If you read the last issue of corporatedethburger then you're probably wondering why I'm having an interview with MxPx in two consecutive issues. Well the reason is that I was only able to interview their drummer, Yuri, last time. This time I was able to sit down with all three members of the Bremerton, Washington based band. Also a lot has happened with the band since the interview I did last summer. They've released an album, "Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo", on A&M records, toured Europe with Bad Religion and are currently doing the Vans Warped tour for both North America and Europe. I interviewed them at the Vancouver, B.C. stop of the Warped tour. Captain Haircut was present and even managed to ask a question.
James: State your name, what you play and the weirdest thing you've eaten on the Warped Tour so far.
Mike: My name's Mike, I play bass and I sing. The weirdest thing I've eaten was lettuce wrapped in a tortilla, but that wasn't really that weird. But I didn't really eat it though, so I guess it doesn't count. Tom: I'm Tom and I play guitar and the weirdest thing I've ever eaten on the Warped Tour wasn't this year, it was last year. This year we're on the beginning so the food is really good. Mike: I wouldn't say that much.
Tom: Last year we we're on the end and this year it's way better. Comparatively it's better.
Mike: It's worse!
Tom: You think it's worse then the end last year?
Mike: Not the end, but overall it's worse then last year.
Yuri: I'm Yuri and I play drums...
Mike: What are you doing? I didn't finish yet!
Yuri: He moved it (the tape recorder) to me.
Mike: They had this weird vegetable goulash every night, it was just disgusting. That's it.
Yuri: This is Yuri and I play drums and the weirdest thing I've eaten on the Warped Tour is vegetables.
James: You don't normally eat vegetables?
Yuri: Less than I should.
James: I was taking a look at the recent issue of Rolling Stone and you guys got some nice big pictures in there.
Mike: It's not us.
Tom: It's Mannequins.
James: Have you guys got any flak for that, posing with bikini models?
Mike: Sort of.
Tom: It wasn't our idea. We showed up, we'd gotten a call a few days before, and they said hey do you want to come down and get some pictures taken for Rolling Stone. And we we're like sure. So we go down there and I was the first one dressed and they go, "OK, Tom are you ready?". So we go up stairs and they're like, "Tom, Amy. Amy, Tom. Get comfortable." I was like ah, this is a bit weird. It was totally not our idea. We we're complaining about it after they started taking the pictures, we were like, "Can we not have anymore pictures with bikini girls.". They were like, "No problem." And then they stuck them in anyway.
James: Also I noticed that the writer was saying that you didn't want to be associated as a Christian band anymore, what was the deal with that?
Mike: They pretty much jacked us.
James: Yeah, I noticed everything else in there was direct quotes except for that part.
Tom: That was his impression, or idea, or agenda.
Mike: I don't know what he was trying to do, obviously it wasn't very true or right.
James: I noticed you have Greg Hetson (Guitarists from Bad Religion) playing on one of the songs on the new album, how did you guys hook up with him?
Tom: Well, we called this party line one night.
Mike: The Greg Hetson Party Line! Steve Kervac, who produced are last record is really good friends with Greg Hetson, so he always let Greg listen to our new stuff to see what he thought. Greg really liked "Downfall of Western Civilization". So he said why don't you come play on it and Hetson said OK. Steve asked us and we said "yeah, that would be rad" because we've been big fans of Bad Religion for a while.
James: You guys toured Europe with them recently, right?
Mike: Yeah, we just toured Europe with them.
James: How was that?
Mike: It was awesome!
Yuri: It was rad!
Mike: They're really big there so every show was sold out.
James: They seem to have a bit of an aversion to organized religion and how did that work with you guys obviously coming from somewhere else?
Mike: They were curious as to what we believed. They were really mature about everything. Definitely, Greg Hetson and all those guys, I don't think they cared at all. They definitely didn't actually because they told us, "You wouldn't be on the tour if we didn't like you because of what you believed".
James: You think people are willing to except you as a band, just not people with different viewpoints?
Tom: Well, we are a band.
Mike: Yeah, they're starting to. Especially after they meet us because were not weirdos or anything, were normal people.
Tom: There are stereotypes, if they have stereotypes, that get broken down.
James: I've been listening to you guys since "Pocinatcha" and on that album there was a strong emphasis on God, and same with "Teenage Politics". Then "Life In General" took a bit of a turn to where a lot of the songs were about relationships. Then I've kind of noticed on this new album that you're going back in the direction that you originally were going.
Tom: The thing was that on the first couple of albums Mike didn't like girls and then he figured out that he liked girls (laughter) for "Life In General". Then he decided he was wrong for this album.
Mike: For "Life In General" it was a period of a totally different writing environment. We were always on tour, so a lot of the songs had to do with what our lives were about on tour and dealing with a total change of lifestyle. We were always travelling, always meeting new people. It was weird and that's why a lot of the songs became about relationships because I hung out with girls and I had a girlfriend and she dumped me. One of the songs is about prom because I got dumped at the prom (laughter). It was a bad luck album. Obviously, everyone could relate to this because everyone gets jacked by girls, or guys or whatever. A lot of it had to do with it being such a weird and different environment, so I wrote a lot about that. Everything was different and that's why the album turned out the way it did. I don't think it's bad or anything, I just think it's different. Everything is still from a Christian perspective because I am a Christian and I have a Christian worldview, so everything is from that perspective. But at the same time everything on is not about God, or spiritual. But there are important messages there just about every day life. It's a relatable album. But on the new album I definitely tried to go back, not necessarily to what we did before because that was then this is now. But I tried to develop the ideas and really take from my heart and put it on paper and then put it in the music. All of us have grown a lot since our last album. Musically, spiritually, mentally and as people. A the same time we don't say God all the time, I don't think that is really the point.
James: I can see why. If you look at bands that just play church shows and tend to only attract a Christian audience, they can't really reach out to people. You have to be more balanced.
Mike: The lyrics are just honest. What comes out is what God's telling me. If it doesn't say God then that's okay because God doesn't want me to. I think we just really need to tune into what's going on in our own lives and be honest about it. That's what we try to do.
James: You guys are on A&M now. Have you noticed much of a difference dealing with a record company like A&M compared to Tooth & Nail?
Mike: Everything is a lot more efficient, everyone knows what's going on.
Tom: Our records are out there everywhere. Our record was released on a certain day and I went to a record store and it was there on that day. James: It was delayed up here on Canada. We went to buy it the day it came out and they told us it had been delayed indefinitely. We had to wait a week. Do you guys still have any involvement with Tooth & Nail? Tom: They're still totally involved. The new records going through Tooth & Nail as well.
James: Into the Christian marketplace?
Tom: Yeah. So it's going through two labels.
James: Are you guys putting it out on vinyl this time?
Yuri: There's a 12-inch out.
Tom: Our last three albums have been available on vinyl (Teenage Politics, On the Cover EP and Life In General). The only one that isn't is "Pocinatcha". You should write to Tooth & Nail and tell them to put "Pocinatcha" out on vinyl. They would be able to sell them. They could just do a thousand or something.
James: I've heard that your combined album sales are bigger then the rest of the Tooth & Nail catalog (over 100 titles) put together.
James: You guys use to play with other Tooth & Nail bands a lot. I use to see you guys play with Ninety Pound Wuss and Crux and bands like that a lot. Do you guys still play with those bands?
Tom: Yeah, we do actually. Recently, we've been opening for other bands and when you open for other bands you can't choose really. But whenever we come to the towns that those bands live in we usually hang out with them because were friends with all those bands.
James: I noticed that you had Jeff from Ninety Pound Wuss and Dale from the Cootees on the new album. Speaking of the Cootees, what's the deal with that because you two guys (Mike and Tom) are in that band with Dale? Is that something you just do when you're not doing MxPx.
Tom: We don't really do it anymore.
Mike: It was something we did in highschool. We started a couple years after MxPx had been around.
Yuri: Tom was in the Cootees before he was in MxPx.
James: (To Yuri) Do you any side bands going?
Yuri: No, not really. There are a lot of ideas going in my head but nothing solid.
Tom: The Urinaters!
James: How did you guys all meet?
Mike: Just through highschool and stuff like that.
Yuri: With Tom, we had a mutual friend.
James: Speaking of Tom, are you guys playing Tom Fest again this year?
Tom: No, because it overlaps with the European Warped Tour and we decided to do that.
James: This will be the first year you haven't played Tom, isn't it?
Tom: Yeah, this will be the first year.
Mike: I'm sure people won't care.
James: Oh, I'm sure they'll care. But luckily there are a lot of other really good Christian punk bands now.
Captain Haircut: Slick Shoes! What do you guys think of Slick Shoes?
Mike: They let us borrow their stuff when we played Cornerstone recently.
Tom: Dale (Cootees) is in Slick Shoes now.
James: I heard MC Hammer played Cornerstone this year. Did you guys get a chance to see him?
Mike: Tom did.
Tom: Yeah, I saw a song. It was really bad.
James: I've noticed that there has been a change in your sound. On the first album the songs were really short and raw and now they're more polished.
Yuri: I think it's just time and Mike learning how to write songs better.
Tom: And us learning how to play better.
James: I noticed on the new album that you put on a couple of songs that have that faster, rawer sound to them and that last song on the album was really different, it kind of reminded me of Roadside Monument.
Mike: We've always done stuff like that, we've just never really put it on a record.
James: It's nice. It gives the record a bit more variety. You guys are the only Christian band on the Warped Tour, right?
Mike: As far as I know.
James: What has that been like?
Mike: Fine. We're pretty use to being around people who don't believe what we believe. Everybody is really nice.
Tom: It's fine with us. It's a good tour and it's fine to be around people who don't necessarily believe the same things as you do as long as it doesn't change you.
James: Have you had an opportunity to share what you believe with any of the other bands?
Mike: It's more of an example thing because everybody knows that we're Christians. So they're kind of just watching and waiting to go, "Ha ha! Caught you!".
James: When it comes down to it I guess that's more important because if your not living the way you say you should live, then what you say won't make any difference to people.
Mike: Every once and a while people will come up to us and ask us about what we believe and that's really cool. It's really the best way to do because then they want to know. People do ask a lot actually.
James: That's it for questions. Any final thoughts?
Tom: Thanks for all the support, to our fans.