With eight studio albums under their belt and infinite scene cred, MxPx will always be a well-respected force on the pop-punk circuit. Because they have done so much over the years to influence young bands, MxPx thought they’d try something new and pay tribute to the bands that influenced their own music. With the release of On the Cover II, the band pays its respects to everyone from Queen and Poison (check out the guest vocals from our friend Craig Owens of Chiodos!) to a personal favorite of mine, the Descendents.

What’s better than being in a well-respected and influential band? Being in a well-respected band that respects all life, including the lives of animals! Check out our interview with drummer Yuri Ruley and find out his opinions on vegetarian food, Christianity and animal rights, and product testing on animals.

Here’s Yuri in his own words:What was the process like for selecting which songs made the cut for On the Cover II? Was there a lot of debate about which bands/songs to pay tribute to?
It started out with all of us bringing in playlists of our own personal favorites. Then we listened through all of the material and stated our cases as to why or why not to do certain songs. … We didn’t have too strict a criteria for picking songs/bands to cover. They just had to be songs that we all liked and that we could actually play, so there wasn’t a ton of debate going on. Well, maybe a little. … Mike punched me in the face when I told him I wanted to cover a song by WHAM!As a Christian band, do you feel that Christianity and being sympathetic to animal issues go hand in hand?
I certainly think that [Christianity] can be a vehicle for the humane treatment of animals. I think some of the teachings of the Bible could be read to include animal rights.In our interview with Mike a few years back, he spoke very fondly of his cat and dog. Do you have any companion animals at home, or did you have any as a child?
I grew up with animals and have always been an animal lover. I have two dogs at the moment.

Our “Meat’s Not Green” campaign focuses on the detrimental effects that the meat industry has on the environment. According to a recent United Nations report, the factory farming of animals is the number one cause of climate change. Do you have any thoughts on that issue?
I think we need to change the whole system by changing our buying habits. I think we need to encourage local food producers by buying their wares at farmers’ markets. I think it’s pretty apparent that we’re out of control on so many levels as a species and that we need to do something about it, no matter how small and incremental those changes may be.

Even though you personally aren’t vegetarian, have you ever eaten at a particularly awesome vegetarian restaurant, or are there any vegetarian foods that you really enjoy?
I’m definitely not a “meat at every meal” type of guy. I’m a big fan of all the soy products that are out there now.

Our upcoming summer campaign will focus on product testing on animals. How does it make you feel knowing that some companies still use painful and unnecessary product testing on animals even though more than 600 companies have found alternative non-animal methods? Yeah, I think things have gotten out of hand in that arena. … I’m not into cosmetic[s] companies testing on animals for our own vain reasons.

Of all of the major animal rights issues—factory farming, animal testing, the fur industry, and the use of animals in entertainment—is there anything in particular that you feel strongly about? If so, why?
To me, they’re all sad in their own way. I don’t think humans will ever stop eating meat, but I think we can go about it in a much more humane and responsible way. I believe animals deserve more than we give them now, even if the end result is still the same.

Right on, Yuri! You’re living proof that punk rock, stage diving, and animal rights go hand in hand! If you’re an MxPx fan (like everyone else in the world), don’t forget follow Yuri’s lead and sign our pledge refusing to purchase products from corporations that test their products on animals. Putting that pledge into action is as easy as checking product bottles for the words “No Animal Testing” or viewing our list of cruelty-free products here!