Suicidal Tendencies are the type of band that if you are down with S T! then you are always going to be. These cross-thrash masters hail out of Venice California and have been around since the 1980’s and have brought with them a unique sense of style and sound to punk rock. In 2016, they released their 13th studio album World Gone Mad, and have an upcoming Ep Get Your Fight On releasing March 30th. We chat with the bands’ legendary frontman Mike Muir about punk, skateboarding, legacies and their upcoming shows as part of Australia’s first ever Download Festival in Melbourne, March 24th, 2018.

SCENEzine
I am a huge S T fan it’s an honour to talk with you. Firstly how’s 2018 treating you?

Mike Muir
We are just gearing up now for the music part, we have our new Ep out and then we start out our tour of New Zealand, Australia then Japan and go on all around the world. Following that we have a new Lp out in September, so it is busy.

SCENEzine
It’s not long until you are back in Australia for Download and your own shows. You must be pretty keen to get back down here?

Mike Muir
I have so many friends down there and lived there for a while so it is always nice and we get to be a part of the Download festival in its first year there. We played Download in Paris, England and Madrid and they are great festivals, also knowing a little about festivals that fell through in Australia and hearing rumours of Download a couple of years ago we are very stoked and happy to be on the first one.

SCENEzine
Suicidal are playing a few sideshows also on this tour do you prefer festival or sideshows?

Mike Muir
What I love about the festivals is I prefer a big stage, I like to move, I don’t like feeling claustrophobic, that is one thing. The other thing we found, especially playing the festivals in Europe, is there are so many people that won’t go see you that really don’t know the music and might have seen a picture of us and go ‘whoah I’m not like that‘ or they have seen the shirts and hats and really don’t equate it to the music. Also, the young people who will see our name and go oh I will check them out so that gives us a great opportunity to be a comparison to other bands and gives them the opportunity to see what we are doing and what we’re about, that is one of the great things about festivals. Oh, and years later someone will come up to you say the first time I saw you was this year and it was at this festival and I had never heard of you guys and you guys came on and I was like ‘what the hell is this?’  it rocks! That is a great thing when you get to make an impression on people who weren’t expecting it.

Obviously doing your own shows is fun and the people are very excited to see you. They come with such enthusiasm and if you can’t be excited when you’re in an environment like that you don’t love what you are doing, so it is a great confirmation of what we do, an opportunity for us to remind people of not only why they love the band but you get to have them even more stoked on the future of the band.

SCENEzine
Can we expect to see plenty of that rad Suicidal merch up for sale at the shows?

Mike Muir
Yea, we love to dress good and look good and we have been doing our own thing for a very long time, it is a little more trickier bringing stuff in because we make a lot of our own stuff and with the customs and all that. But it is better for us to do that than sometimes have to deal with various local people that do rock stuff because it is profited for them so they get the cheapest option and crank it out. We like our stuff to last, we like it when people say I bought this 14 years ago and they can still wear it, it costs a little bit more with the tariffs and all that but I think it is better in the long run.

SCENEzine
Suicidal has been a major influence on skateboard culture what’s your view on skateboard culture today and Suicidal Tendencies place in it?

Mike Muir
I think one of the things I am most proud of is my brother was inducted into the Skateboard Hall of Fame and two years later in 2016, we were inducted into the Skateboard Hall of Fame and that is a major honour. Obviously, I was the first quote-unquote Skate pro that was on the cover of Thrasher. You go back over these magazines and look how people dressed before Suicidal came out and a kind of transformation of the way and look of what skaters wore. It obviously started with Dogtown and then we continued and you can see that and obviously being able to make Suicidal Skates we have done a lot of collabs and work with some legendary names in skateboarding and that lead into the extreme sports. It has been great that we get to play so many different types of events and now people from so many types of extreme sports use our music to motivate them, that is a huge compliment.

SCENEzine
Body Count recently did an ”institutionalized” cover and sited Suicidal as a major influence in forming their band, do you ever get the chance to step back and realise the legacy that you have created with Suicidal Tendencies?   

Mike Muir
It’s kind of like what my dad always said, people get into legacies and things like that, it is like statues in the park, looks like a great idea when they put it up but then the pigeon just shits on it. I think it is an honour with Body Count doing that, we used to make ICE-T shirts back in the early 80s so like these are people that we know and we feel good about their success and the sentiment being that we appreciate that they got some value out of the band and kind of influenced the direction that they went, whether it was music style or attitude in terms of them doing their own things and not trying to follow certain trends.

And whenever we play a big festival there are so many people we often get ‘so and so wants to meet you is that okay?’, and I’m like yeah that’s cool and they get a picture and I’m like that’s cool and that are like ‘man I never do this’ and I am like man you are making me feel old you better get the picture before I die (laugh), but it’s very cool and we are very respectful like that.

SCENEzine
“Institutionalized” is that song that often gets the mosh pit going crazy, can you describe the feeling you get when playing that live?

Mike Muir
For years we didn’t play it, but one of the things I think about that song and our first record is that it has definitely lasted the test of time, there are so many people that are like my friends that have kids and they just love it and they play it to them and they are like ‘whoah, who is this?’ This is how I feel!’, so it’s past generations and it isn’t bell bottoms ya know or that kind of thing where you go oh my god, I can’t believe you used to do that. I think it is a very honest record and it expresses frustration in an honest way that maybe other people don’t do. They are more concerned with how people will interrupt it rather than just saying what they want to say, not brag or anything like that but it is a timeless record and some records are just classics within a classic and I think it is a viable record to this day.

SCENEzine
Earlier you mentioned the new Ep and I know on one of the tracks you have Travis Barker on drums, what was that like?

Mike Muir
It was actually really cool, we were in a situation that we know we were going to have this, we were trying to put the EP out before World Gone Mad, but then we got Dave Lombardo in the band and everything kind of got switched and when you put out an EP with the title track of the song that has already been released it is kind of strange, so the point then you wanted to have originally is still valid, like Rogers released his version of get your bass on, did a video and we have Dean doing guitar, one instrumental beside the album version and we wanted to do more of an acoustic style one so it had a completely different feel, so basically you have the same song but there are four different versions that are completely different.

The point is I think a lot of times, especially nowadays, when people don’t want to communicate they just want to yell and they don’t want to hear what anyone else has to say they just want to hear what they want to hear and they are the type of people whose basis of strength is based on numbers my dad always said there are two types of fights, one where you fight with your fists and you end up with scars and the ones where you fight with your mind and those ones cut way deeper, and the battles that are really important in life are the one you fight with your mind so for us ‘get your fight on’ is about being way smarter it’s about doing your thing, it’s about knowing who you want to be and about figuring out a path to get to that.

It’s about not being the victim it’s about being victorious it’s about realising in a particular moment it may not be where you want to be in life but that is just an opportunity to fight a little harder be a little stronger and sometimes there is nothing wrong with taking a step back and regrouping coming up with a better plan, just quitting is never a good plan. So, for us to get that approach we don’t do the same old same old, do something different but do it for the right reason because you believe it’s good and has some validity and you don’t need confirmation from anybody else.

SCENEzine
After your Australian tour, you’ll be playing Punk Rock Bowling in Vegas. Are you excited for that?

Mike Muir
Definitely very excited that is one of the ones we have never been invited too and it’s the 20th anniversary so we are excited to do it and we are going to play a straight up brutal fucking punk rock set on that and it is a great opportunity for us to show what Suicidal Punk is all about to a punk rock audience and I hope they are ready for it ya know? I think Suicidal Punk is very definitive unique and I think it is going to insanely fun.

Interview – Chad

 

 

 

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