Canton’s Relient K returns to Ohio with MxPx

Kimberly Dick

The band took time from its busy schedule to record a new EP, Apathetic. The disc is comprised of previously unreleased material.

Credit: Jason Hall

Canton-based punk poppers Relient K follow in the footsteps of Hawthorne Heights and Marilyn

Manson as the latest rockers to emerge from the Ohio music scene.

Credit: Jason Hall

Five years ago, Relient K enticed small crowds near Canton with songs about the reliability of the ’80s Plymouth Relient K.

Now Relient K is on Capitol Records and co-headlining a national tour with MxPx.

“The tour is going really well,” said singer and guitarist Matt Thiessen. “We were on Warped Tour with MxPx, and now that we are just playing with a couple other bands, it’s cool to hang out with them. If we weren’t on this tour, I would go see it.”

MxPx is one of the reasons that Relient K started writing songs.

“At night, when we hang out, we tell them embarrassing stories about covering one of their songs or dreaming about playing with them,” Thiessen said. “Most bands like us – our age – were brought up on MxPx.”

Thiessen said he hurt his leg jumping from the trailer to the tour bus at 3 a.m. to get one of his friends a couple weeks ago.

But when he isn’t injured onstage he said he looks like a giraffe “trying to get some leaves from a short tree, because I have long, lanky limbs and play piano on stage sometimes. And it is really low.”

Jumping to Capitol Records doesn’t mean that Relient K sold out.

“People give us crap and stuff, but we’re the same people we always were, trying to appeal to everyone,” Theissen said.

Last November, Relient K released its fourth album, mmhmm. Thiessen said there are aspects of the album that he likes, such as some of the piano and guitar parts.

The more mellow side of Relient K will be in stores Tuesday. This EP, Apathetic, is a collection of unreleased, mostly acoustic tracks.

Thiessen and guitarist Matt Hoopes formed Relient K while in high school near Canton.

“I come up to Kent to hang out with my buddies all the time,” he said. “I like to hang out at the Zephyr.”

He said he likes the dullness of Northeast Ohio when he comes back.

“When I’m on tour, I hit NYC and Seattle and Chicago and cool, happening places,” Thiessen said. “The last thing I want to do is be busy when I’m home. I like how boring it is.”

For the aspiring bands from Northeast Ohio, Thiessen has advice for making it big.

“As long as you’re making something individual, you have a shot,” he said. “But if you’re out there trying to remake whatever is cool, there is a sea of competition. When recording a demo, be really serious about what you’re doing. And be serious about touring.”

Relient K’s members have a fairly relaxed philosophy toward their music. And although they have Christian ideals and write what they believe in, Thiessen said they don’t want to force these beliefs on anyone. They just want people to relate to the songs.

Contact ALL editor Kimberly Dick at [email protected].

Relient K

Playing with MxPx and Rufio

Where? House of Blues, Cleveland

When? Saturday

How much? $20