Interview with Thomas Edmund Wisniewski
By Yuya Saito
has been almost 12 years since MxPx became a band.
The members of MxPx were young
back then. They are still young now.
It has been a long journey for the trio from a Bremerton,
a small Navy town in Washington. A lot has changed
since they were 15-years-olds. They have all matured.
They have all gotten married. They even made a TV
commercial for a popular soda pop.
But they are still going strong
and nurturing their love of California Punk.
Their experience and youth are a good mix; Good enough
to give them confidence enough to throw the unexpected
to their fans.
The trio has done well with their
talents, as demonstrated by Everything Before &
After, the third album released by A&M. It is
radio-friendly pop, yet their edge still remains strong
with intense guitar strumming and fills from guitarist
As it states in the title, it
is everything that they have done before, and (somehow?)
it is everything they will do in the future.
In a greenroom backstage at the
House of Blues is where Smash Magazine met with Tom
Wisniewski, guitarist /singer of MxPx to talk about
the band, the album, his personal life and their tour
with three great bands: Simple Plan, Sugarcult and
SM: Do you have
any interesting stories from Vegas?
Tom Wisniewski: I won about $800
on Craps one time, and I went out and bought a guitar
that I used for most of the year on recording and
stuff. Caesar’s Palace bought me a guitar. That
was pretty nice.
SM: What do think
of this tour so far?
TM: Oh, this tour is great. We’ve
got four great bands together. I mean when we put
this thing together, there was Simple Plan, then we
had to get a really cool support band, so I was like
“we’ve got to get Sugarcult.”
SM: What does
MxPx stand for?
TW: The original name of the band
was Magnified Plaid as in like really big plaid. We
were young. It’s kind of a dumb band name. “X’s”
instead of periods for abbreviation. That’s
the gist of it. Now we are stuck with it.
SM: Where does
the logo come from? (The kid logo)
TW: For the first record, Mike was
talking to this graphic artist when he was doing the
artwork. He said we want like a little punk dude on
the front cover, like cartoon punk guy, so he drew
one version, and he was really angry and mean looking.
Mike was like “No goofy cartoon looking.”
You know, an oversized head or something. That’s
how that guy came about.
SM: What have
the past 11 years as MxPx been like?
TW: It’s almost 12 now. It’s
been great. I mean we’ve just had a great time
traveling around countries in the world more times
than I could remember.
SM: What do you
hope to do for the next 10 years?
TW: I hope we keep doing it, keep
going around the world and playing more shows and
having a great time. I’m enjoying this. I don’t
want to stop.
SM: When did you
start playing your instrument?
TW: Maybe about a year or so before
I was in the band. I got a little acoustic and was
just kind of figuring out like Green Day’s songs
in my bedroom. One day they were looking for another
guitarist. I was the one they thought would be dependable.
SM: What were
some of your favorite bands when you started to play?
TW: Definitely, Descendants and All.
Those are huge influences on us.
SM: Which band
convinced you that Punk music is your music?
TW: Definitely, Descendants.
SM: What was the
first impression of Descendants?
TW: A friend of mine let me borrow
“Livage”. It’s one of their live
records. I just remember listening to it. It was kind
like wow, it’s intense and it’s fast.
It’s blowing right through one song to another
and just great songs. It really grabbed me right away.
I had songs stuck in my head afterward.
SM: What are your
some of the favorite bands now?
TW: I love The Clash and Elvis Costello.
As far as young bands, I really like Thrice.
SM: Besides punk, what kind of music
do you like?
TW: I like some heavier kind of metal
stuff, and I like a bunch of country stuff. I like
a lot of hip hop. A good song is a good song to me.
SM: Who is your
favorite hip hop artist?
TW: I think Ludacris probably. He
is really funny, and he is really good at what he
does. I like Outkast and Eminem too.
SM: What are you
usually doing before the concert?
TW: We are going to have a sound
check and stuff. About an hour before the show, we
get together and we play acoustic guitars and sing
to stretch out and stuff. Be ready to play, you know.
You can’t just jump straight into it. You’ll
SM: What was it
like to be in a TV commercial?
TW: It was cool. It was actually
really fun. We flew down to L.A. and shot for two
days. When it was on TV all the time, me and my wife
would be sitting and watching The Simpsons or something,
and our commercial would come on. It was cool. It
debuted on the Super Bowl too, so that was a big deal
for my parents. It was a cool thing, and I’d
do it again.
SM: How do you
spend your spare time?
TW: When I am at home usually, you
know, hang out with my wife, go over to Seattle and
hang out with some friends. I’ve got an old
car, and I work on that a lot.
SM: What kind
of car is it?
TW: It’s a 1964 Chevy Malibu
Supersport. It’s pretty original. I’m
doing a little bit work on the engine, just making
it a little stronger.
SM: In “Everything
Before & After” there are many new elements
in both lyrics and music. What was going on when you
guys were recording it?
TW: We wanted to go into it, and
not do the same thing we’ve done before. We
wanted to kind of change things up a little bit by
adding different kinds of songs and sounds. I think
that definitely helped. We tried to have more variety
to our record.
SM: How did you
get the guests on this album like Kris Roe from The
Ataris and Benji Maddan from Good Charlotte?
TW: They are just friends of ours.
We were recording in L.A. and Kris lives in L.A.,
Benji was passing through on tour, Jordan from New
Found, he lives down there. We were like "we
are going to have friends sing for us."
SM: It seems like
the punk music’s ethos is leaning towards a
political message like NOFX's latest effort "War
on Errorism," and with Pennywise on two of their
recent releases, what is your opinion on this?
TW: That’s definitely always
has been a punk rock thing. We are not that political
of a band really. We’ve never used our songs
as a political weapon.
SM: Do you think
you are ever going to use your music as a political
TW: Maybe we will, maybe we won’t.
There is no plan or anything like that.
SM: Which do you like to do the most,
touring or recording?
TW: They are both equal. I like the
shows, because of the immediate impact, but it’s
really fun to be in the studio too. Have fresh ideas
and see if they work, and try to get different sounds
to see if that works with the song.
SM: Is there any
thing you would like to add?
TW: We are going to be doing lots of touring. Keep
your eyes out for us to come back through.