A few weeks ago, we announced
we were hosting a fan-based Q&A with MXPX
's Mike Herrera, and the result was a swarm of thoughtful and interesting questions. As promised, we've compiled the best from what was a lengthy Q&A, and we think they touch on all the subjects any good MXPX fan might want covered. For instance, what does punk rock mean to Hererra, can you expect any box sets, and what does he think about The Unlovables' tributary song
to him? Check it out and let us know if your question made the cut!
Question: Who are "the annoying four" mentioned in "Sorry So Sorry"?
Mike Herrera: The “other four” are the other guys in the van -- Tom, Yuri, Rob, and Matt from Blenderhead.
Q: What new bands have you been listening to?
Q: Did Tumbledown lead to an outlet for the things MxPx was beginning to create and now that they are separate, MxPx is approaching the sound they think is more defining?
MH: Yes, it's definitely more streamlined. If anything, its sharpened my resolve to make a straight up pop punk record with Plans Within Plans. And Tumbledown can do absolutely anything. I think I’ll stay away from zydeco though.
Q: What does punk rock mean to you now in 2012?
MH: To me it's an outlet to feel better about life. Music is so intertwined with how our lives are going. Punk Rock is a catalyst for living a more fulfilling life -- whether it's in line with the social norms or not [usually not].
Q: Did MxPx ever make a Let's Rock vinyl, and if so, where could I pick up a copy?
MH: Never pressed.
Q: What is your favorite MxPx record?
MH: Plans Within Plans is my current favorite. It changes as I change.
Q: What inspired, or what is the story behind, the song "Gotta Blow My Nose" [or what ever it's called]? The first time I heard it I laughed pretty hard.
MH: That was a joke song that went way too far! At the time, we really should have been working on recording the actual album. This was during our first album's recording session.
Q: Every fan of the band loves different eras. I'm a fan for whom the BEAA [Before Everything & After] CD remains the pinnacle of brilliance. How much time and energy is devoted [when it's time to record an album] to how the band will sound? Is there an effort to sound harder, more punk, less punk, more pop, etc., or do you just write and let come out whatever comes out? If that is what you do, did you set out on BEAA to write a really poppy, melodic album, or was that just where you were as a songwriter at that time?
MH: It's all about the songs you choose or the label chooses. Every album we make has the hopes to sell really well. Of course we wanted BEAA to be big and I still like it. There were many more punk and fast paced songs I wrote during that session that just didn't make the cut. You bring up some great questions but at the time, I wasn’t thinking about all those factors. I was just writing and letting the chips fall where they did. I devoted a lot more time to how our new album sounds. Plans Within Plans turned out better, to me, than almost all of our albums. I just like the straightforward production.
Q: All of the fans know about how prolific you are as a songwriter. Is it possible that we will ever see more releases [or maybe even a fun little box set] of songs you recorded demos of that were eventually left off the album? I've heard the "Say Yes" demo floating around, and it makes we wonder if any of the old songs from past writing sessions will ever see the light of day.
MH: I think we would if we could afford to make nice packages and box sets. Right now, everything we do is ultimately being paid for by us, the band. So at this point we just focus on the basic needs, but hopefully someday we will be able release some older demos and/or box sets.
Q: How much input does the band have in what songs make an album? I ask because my all-time two favorite songs by the band, "Family Affair" and "Where Will We Go" -- were both bonus tracks left off the domestic releases. I have always wondered what goes into the decisions about what songs stay and what songs go, and what the motives are behind the decisions.
MH: Now days, I choose all the songs but back when those albums were made, there were many cooks in the kitchen.
Q: Speaking of the song "Where Will We Go," the song obviously has new meaning with the band evolving into the very stage the song refers to. Should we, as fans, expect the current arrangement of occasional shows and new recordings to continue, or is it more realistic to expect the band as a recording entity to drift away at some point soon?
MH: I don't know. I'm still touring full time with MXPX All Stars, Tumbledown, and solo.
Q: Have you ever heard "the Mike Herrera song" about you by The Unlovables?
MH: Yes, I love it!
Q: Which band would you most like to see reunite so you can tour with them
MH: Black Flag
Q: Are there any new songs you have been covering and performing live lately?
MH: Nothing really. I’m just trying to learn my own songs right now! But, I do love covers.
Q: Will MXPX, Tumbledown, or Arthur ever cover each other's songs?
MH: It's a weird question and situation. I write all the songs for all those bands, so if I’m singing an MXPX song at a Tumbledown show is it a cover? Sort of but sort of not.
Q: If MxPx were sentenced to a death match, like in Hunger Games or Battle Royale, what would go down and who would win?
MH: I really couldn't say without sounding very egotistical.
Q: Before music, what did you want to be when you grew up?
MH: Nothing. Just music. Can you count a professional athlete? I’m pretty sure all kids want to be superstars these days.
Q: If you decided to stop playing music and go to college, what would you major in?
MH: I'd have to do some research to see what types of jobs I’m more likely to get. I'd probably go into video production, camera work, editing. Aside from that, probably consulting.