MxPx’s business manager plays dual role

Some mothers encourage their son’s professional choices. Michele Herrera of Bremerton is more of an enabler.

Her son, Michael, is the front man for the Bremerton-based MxPx and Michele serves as the band’s business manager. Her office is what used to be Michael’s room in her Chico Way home before he moved out.

The band also has a recording studio in the back yard, just a stone’s throw from Michael’s old room. The recording studio is relatively new — the band members, Michael (bass and vocals), Tom Wisniewski (guitar and vocals) and Yuri Ruley (drums) — tore down a woodshed and built the recording studio in February 2001.

The role is one she fell into, she said. About a decade ago, Michael asked her to help make some T-shirts for the band and to help keep track of the money — “what little money they had,” Michele said. That one request morphed into her current role.

As the years progressed and the band earned more of a following, the home-based business has grown.

“It started out with a filing cabinet in the breakfast nook,” Michele said, from her packed office last week. A desk, several dual-drawer filing cabinets and a computer fill the room. On a wall-mounted shelf above her desk sits a testament to MxPx’s popularity: doll likenesses of the band members that were created by a hardcore fan.

Among her job duties include paying the band’s bills, keeping track of the paperwork for taxes and getting T-shirts made. She did serve a stint as an intern at the band’s record label, A&M Records, but for the most part, she is self-taught.

While her neatly maintained office testifies to her organization skills, she said she usually works out of “pending” piles and whichever task screams the loudest is the one that gets done first.

Her job also has perks others don’t. She also serves as the band’s official photographer and sometimes accompanies her son to concerts that are a few hour’s drive from Bremerton.

“There are times when it really hits me, how far they’ve come,” Michele said. “Sitting on the right front of the stage with a camera, waiting for the show to start, and there are 18,000 kids out there screaming. It’s really weird. These kids want to see my boys.”

Although Michael is her only biological son, she considers Wisniewski and Ruley to be “her boys,” as well.

Michael said the work his mom does is invaluable. Because she takes care of all the details, the band is able to concentrate on music, he said.

“She does more than we could ever think about,” he said. “She’s like the White House, and we’re the country.”

The soft-spoken, mother-son duo both agree family ties don’t come into play except when Michael goes on the road and needs a dogsitter. Other than that, the only similarity the two share are tattoos.

“People assume that I got mine after Mike did, but I actually got them before he did,” she said.

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