Punk's not dead! Bremerton's MXPX celebrates 20 years of unexpected successMarch 24, 2012 @ 10:05 am (Updated: 10:22 am - 3/24/12 )
At just 35, it's hard sometimes for Mike Herrera to believe his seminal punk band MXPX is approaching its 20th year. And the Bremerton native says he's still loving every bit of it as he gears up for the release of the band's new album "Plans Within Plans," coming out April 3rd.
"Some would say 'don't you feel old?' But I feel like we're better than we've ever been, I'm better than I've ever been as a musician. I've had a great time," Mike said during his in-studio appearance on 97.3 KIRO FM's Seattle Sounds with my co-host Chris Kornelis from Seattle Weekly and me.
Mike and his buddies Tom Wisniewski and Yuri Ruley first started playing together when they were just 15 while attending Bremerton's Central Kitsap High School. The band built a loyal (some would say rabid) regional following before breaking big worldwide.
"We just did what we knew how to do, just played fast skate punk tunes and people started listening, I don't know why."
In the process, they signed a major deal with A&M records, sold tons of albums, toured the world and even put their home town on the map with the alternative radio hit "Move to Bremerton." City leaders embraced the band and it's civic boosterism, awarding MXPX the key to the city back in 2006.
"It was very shocking to us, so many people around the world know about Bremerton because of the song," he says.
But things have changed for Mike and the band. Although they still record with MXPX, Tom and Yuri both took full time jobs and no longer tour with the band. Instead, Mike hires other musicians to play on the road as the MXPX All Stars, including an upcoming European tour. And Mike says he's just happy to still have his childhood friends be a part of the band.
"They made a decision to get real jobs but they still love doing music and I respect that decision completely and I just want them to be happy like I want to be happy."
It's pretty amazing any punk band can make a go of it like MXPX, let alone a punk band from Bremerton. Mike admits it was the farthest thing from his mind when he and his friends first starting playing fast and loud in high school. He credits a little luck and a lot of hard work for MXPX's continued success. And he says his own key is keeping himself uncomfortable.
"When you live too comfortably you lose what it is you had, definitely at the beginning and anything you've carried through life that gives you that fire you need to make music."
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