After forming as teenagers in Washington State, West Coast punks MxPx went on to find mainstream success in the late '90s and early 2000s thanks in part to their buzz-worthy 1996 single, "Chick Magnet." Already an established part of the Tooth & Nail roster, they notched a major-label distribution deal that helped subsequent albums like 2000's The Ever Passing Moment and 2003's Before Everything & After ascend the Billboard charts and earn the band's place among the pop-punk establishment. Although aligned with Christian punk in the early part of their career, MxPx essentially became a secular band for the bulk of their existence. After a brief stint with SideOneDummy in 2005, they rejoined their original label, Tooth & Nail, for most of the remainder of the decade. The band's output slowed somewhat in the 2010s, though they celebrated their 20th anniversary with 2012's Plans Within Plans. MxPx later enjoyed another prolific spell first with their eponymous 2018 album, followed in close succession by a Christmas EP and an array of singles.
MxPx formed in 1993 in Bremerton, Washington. Originally dubbed Magnified Plaid, the group launched while its three members -- vocalist/bassist Mike Herrera, drummer Yuri Ruley, and guitarist Andy Husted -- were still attending high school. The moniker was later shortened to MxPx after Ruley abbreviated the name on some show flyers; poor handwriting saw the periods being interpreted as x's instead, and the name stuck. Wielding an energetic sound that was inspired by bands like the Descendents and NOFX, California's skateboard culture, and, during their early years, the band's own Christian faith, MxPx wasted little time attracting a local following. Though initially dubbed a Christian punk band, religious themes were never an overbearingly dominant force in their songs and, as MxPx progressed in their career, the Christian elements were for the most part phased out.
By the time the three friends had received their driver's licenses, they had already released several 7" singles and a debut album, Pokinatcha, for Tooth & Nail Records in 1994. It quickly became the label's best-seller and prompted the release of the band's sophomore effort, Teenage Politics, late the next year. By this time, Husted had been replaced by guitarist Tom Wisniewski, and the group quickly followed the release of Teenage Politics with a short collection of cover songs entitled On the Cover. Popular with the skate/surf community as well as the punk underground (with a snowboard sponsorship to their name), MxPx ultimately broke out of the underground in 1996 with their classic third LP, Life in General. The album included such fan favorites as "Chick Magnet" and "Move to Bremerton."
Having landed a distribution deal with A&M Records, Life in General was re-released, followed in 1998 by MxPx's major-label debut, Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo, which eventually went gold. That fall, they also released the compilation album Let It Happen on their old Tooth & Nail label; the odds-and-sods collection contained B-sides, demos, and other stray tracks. The 1999 live recording At the Show displayed MxPx's ability to re-create their spunky music in concert, while their next full-length, The Ever Passing Moment, continued their ascent up the charts upon its 2000 release.
Over the next few years, MxPx remained busy, issuing an EP and 7" single on Fat Wreck Chords, contributing the "Scooby Doo" theme song to the 2002 Scooby Doo movie, then releasing their first greatest-hits release, Ten Years and Running in 2002. Their next official studio effort came in the form of 2003's Before Everything & After, an album that alienated some fans with its slick production, but netted the band their highest-ever chart placement at number 51 on the Billboard 200. After another career retrospective, the 2004 B-Movie DVD, MxPx revisited their Christian roots by contributing a track to The Passion of the Christ: Songs, a compilation inspired by the 2004 film of the same name. Seen by some fans as a return to form, the band's seventh studio album, Panic, was released in 2005 on the Side One Dummy label. MxPx spent summer 2006 on the road with ska-punks Reel Big Fish before issuing their next record, Let's Rock, that October. Let's Rock was comprised of previously unreleased tracks from recording sessions dating back to 2000. The next month, Tooth & Nail reissued a deluxe version of MxPx's 1998 rarities compilation Let It Happen, including a bonus DVD and several unreleased songs. After re-signing with Tooth & Nail, with the group released their eighth album, Secret Weapon, in 2007. They remained on the roster for the 2009 release of On the Cover II, another covers album that paid tribute to the band's early days while showing appreciation for the likes of the Clash, Ramones, and the Go-Go's. Late that year, MxPx issued the EP Left Coast Punk on their own label, Rock City Recording Company; for the holidays, they issued Punk Rawk Christmas digitally and in several limited-edition packages.
A documentary film, Both Ends Burning, appeared at the end of 2011, setting the table for MxPx's 20th anniversary, which they celebrated in 2012 by releasing their ninth studio album, Plans Within Plans. Apart from a 2016 re-recording of Life in General, which the band released in celebration of that album's 20th anniversary, MxPx remained relatively quiet until launching a crowd-funding campaign in early 2018 to support their upcoming studio release. Appearing later that year, the self-titled MxPx marked the band's tenth full-length release. They rounded out the year with the holiday EP Punk Rawk Christmas, then returned in 2019 with the stand-alone singles "San Dimas High School Football Rules" and "Franco Un-American." ~ John Bush & Corey Apar