Pop-punk legends MxPx are playing two sold out shows at the Observatory this weekend (Friday and Saturday). That may come to a surprise for some, as the Washington-based band hasn't toured in a few years (these shows aren't part of a bigger tour either) and has only released one full album since 2007.
Nonetheless, MxPx remains as relevant today as ever, so here are 10 reasons you should still care about them.
10. MxPx was never super mainstream. Considering the band obtained relative success in the punk world throughout the '90s and into the 2000s, they never got as big as some of their contemporaries. While everyone from NoFX to Green Day was blowing up in the West Coast '90s punk explosion, MxPx always stayed just a little smaller. Sure, they had some radio play and chart success, but the band never seemed to get too big for their scene.
9. Secret Weapon has to be among the best chart-topping Christian albums in history. MxPx's 2007 album (as well as their earlier albums) were technically categorized as "Christian Rock" for the purpose of the all-powerful Billboard charts. There might've been some Christian undertones, but every album was certainly better for skating than it was for praying. When Secret Weapon topped the Christian charts, it was no doubt one of the best rock albums to ever hold the position. Of course, with the competition being bands like Creed, that's like being the tallest midget.
8. The band distanced itself from the "Christian" genre. Eventually, MxPx got tired of being considered a "Christian" band (Christian punk is just kind of a weird concept) after they released a Christmas album in 2009. Did it change their music all that much? Not really. But good for them for getting rid of the somewhat cheapening label.
7. Mike Herrera always seemed responsible. One of the band's biggest hits ("Responsibility") is about not wanting/being ready for the responsibility of adulthood. That's kind of funny, because Herrera never seemed like he'd be the friend to get you into trouble than pretty much any other '90s punk frontman. Just looking at '90s punks named Mike, Herrera seemed way less likely to be the friend who lands in jail with you than Mike Ness, Mike Dirnt, or Fat Mike.
6. Skate-punk is forever. If you skated as a teenager, you almost definitely listened to skate-punk (unless you were one of those kids who only listened to rap, in which case there's no reason to read a list about MxPx anyway). If you skated as a teenager, you probably still listen to skate-punk sometimes (except when your girl is around, because she probably thinks it's stupid and immature unless she too listened to skate-punk). One of the beauties of skate-punk is that it pretty much never changes. Bands come in and out, but they all sound awful similar. Today's teenagers can appreciate MxPx's brand of the genre as much as those who skated before the band even existed.
5. Every album sounds different. Yeah, every MxPx album sounds like an MxPx album, but that's true for most bands. Each individual record has its own vibe and personality. Some are a little more old school punk, some are more skaterish, while there's those couple of CDs that got shamed for being pop-punk when everyone else was doing pop-punk. Which brings us to...
4. Their "selling out" albums were actually still good. The Ever Passing Moment and Before Everything and After were both considered to be pop-punk albums more than the band's classic punk style. As often happens in the punk community, some fans were unhappy about that and criticized them for "selling out." Unlike many artists who "sell out" and put out terrible albums, both of those records are still plenty good. They might be a little more poppy than the earlier (and later) stuff, but that also led to some of their biggest commercial success. MxPx's heavily pop-punk phase might be the only reason they're still around today.
3. "Punk Rawk Show" is an absolute classic. No really, go listen to it. MxPx has a lot of singalong punk songs, but "Punk Rawk Show" is one of the best ones of the '90s. That's coming from someone who thinks it's ridiculous when bands intentionally spell words wrong.
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2. They never toured/promoted themselves too much. Aside from the fact that MxPx never took themselves too seriously, they also avoided the deadly mistake of shoving their music in people's faces too much. In their prime, they toured as much as any band (and they did the Warped Tour circuit with the best of them), but their decision to not release albums/go on tour every year helped their fans look forward to actually seeing them live. Instead of being a punk band you can see twice a year at any number of local venues, their fans know that missing a live set means possibly never seeing them again.
1. Pop-punk is back. If you haven't noticed, emo/pop-punk from the early 2000s is back in full force. Maybe MxPx doesn't fit perfectly into the Emo Revival of 2015, but they're rooted in a similar enough background that they could still play Taste of Chaos and fit in just fine. How long will it be back for? Who knows? But every mildly successful alternative band from the time period should be looking to capitalize on it right now.