MXPX flirts with mainstream in its latest release

Armed with nearly 12 years of pop-punk expertise, MXPX played AU's Bender Arena on Sept. 7 with Dashboard Confessional. The Eagle spoke with Tom Wisniewski, MXPX's bassist regarding the band's upcoming release, "Before Everything and After" on A&M.

The third release of MXPX, the band that put Bremerton, Wash., on the map and helmed the beginning of religion in mainstream punk, is a departure from the common waters the band treaded before.

"We tried to throw out all the rules that we had made for ourselves over the years," Wisniewski said. "We were willing to try anything, put strings on a song, put keyboards on a song ... put things upfront that we normally wouldn't do."

Working with influential producer Dave Jergen (Jane's Addiction, Alice In Chains) was a big step for the band, according to Wisniewski.

"We wanted someone from the rock world who had a really good track record and he's done Jane's Addiction, Alice In Chains and Spinal Tap in the rock world, and on the punk side of things he's done Social Distortion and the Offspring. So, he gets us and he gets the rock thing and he had a lot of really, really good ideas. It was a blast working with him," Wisniewski said.

Some listeners have also noticed a decline in MXPX's religious message over its past few albums, though according to Wisniewski, it's still there.

"I think it's probably not so cut-and-dry and right in your face ... It's still there, it's just not as blatant," he said.

With the help of Jergen and a more free approach to the style of music they play, MXPX opened doors to a new aural arena where acoustic guitars and subtle strings slice through the standard punk fare.

"I'm really, really happy with the way ["Before Everything and After"] turned out. I haven't been this happy with a record since "Teenage Politics" which was my first record ever, and just listening to that thing and going 'Wow, this is me?' I can't stop listening to it ... I'm a total fan of my band."

The album is sure to please both those listening to MXPX for the first time with "Before Everything and After," or long-time fans. Check it out Sept. 16.

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