MxPx’s Yuri Ruley discusses change and longevity of the band

Nicholas Sparling

Before their show on April 7, I had the chance to sit down with Yuri Ruley, the drummer from MxPx.

Question: I heard you recently became a father.
Answer: Yeah, in May. May 7, to a little girl.
Q: You guys also just recently toured in Europe.
A: Yeah, I actually missed that.
Q: Since the beginning of your band you guys have gone through many different stages. What sparks the change or evolution in the band?
A: What sparks our evolution is every time we make a record, we view that as like the cutting edge of where our band is at.
We can then look at that and work on pushing ourselves as musicians, you just see what you’ve done and continue in that direction.
Every year, we do more and gather experiences to add to who we are as a band. Then when it’s time to make a new record, we look at our last record and see what we liked, what we want to change, where we are, and where we would like to be.
Having that record is like having a snapshot of where we’re at as a band.
Q: In relevance to where you guys started out, where would you say you are now?
A: Wow, miles and miles and miles of change. We started off in a small town in Washington as just three guys who wanted to do something punk and it just turned into a 16-year-long career, making music and traveling the world. It’s hard to quantify all that’s happened because there has just been so much, I mean, there’s you personally, then there’s you as in your band.
Q: How have the fans changed since you guys started as a band?
A: Well, we have them. When we first started as a band, it was hard. It takes years for a band to gather a following. People love us, and people hated us. When you’re a new band, it seems like nobody likes you. You have to work to gather any kind of following. We started locally, then went on tour, and that’s just how you did it. This was before the Internet. We had a record out, but no one had heard it.
Q: People call your sound “skater punk.” Would you consider that an accurate label?
A: The two have always had a connection: rock and skating. You know the connection between fast music and extreme sports? When we started on the punk scene, it was sort of down here. Then bands like Green Day started to get famous. It’s just like any other trend, and I don’t want to say I have an opinion that I like or dislike it. I think it’s just the nature of the beast. Bands start showing up on the radio or MTV. But being a band for a year and a half you see all the changes, like ska, and there are still bands like Real Big Fish that draw a huge crowed every night wherever they go.
Q: Around the year 2000, MTV started playing music from the punk scene. This led to bands being labeled as sellouts. How did your band fair through that whole time?
A: The whole sellout thing is now like passed on where it used to be a big deal. You heard words like ‘sellout’ or ‘poser,’ but it just isn’t an issue like it used to be.
Q: Is where you’re at now where you wanted to be when you started out?
A: Well, I guess you dream of it. You just work hard and dream on being successful, and I think we’ve far exceeded that goal.
The longevity tends to speak for itself. We’re not the biggest band, but we’ve been been maintaining and at least making a living for ourselves.
Q: Now being a father, how have things changed?
A: It changes everything. All of a sudden, you’re in charge of another life, another life than needs a lot of attention. It changes your life and the life of the people around you, and if your lucky like I am, they understand.
Q: Do you have any part in the song writing?
A: Yeah, in the very end, we all get a say. Mike will write the song, then we go into record it, and sometimes it will be a definite song, and sometimes it will just be a loose idea of a song.
We all learn the song, then we put in our parts since sometimes a song gets changed completely or sometimes not at all; it just depends on how happy we are with it.
Q: What are most of your songs about? If you had a single message that you as a band want to get across, what would that be?
A: The word ‘hope’ comes to mind because I think it’s something everybody wants: They want to have hope that tomorrow will be better. I think it’s a real powerful thing.