When Mike Herrera takes The Underground stage tomorrow night for an acoustic solo show, the performance will be a quieter one than his past shows at the Mesa club. He's hoping the vibe he remembers from his band MxPx's past performances there isn't muted, too.
"I remember the first few times I played in Phoenix (at the former Nile Basement), the shows were great," Herrera says. "They were insane, hot sweaty punk shows, and people went crazy. That was the heyday of the punk scene in Arizona. Every place we played after that didn't seem quite right."
The show will be a special one for Arizona -- Herrera says he's only done a few solo shows, and this one will be the only one on this tour to feature a set full of MxPx songs. Herrera says to expect an intimate affair, with lots of crowd interactions and possibly some songs by-request.
"The main challenge is not screwing up because it's really obvious when you do," Herrera says. "You really have to concentrate and relax. I feel like I get better every time I do it."
Since achieving commercial success with his popular punk band that has played Valley stages numerous times, Hererra's currently working on another project, the impossible-to-categorize Tumbledown. The new band, which had its first release in 2007, is a mix of country, rock-a-billy and punk with the same infectious melodies MxPx fans are used to, with some twang. The band plays Yucca Tap Room on Wednesday, March 24.
"The (Tumbledown) shows have been noticeably better, and more people are coming out, and more people are kind of getting it," Herrera says.
Don't worry, though--MxPx hasn't broken up. The band is just taking a break and has plans to release a behind-the-scenes DVD and book.
Meanwhile, Tumbledown released their self-titled debut last year and also have a limited-edition live album, Live in Tulsa, out. There were only 500 copies of the disc pressed, and the band will have some available this week. They just got done playing South by Southwest and are working on a new album, and even though the band is still considered indie, Herrera says the guys enjoy the creative freedom that comes along with being on an independent label.
"With the way the music industry is, you can really go your own way, and the fans that love that type of music will find you," Herrera says. "We're on an indie label, so we can pretty much do whatever we want."
And don't think Herrera's change in sound has changed his lifestyle as a band member--Tumbledown shows can be just as sweaty and insane as MxPx performances.
"We're a party band," Herrera says. "That's kind of what we're known for. Hopefully we don't get arrested in El Paso on the way to Arizona."