Suicidal Tendencies are all kinds of legendary. At the forefront of the Californian hardcore scene in the early 80’s, the band affectionately known by fans as ‘ Suicidals’ pioneered crossover thrash and earned themselves one of the most loyal fanbases of any band in history. Their early single ‘Institutionalized’ was one of the first hardcore tracks to garner mainstream attention. They toured the Australian East Coast back in 2009, now they’ve just kicked off another tour, this time adding Adelaide and Perth to the party. While they were in Australia, Killyourstereo jumped at the opportunity to speak with vocalist and founding member Mike ‘Cyko Miko’ Muir.
Hey Mike, it’s great to be talking to you. How are you?
Good dude, how you going?
Yeah great man. Well you’re just about to kick off your Australian tour mate, looking forward to it?
Oh yeah, always. We did three shows back in December 09 and I think that really kicked things off for us in Australia. Being here is always exciting.
Yeah for sure man, obviously we had you on Soundwave 08 as well. Have you got any particularly good memories of those last two tours?
I have nothing but good memories from everything man, that’s kind of the way we have always approached things. You can’t always control things and they don’t always turn out the way we want, but for us we always work out if we really want to do something before we do it which makes it easier to get excited about it and have fun doing it.
Is there anything you can tell us about the new album?
One of the things we’ve realised is when you’re young and out your first record and start playing it to people you are never thinking about thirty years down the track, I mean that’s twice as old as you are at the time. What we’ve learned is that when we do a new record, we know what we’re doing, we know it will be a great record and we’re not going to worry about what people are listening to at any given time. We just have to make sure we like it and we’re not trying to be some kind of a tribute to something else. An album has to be a statement of what we believe in. Consequently I think our music has obviously held up against the test of time. The new record will be the same, we’re not going to try and fit in with what other people are doing, it’s something that we are going to think very strongly of and that in 10-20 years later it will still sound good to someone who is hearing it for the first time. I think that’s the most important thing.
Definitely, and one of the biggest things I’ve noticed from what I’ve seen of your shows you tend to get pull crowds that are largely quite cross-generational. Do you find it awesome that kids are still discovering your stuff even though there hasn’t been new material in quite a while?
Definitely, we’ve kind of always taken the family approach to our band and our fans. We played a show a few years ago where we had four generations of the same family there. And then there was a show in Arizona where we had 23 people who were all related to eachother. You stand there and think ‘wow, this is a really great situation.’
How long have you been writing new material for?
Well we have our own studio back home in The States and being our own label and with the way music is now, we don’t have to worry about putting something out by a certain time. Right now we have so much music, and we’ll play stuff and people will be like ‘fuck, what’s that?’ and one of us will be like ‘I don’t know man, just some stuff I’ve been working on’ and then (they would ask) ‘when’s it coming out?” and we’d be like ‘I don’t know man, I don’t even know if it will!’ We’re not really worried about ‘the game’ as much as we are about the music. I think that will probably come across when the next record comes out. Probably early next year I would imagine. I think in October I’ll be doing a Cyco Miko record which will have a taste of new Suicidal, old unreleased Suicidal, new Infectious Grooves, old Infectious Grooves and a bunch of other stuff as well. I think that will give people a taste of what’s to come and also surprise a few people with some of the stuff that we never put out.
Suicidals music has always been held synonymous with the world of skating. How closely do you think music and extreme sports are related?
Well now obviously a lot with all the sponsorships and shows and all that, but I think originally with skating for us, I mean my brother was a Dogtown skater and he was one of the very first people who skated pools. I mean now if you were going to skate in a pool people would think nothing of it, but back then if somebody said they were going to skate in a pool they would be like ‘What!?’ A lot of things that have become mainstream were very irrational at the time. Skaters were some of the first people who got into punk rock and into Suicidal because the punk rockers didn’t like the fact that we weren’t trying to fit in and we definitely weren’t wearing the leather or the make-up that the metal people were wearing. We’ve never tried to fit into a category, we didn’t care. I think the skaters were the most open minded people at the time. To me, skating, surfing an all that, it’s all high energy stuff and that’s what we do musically so it goes very well together.
Obviously Suicidal have always had a very dedicated fanbase, what would be the craziest fan tribute to your band that you’ve ever seen?
That’s the sort of question that if there was a bunch of people here they would all start rambling things off [laughs]. The first tour Infectious Grooves did, we opened for Ozzy Osbourne. One of the first shows we did on that tour was in Texas and the hotel was just across the parking lot from the auditorium. We were just walking and we saw Robert Trujillo and Dean [Pleasants] sort of bent over and staring at something and I’m just thinking ‘what the fuck are they looking at?’ So we went over an there’s like this pentagram with a dead owl in it an we’re just like ‘Dude, I wonder what this tour’s going to be like?’ I think that’s the difference, we don’t get the stuff like that where people feel like they have to act a certain way. People love our music, they identify with it and they’re there to have a good time.
Have you got anything planned for the band’s 30th anniversary?
Nah not at all, I can’t see us doing anything like that. I’m not a ribbons and balloons kind of guy, I think my last birthday party I was 8 years old! I don’t really get into that kind of thing. I’m not a sentimental sort of person.
Do you think since Robert Trujillo joined Metallica, many new kids discovering Metallica and doing the bookwork have latched on to your band that way?
Not really man, it’s hard to say. We’ve done shows and met the younger people who have been like ‘oh dude, I brought my little cousin to come check you guys out and now he loves you guys’ I’ve never heard someone say ‘dude, Metallica’s my favourite band so I’m coming to see you guys’ [laughs].
Looking back, do you think you could pick your favourite Suicidals album?
Nah definitely not, I’ve got three kids and if someone asked who’s your favourite kid I definitely couldn’t answer.
If you could form a supergroup of any musicians alive or dead, who would, you choose?
I would have to answer that with the dead ones. You would have to get Hendrix , bass is difficult…oh Jaco! Jaco Pastorius. Drums you would have to get someone like Keith Moon, just because he was a maniac. Definitely not me on vocals, maybe Elvis to add some craziness.
I think we’re out of time Mike, any final comments or shoutouts you’d like to make man?
Just that we’re really looking forward to the shows. Oh and look out for the Suicidal Surf, Skate, Slam Team. We’re sponsoring some skaters and surfers and helping the younger crowd gain recognition for the older skaters and surfers that are a big reason why the sports are so big in Australia today, there’s some real legends here.
Awesome man, will do. Thanks a lot for your time.
Ok dude, take care.