Doors 7:00 PM / Show 7:30 PM
17 & Over, valid ID required for entry.
Since MxPx’s inception in 1992 in the blue-collar naval town of Bremerton, Washington, the trio—vocalist/bassist Mike Herrera, guitarist Tom Wisniewski and drummer Yuri Ruley—have been mainstays in both the pop-punk and punk-rock scenes thanks to a prolific back catalog and road-warrior mentality.
That youthful exuberance and appetite for success can be found all over POKINATCHA, the band’s 1994 Tooth & Nail Records debut release. Bursting with speedy, pit-ready anthems, the disc’s 21 tracks showcased a band with some serious punk-rock chops that still had a knack for melody. True to the band’s punk-rock roots and hard-charged work ethic, their follow-up album hit stores a mere 10 months later. TEENAGE POLITICS was the first to feature Wisniewski, who stepped in on guitar after Husted was asked to leave the band in 1994.
Shortly after the Teenage Politics sessions wrapped, the band returned to Seattle to record the aptly named ON THE COVER, marking MxPx’s first EP. The eight-song disc featured MxPx putting their trademark punk-rock spin on classics.
With the success of singles “Move To Bremerton” and “Chick Magnet,” their third T&N release, the seminal LIFE IN GENERAL, is still today hailed by many as their definitive work. In 1997, the band signed to A&M Records and released SLOWLY GOING THE WAY OF THE BUFFALO, in 1998, which went gold.
The band took a decidedly different turn for 2000’s THE EVER PASSING MOMENT, choosing to favor 1970s powerpop a la Elvis Costello instead of the double-time SoCal punk they grew up on, featuring lush harmonies, slower tempos and even a cameo from Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl (“The Next Big Thing”). The album’s first single, “Responsibility,” gave the band another hit, peaking at No. 24 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart, and The Offspring hand-selected MxPx to open their fall 2000 tour.
The band’s emerging pop tendencies were fully realized on 2003’s BEFORE EVERYTHING & AFTER, their third effort for A&M. Featuring guest appearances from members of New Found Glory, Good Charlotte and The Ataris, BEFORE EVERYTHING & AFTER was stacked with potential radio-ready singles. The biggest feather in the band’s cap came when Diet Pepsi selected the track “Well Adjusted” for an ad that debuted during Super Bowl XXXVII.
MxPx left A&M in 2005, and soon thereafter reemerged on Southern California indie label SideOneDummy. The label issued PANIC, the band’s seventh album, in 2005, and MxPx once again spent the summer on Vans Warped Tour with the likes of Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Relient K.
The group’s time on SideOneDummy was brief, and MxPx returned to Tooth & Nail Records, their original home, for 2007’s SECRET WEAPON, the band’s first studio album for Tooth & Nail in a decade.
The band also appeased fans in 2009 with a second installment of the popular ON THE COVER series—a collection of cover songs from artists like Descendents, U2 and The Go-Gos—as well as a special Christmas-themed collection, PUNK RAWK CHRISTMAS, the same year.
When it came time to release new original music in 2009, the legendary punk-rock act took matters into their own hands. The band retreated to Herrera’s Bremerton studio, Monkey Trench, and the result, the LEFT COAST PUNK EP, was classic MxPx. Marrying Herrera’s knack for strong melodies with the punk bite the band are known for, the album—which was released on the band’s Rock City Recordings label—was a short, snappy reminder that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean mellowing out.
In late 2010, nearing two decades of playing together, drummer Yuri Ruley questioned being in the band and performed what he thought would be his last performance as a full-time member of MxPx at Wasted Space in The Hard Rock Cafe, Las Vegas. At the same time, guitarist Tom Wisniewski turned in his part-time status as well, taking on a full-time job in Bremerton. Vegas provided more than a chance to reminisce about the past through their first full LIFE IN GENERAL live set. The sold-out show helped rekindle the spark of creativity, reaffirming that Ruley and Wisniewski would continue with the band but would drastically scale back on touring.
In December 2011, MxPx released a music documentary, BOTH ENDS BURNING, which was directed by longtime fan and friend, Bryan Buchelt of Snaproll Studios. The film features footage from the band’s 2008 world tour all the way to the band’s sold-out Seattle show in March 2011. Ruley and Wisniewski have since remained members of the band and with Herrera, MxPx released their ninth full-length album, PLANS WITHIN PLANS on April 3, 2012 within the U.S. and Canada through MRI/Rock City Recording Company.
In an industry with constant turnover flooded by flavors of the week and gimmicky artists looking to make a quick buck, it’s the ultimate accomplishment that MxPx have survived nearly two decades and still remain one of the pop-punk world’s most well-respected names.
Even if you have all their albums and can sing all their songs, you don't know Unwritten Law until you've seen them live.
With nearly 2 million albums sold and half-a-dozen radio hits, SoCal's favorite sons captured one of these fiery performances on their first-ever concert LP/DVD, Live & Lawless. Recorded last March at the Key Club on Sunset Strip, Live & Lawless shows UL – singer Scott Russo, guitarist Steve Morris, bassist Pat Kim and tour drummer Dylan Howard – blowing the doors off with such power-packed rock hits as "Up All Night," "Save Me (Wake Up Call)" and the Modern Rock No. 1 smash "Seein' Red."
"Unwritten Law is a genuine high-powered live rock band, and I don't think there are a lot of bands out there like that anymore," says Russo. "We just wanted to put it down on wax so fans would have a chance to take that experience home and so people can see us even if they live in Tasmania and wherever else they can't make it out to shows."
For longtime fans, Live & Lawless dusts off a few classics that haven't been played as often in recent years. Examples include "Mean Girl," "Babylon" and their early radio hit "Caitlin." In fact, when the band started practicing "Underground" as another such addition, the song sounded so good live that it became their new concert opener.
"We played for an hour and a half, and we definitely put up a set list with songs we don't always play," says Russo. "I mean, we never play for an hour and a half!"
While the album features 16 live tracks, the DVD features 22 songs, including an entire five-song acoustic set in the middle of the performance. As the band closes the solos-filled "Lonesome," the players grab acoustic guitars and seamlessly segue into their Top 20 rock hit "Rest of My Life." Though they typically don't play acoustic songs on tour, UL included the mini-set for fans of their popular unplugged release Music in High Places. The drop in distortion doesn't equate to a drop in energy, though, as the band delivers spirited performances of "Before I Go," "Elva," "Shallow" and an acoustic-electric mix of their 2005 hit "She Says" before plugging back in for "Lost Control." A few songs later, UL closes the night with its original underground hit "C.P.K."
"That's how we typically end the set for all our old school fans," says Russo. "'C.P.K.' was the first song that I actually wrote for the band, and that was the staple for Unwritten Law when we first got recognized. Back then, it was everyone's favorite song, from the band to the label to the fans."
Live & Lawless also features the bonus studio track "Shoulda Known Better.” While they include the live version in the set, the band also filmed an official (uncensored) music video for the song that appears on the DVD.
Formed in San Diego in the early '90s, UL was a major part of the pop-punk movement that swept the decade. As the band developed, UL started writing bigger songs that retained the punk energy but featured more of a rock sound. Over the past few years, Russo doubled his efforts as a songsmith, and UL grew into what could be described as singer-songwriter punk rock, which is why UL is one of the few punk bands that could pull off an acoustic set.
In their efforts to push their creativity and songwriting strengths, the band recorded for a number of different labels, including three of the four major label groups and a few indies. For Live & Lawless, UL partnered with their longtime friends at Suburban Noize Records, who will also release their next studio album in 2009.
In the meantime, UL plans to tour for Live & Lawless, and as the DVD demonstrates, the band is as popular as ever. After posting an online news item about the upcoming live recording, fans flew in from as far away as the East Coast and Australia for the historic concert. Of course, all the fans showed their support by going nuts for each and every song.
"Unwritten Law is really a live band, and this is a great chance to see how we interact live on stage," says Russo. "This is a really hard rockin' Unwritten Law show."