IRVINE, California — After 13 years, three labels, seven albums and a career-retrospective DVD, MxPx say they have a record that will put their past work to shame.
"This record will kick all of our other records' asses!" singer/bassist Mike Herrera said.
The band's forthcoming LP, Panic, is its first disc for SideOneDummy and the follow-up to 2003's Before Everything & After, which spawned punk-pop singles like "Well Adjusted" and "Everything Sucks (When You're Gone)."
"[This record] is raw, but it's heavy, and it's a different MxPx," said the 29-year-old Herrera. "Someone that's known us in the past may be like, 'Whatever, I'm over it,' but this record will get you back into it."
With darker and more poignant tracks like "Waiting for the World to End," "Cold Streets" and "Kicking and Screaming," don't expect the same upbeat punk melodies that permeated MxPx's last few albums.
"Panic to us is, like, everything. It's directly correlating with the world we live in, but at the same time, also us as a band. You know, we're not going to go out there and be urgently telling people, 'All right, this is what you need to be listening to, this is important, this music says something,' and then quit," he said. "We kind of felt like, 'OK, let's do something,' and I think this record is sort of the end result."
MxPx recruited producer Gavin MacKillop (Goo Goo Dolls, Sugarcult) and holed up in their hometown studio in Bremerton, Washington, recording the 14-track LP in just 22 days.
The first single is the punk anthem "Heard That Sound," a tribute to the healing power of music. "I basically boil it down to the transformative powers of punk-rock and rock and roll in general," guitarist Tom Wisniewski said. "It changes lives, and that's what the song's really about."
"Music is important to us, and it's important to everybody, whether they realize it or not," Herrera added. "You can be sitting alone in a room, but if you hear someone on the outside, you realize you're not alone. It just feels like you are sometimes, and [you need to] just break out of that bubble."
The song's video, directed by Mike Kaminsky, was filmed in a loft in downtown Los Angeles and acts as both a look back at the band's 13-year career and an homage to its loyal fanbase.
"It's all about the fans and getting together and having this party, but it's not a house party kind of vibe. It's more like how our fans have been there for us over the years, so let's give [something] back to them, like a private show kind of deal," Herrera said. "It's almost like a retrospective, like MxPx died. That's what the video will be. But we're still here."
Blink-182 frontman and longtime friend Mark Hoppus also has his stamp on the record, co-writing the somber track "Wrecking Hotel Rooms," which is shaping up to be the second single.
"I went over to [Mark's] house a couple months before we recorded the record and we were sitting there playing guitar together, kind of geeking out, and he's like, 'Check this out, dude,' and started playing this riff," Herrera recalled. "At the time, I couldn't think of any words for it, so I went back to my hotel on Sunset Boulevard and I was sitting alone there for hours and hours watching people do their Hollywood thing, and I'm just sitting there the whole time, sitting in a hotel room going crazy, and that's how the lyrics came about."
You can catch the fellas on the Vans Warped Tour this summer, before the North American trek wraps in Northampton, Massachusetts, on August 15 (see "Warped Tour Lineup, Itinerary Officially Announced").
Next up, the band will hit a slew of European dates and festivals before jetting to Australia and Japan. After that, expect MxPx to tour the States again in the fall.
Panic drops June 7.