenced their peers. Mike wrote many of the songs on his acoustic guitar before fleshing them out in the studio, and the threesome opted to work with producer Dave Jerden for the first time. Mike added: “He’s an older guy and we wanted someone that has more than just punk rock experience. Jerry (Finn) and Steve (Kravac) are both great, but we like to change things up and we knew we needed someone that could offer us something we’ve never had before with a producer.”

Tracks like ‘The Capitol’ and ‘Brokenhearted’ are the ones that older fans will appreciate most, but songs like ‘More Everything’ show that MxPx as songwriters are far from one trick ponies. “We wanted to take the listener to new places,” Mike added. “We also wanted to give each song its own identity and personality. I’ve heard from people that this record is not just a good MxPx record but it’s a really good record, if that makes sense.” But you can forget dismissing the Seattle boys as yet another pop-punk band that sing about being dumped. When MxPx have a bone of contention, they will let you know. Practising Christians, much of their earlier work made reference to their religion, while contractual disputes lead to spite-filled songs of discontent aimed at their former employers, Tooth and Nail Records. Bitter at feeling ripped-off by the label, much of ‘Slowing Going The Way Of The Buffalo’ nods at their displeasure. “I don’t regret the split so much, I just wish we could have had more say in our contracts early on,” Mike added.

Despite touring regularly in the US MxPx have only made it over to the UK once, in support of Less Than Jake in 2000, but they do want to come back. A tour with Good Charlotte in December fell through, but Mike wants to bring the MxPx experience to UK fans. He added: “Our record label have chosen not to release our records there, but we are trying to get this new one though. We wanted to tour there before the end of the year but could not get tour support.” One thing is for sure; you need to hop on to the MxPx ride before it takes off.


‘Before, Everything and After’ is available on import now on A&M Records.

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