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MxPx Frontman Mike Herrera Talks About His Life in His High School Band


with Zebrahead, Allister, and Survey Says Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo Sunday, October 5, doors at 6:30pm $15-$25

Grown Up Politics

When Mike Herrera started MxPx in high school he never thought his band would still be together 22 years later. That’s not for a lack of hard work, and that’s not to say the 37-year old musician hasn’t considered ending the band. MxPx comes to the Waiting Room this Sunday, October 5 with Zebrahead, Allister, and Survay Says, but first we spoke with Herrera about how he keeps his high school band fun and positive after all these years.

Artvoice: “Chick Magnet” was one of the first songs I ever learned how to play on a musical instrument. The bass line to that song is not the most punk rock riff I’ve ever heard but it’s really fun. How do you keep your music fun after 22 years?

Mike Herrera: As we all become adults and realize there is more to life than just punk rock, skateboarding and chicks. But being in a band doesn’t do well as far as aging you and giving you a sense of responsibility, you’re just kind of like set free upon the world to go and be creative. That right there is fun, especially because you’re usually with a group of friends and you’re meeting people along the way. All of that is a recipe for good times. When it ceases to be fun you have to reevaluate what you’re doing with your life.

AV: I know a few years ago you started a new band called Tumbledown. You said in an interview at the time that Tom (Wisniewski, guitarist) and Yuri (Ruley, drummer) were working full time jobs. Was there ever a time that you thought MxPx might be done?

MH: Absolutely. I’ve kind of walked up to the edge, the precipice, and looked over and thought about jumping but you never know what is at the bottom. I’ve done Tumbledown, I’m working on solo music right now in the studio. But MxPx is one of those things; I’ve tried to quit a few times but never really. People keep giving me that positive reinforcement, that feedback, like: “hey come to my city, make new music.”

AV: Your music has always been about positivity. Do you have a message for younger fans about staying positive? Because punk rock music is not always very positive music.

MH: No, that’s true. It’s funny because my songs, especially with MxPx come from a very positive place. I use that as a way to motivate myself, motivate my friends, motivate the listeners to realize that yes, life can be shitty, but that’s not all there is. We have to take every day as one step further towards that goal; whatever it is, whatever your loves are, your passions. You’re right; punk rock is not usually positive music. Take a look at the world, politics, the wars happening all over the world, beheadings, a lot of propaganda, a lot of scare tactics. I don’t ignore that, but at the same time there are a lot of great bands presenting songs about those ideas. I listen to tons of bands like that, like Black Flag who is kind of the seminal punk rock band. They write about burnouts, and your girlfriend dumping you, and the cops are coming after you, but it’s all-good because punk rock is a big umbrella. If anything I think MxPx has become more punk rock as we’ve grown up. Just a little tougher, my voice is a little deeper these days, I went through puberty finally.

AV: Do you still feel a connection between your music and your spirituality?

MH: It has completely changed. When you listen to our older stuff compared to the newer stuff, the lyrics are still positive, but it has changed. I don’t really follow a religion any more. That doesn’t mean that our fans can’t listen to the songs and get something from them or interpret them how they’d like. Wherever you go in life, your attitude makes the difference. But this a big conversation, it’s hard to say yes or no, but not really, not in the same way. Nobody is the same as they were 20 years ago.

AV: You put out an acoustic album over the summer. What is it like to transform a song like “Punk Rawk Show” into an acoustic sing-a-long?

MH: I was just out on Warped Tour doing some solo acoustic shows and we released the collection earlier this summer. We’ve had quite a few people over the last few years request some acoustic versions of their favorite songs. I’ve got a lot of ideas for new stuff but we did this because the fans requested it. Doing the songs differently is a breath of fresh air. I didn’t go crazy with the production because I didn’t want fans of the original songs to immediately reject them but I think I did them differently enough that you still get something new out of them.

AV: You said you’ve been wrestling with a lot of new ideas, can we expect a new original record from MxPx any time soon?

MH: The album is in my brain, it’s floating around. I have a few MxPx songs in the works. Timeline wise I’ll be doing a solo album or EP first, and then definitely an MxPx record after that.

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