- Suicidal Tendencies
Infobox Musical artist
Name = Suicidal Tendencies
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Venice,
Years_active = 1981–1995, 1998–present
Label = Frontier, Caroline, Virgin, Epic, Suicidal
Infectious Grooves, Cyco Miko, No Mercy, Excel, Uncle Slam, AgainST
URL = [http://www.suicidaltendencies.com/ Official website]
Dave Hidalgo Jr.
Suicidal Tendencies (also known as S.T. or Suicidal) is an American
hardcore punkand heavy metal band. They were formed in Venice, Los Angeles, California, in 1981 by the leader and only permanent member, singer Mike Muir.cite web|url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:hiftxqr5ldae~T10|title=Suicidal Tendencies - Biography|last=Prato|first=Greg|publisher=Allmusic|accessdate=2008-07-27]
Early career, controversy, and first hiatus (1981–1986)
Suicidal Tendencies were formed in 1981 as a
hardcore punkband in Venice, California. The original line-up of the band consisted of Muir on vocals, Mike Ball on guitar, Carlos "Egie" Egert on drums, and Mike Dunnigan on bass. After the recording of its first demo, Carlos Egert left the band and was replaced by Dunnigan's brother Sean. Muir, at the time a student at Santa Monica College, originally only intended Suicidal Tendencies as a "party band" for fun, but as the band grew in notoriety he soon found the band at the center of his life.
Suicidal Tendencies had a rough start that included being voted "Worst Band/Biggest Assholes" in Flipside in 1982. There were many rumors of the band members being involved with
gangs (especially the Cripsor Sureños, with Muirs trademark blue bandanna and the repeated use of the number 13 as prime evidence) and violence at the bands performances (a teenage girl was allegedly killed at one of their early shows)Fact|date=February 2007. In their original line-up photo which can be seen inside their cassette tape self titled "Suicidal Tendencies," their drummer Amery Smith is wearing a flipped up hat and under the bill are the markings "V13" which are initials for the gang Venice 13. The band name was also a source of controversy, although Muir has stated many times that he and the band do not condone suicide. Using the opposition to fuel creativity, they quickly gained a following and began performing at larger gigs.
They recorded a demo in 1982 and were featured on the Slamulation compilation LP on
Mystic Records. The song featured was "I Saw Your Mommy", which was later featured on their self-titled debut album. The Dunnigan brothers quit after these recordings, with Mike Dunnigan later joining Tony Alva's band The Skoundrelz. They were replaced by Mike Ballon guitar and Amery Smithon drums. Ball didn't stay in the band for long and also went to join The Skoundrelz and was replaced by Grant Estes.
All this controversy helped the band gain label attention, and in 1983 Suicidal signed with the independent label
Frontier Recordsand released their self-titled debut. It was described by critic Steve Huey as "Fast, furious, and funny... Mike Muir proves himself an articulate lyricist and commentator, delving into subjects like alienation, depression, and nonconformist politics with intelligence and humor." [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:paw67uu0h0jf] . It contained the song "Institutionalized", which featured a music video that became one of the first hardcore punkvideos to receive substantial MTVairplay, and greatly expanded the band's fan base. The song, with its plaintive "All I wanted was a Pepsi" lyric, was also featured on the "Repo Man" soundtrack.
The band's rumored gang relations became a problem. In 1983 they were banned from performing in their home city of
Los AngelesFact|date=March 2007 (they would not play there again until 1991). Muir was even detained at his home by the U.S. Secret ServiceFact|date=March 2007.
Soon after the release of the debut album in 1983, Estes left the band and was replaced by
Jon Nelson, former manager of Venice-based band Neighborhood Watch. Nelson played many shows with the band but never recorded anything with them (except a live recording of the song "War Inside My head" which he wrote, but traded the credit to Muir for a "Flying 'V' guitar). He and Smith left in 1984 to form another band called The Brood, and were replaced by local metal musicians; guitarist Rocky Georgeand drummer R. J. Herrera. This new line-up made their recording debut contributing to the " Welcome to Venice" compilation for Mike Muir's Suicidal Records. The band finally found a new label in Caroline Records in 1986.
First comeback (1987–1988)
With the line-up of Muir, Mayorga, George, and Herrera, the band released their second album, "
Join the Army", in 1987 (see 1987 in music). The album was met with a mixed reaction from long-time fans due to its considerably more metal-oriented sound (an element brought to the table by Rocky George), as they were expecting another punk album. Nonetheless, "Join the Army" featured classic tracks such as "War Inside My Head" and "Possessed To Skate" (which featured a video, originally intended for an unsuccessful Skateboard Movie, which featured Timothy Leary).
Shortly afterwards, the band made some major changes.
Rocky George's metal influences (reflected in his Motörhead-esque songwriting contributions to "Join the Army") began in turn influencing Muir, who replaced Keven Guercio as singer for Mike Clark's speed metalband No Mercy prior to this. Muir hired No Mercy's guitarist Mike Clark as a rhythm guitarist for Suicidal. Clark helped handle much of the bands' songwriting, which progressed into a more thrash oriented musical direction. Then he fired Mayorga, who had been trying to keep the band in punk territory, and was replaced briefly by No Mercy bassist Ric Clayton, who was replaced by Bob Heathcote. Shortly after the band was picked up by Anthrax producer Mark Dodsonand signed to the Columbia subsidiary Epic Records. The stylistic changes and signing to a major label outraged long-time fans, but Suicidal began to pick up more fans from the heavy metalcommunity as well.
The band's first release with Epic was "
How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today", released in 1988 (see 1988 in music). The album was almost completely stripped of the bands punk and hardcore roots, instead featuring a thrash-oriented sound with more complex song structures and a greater emphasis on instrumental skill than the band had ever shown previously. However, the album was considerably more melodic than most thrash metal albums, perhaps a lasting influence of the bands punk past. Singles and music videos were released for "Trip At The Brain" and the title track, which were successful and helped expand the bands audience. That same year the band was thanked by country musician Hank Williams Jr.at the 1988 CMA Awards. Williams' son was apparently a big fan of Suicidal.
Trujillo-era and second hiatus (1989–1996)
With their popularity and media attention obviously increasing, Suicidal released a compilation of two EPs, "
Controlled By Hatred/Feel Like Shit...Déjà Vu" in 1989. With yet another new member (future Metallicabassist Robert Trujillo, credited as "Stymee"), the album featured two versions of "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow": the video version (the original song cut down for radio/video airplay) and the "heavy emotion" version (a semi-unplugged, more mellow version of the song). All the rest of the songs on the album came from previously released EPs except "Just Another Love Song" and "Feel Like Shit...Deja Vu," with the remaining songs being No Mercy and Los Cycos covers. The album featured the hit "Waking The Dead," which at 7 minutes long was one of the most progressive tracks the band had released to date.
"Controlled By Hatred..." eventually went gold, the first of three Suicidal albums to do so, but the best was yet to come for the band in the following decade.
In 1990 Suicidal Tendencies released the album that many fans consider to be their masterpiece, and the album that almost broke them into the rock mainstream, "
Lights...Camera...Revolution!". This album featured the same line-up as "Controlled By Hatred..." (with Trujillo now using his real name) and continued to grow musically. The songs were much more complex than on any other Suicidal album, some songs bordering on progressive metal, but also showed a new influence courtesy of Trujillo, funk. This made the band's sound increasingly unique and difficult to categorize.
The album was a smash hit. It featured the major "
Headbangers Ball" and rock radio hit " You Can't Bring Me Down," a thrash epic which challenged the PMRC, as well as the televangelistbashing funk-metaltrack "Send Me Your Money", and the melodic thrash song "Alone" - all released as singles and music videos. All three singles were successful (especially "You Can't Bring Me Down"), and helped "Lights...Camera...Revolution!" also reach gold status, and the band gained a heavy audience in the thrash metal community despite being commonly accused of "selling out" in the hardcore circle. Today "Lights..." is widely considered to be a thrash classic. The band's 1991 tour with Queensrÿche, their first show in Los Angelesin years, and their appearance on the "Clash of the Titans" tour (and, to a lesser extent, Mike Muir's brawl with Dave Mustaineon the aforementioned tour) only helped expand their popularity. They also released the " Lights...Camera...Suicidal!" home videoin 1991.
Muir eventually became very interested in the funk music that Trujillo had brought to the table of Suicidal's influences. As a result, the two formed a
funk metalside project in the vein of early Red Hot Chili Peppersand Primus called Infectious Grooves. Also recruiting ex- Jane's Addictiondrummer Stephen Perkinsand Excel guitarist Adam Siegel, Infectious Grooves released their debut, " The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move...It's the Infectious Grooves" in 1991. This helped expand Suicidal's fan base into an even wider audience that including members of the alternative rockcommunity (funk-metal was a popular alt-metal style at the time).
Herrera left Suicidal Tendencies in 1991 due to personal differences. The rest of the band continued as an incomplete 4-piece for about a year, drafting now-famous drummer
Josh Freeseto record their new album which would become " Art of Rebellion", released in 1992 (see 1992 in music). The album was very different than anything Suicidal Tendencies had done before, but it was actually their most melodic, accessible album to date. It lessened the bands thrash influences, instead focusing on a unique, almost alternative metalsound, with more emphasis on funkand progressive rock, as well as traditional metal guitars. Although different, the album was greeted warmly by most fans and many critics.
The album was also the band's most commercially successful album. The first single, "Asleep At The Wheel", did moderately well, but was followed by two smash hits. The metal ballad "Nobody Hears" and the crossover hit "I'll Hate You Better", both of which managed to chart on the modern rock radio Billboards. The album debuted on number 52 on the Billboard Top 100 charts (ST's highest charting album ever) has since gone gold. The band began performing large stadium shows, touring with some mainstream rock staples as
Metallica, Queensryche, and Danzig, where they earned a wide reputation as an excellent live act. By the end of the year Suicidal had finally found a permanent replacement for Herrera, former White Lionand Y&Tdrummer Jimmy DeGrasso.
Now at their commercial peak, Suicidal Tendencies released "
Still Cyco After All These Years" in 1993 (see 1993 in music). The album was a re-recording of Suicidal's then out-of-print self-titled debut album with 3 additional songs (two re-recorded from " Join the Army" and the B-side to the "Send Me Your Money" single). It featured singles for the new versions of "Institutionalized" and "I Saw Your Mommy", and managed to do well, as did the album. That same year also saw the release of another Infectious Groovesalbum, " Sarsippius' Ark".
However, disturbed by their recent commercial success and fame, and fear that the band was no longer relevant in the underground, Suicidal Tendencies released "
Suicidal for Life" in 1994 (see 1994 in music). The album was intended by the band to be the least accessible album they had ever released, starting out by having 4 consecutive songs with the word " fuck" in the title, and switching to a more aggressive style than on their previous studio album. "Suicidal for Life" was widely considered to be a disappointing album by critics, many of which claimed Muir had "dumbed down" his lyrical approach from previous albums. Fans also had a generally mixed reaction, although their reaction was more favorable than critics.
Muir's strategy worked, however. The album did not sell nearly as well as the past four Suicidal records (although it did sell decently on the bands reputation alone) and the only major single, "Love Vs. Loneliness," featured a very disturbing music video that hurt the song's airplay.
Unfortunately it was also around this time the band, whose contract with Epic Records had expired, began to fall apart, and folded after a tour in 1995. Muir and Trujillo continued Infectious Grooves, releasing "
Groove Family Cyco" later that year, but they eventually folded as well, with Trujillo joining Ozzy Osbourne's band (and later Metallica) and Muir performing as Cyco Miko, releasing " Lost My Brain! (Once Again)". Rocky George formed the group Samsara and played in 40 Cycle Hum and Cro-Magsafter Suicidal's breakup, eventually joining Fishbone. Mike Clark joined a band called Creeper, while Jimmy DeGrasso joined Dave Mustaine's side project MD.45, and eventually replaced Nick Menzain Megadeth.
A greatest hits compilation, "
Prime Cuts", was released in 1997, apparently against the band's will.
econd comeback (1997–2001)
To the excitement of many, Suicidal Tendencies returned in 1997. However, Rocky George, Robert Trujillo, and Jimmy DeGrasso were all unable to rejoin as they were busy with other projects. Muir and Clark brought in new lead guitarist
Dean Pleasants(formerly of Infectious Grooves), new bassist Josh Paul and new drummer Brooks Wackerman(formerly of Bad4Goodand Infectious Grooves, now with Bad Religion) to replace them.
The band released their first album of new material in almost half a decade, the "
Six the Hard Way" EP in 1998. Released on Suicidal Records, this EP saw the band switching back to their original hardcore punkand skatepunkstyle (with songs originally recorded by Cyco Mikocovered). This, along with the absence of George and Trujillo, upset many of the bands metal-era fans, but fans of the older punk Suicidal warmly welcomed the new style.
The band stuck to a similar formula for "
Freedumb", released in 1999 (see 1999 in music). Despite generally bad reviews from critics (who claimed that the band had "dumbed themselves down" not only lyrically, but musically as well), it was considered by fans of the band as their "comeback album", with the title track and "We Are A Family" becoming fan favorites (although no singles from the album were released).
The following year Suicidal Tendencies released "
Free Your Soul and Save My Mind". Unlike its predecessor, which was more straightforward hardcore, this album saw the band covering most of the styles they had dabbled with in the past. Some songs were punk, but many of them were also thrash-oriented, and this was by far Suicidal's funkiest album yet. Fans and even critics greeted the album warmly, and a new single, "Pop Song", was released.
They also appeared on the "
Friends & Family, Vol. 2" compilation in 2001.
After the release of the last two albums, the band remained silent again and Muir released his second solo album, as
Cyco Miko, "Schizophrenic Born Again Problem Child" in 2001.
Muir's second band
Infectious Groovesreleased their fourth and comeback album " Mas Borracho" in 2000.
Third hiatus and recent activities (2002–present)
Paul and Wackerman left Suicidal Tendencies while the band remained silent, and have been replaced by brothers Ron and Steve Brunner on drums and bass, respectively.
For several years, there has been a rumored Suicidal Tendencies album to feature new material, but nothing has surfaced. However, the band is still in the process of working on it and a title and release date are slated to be announced in 2008. If it is released, it will be the Suicidal's first proper studio album in eight years. According to reports on Blabbermouth.net, they are currently putting the finishing touches on the album with producer
Paul Northfield, known for his work with progressive rockbands like Dream Theater, Queensrÿcheand Rush. Northfield also produced, engineered and mixed Suicidal's albums between "The Art of Rebellion" and "Free Your Soul and Save My Mind".
In a March 2006 interview, Muir stated that the
Infectious Grooveswere also recording their fifth album, which will follow " Mas Borracho".
Suicidal Tendencies performed at the Artefact Festival in
Franceon April 29, 2007. They also confirmed a spot on the Soundwave Festivalheld in Australia in February and March 2007 taking in Brisbane, Sydneyand Perth. They also headlined the TuborgStage at the Download Festivalheld at Donington Parkon Friday 8th June 2007, and in in Istanbul, Turkey on May 29.
Suicidal Tendencies closed select shows for the Sounds Of The Underground Tour in San Jose, California on August 3, Irvine, California on August 4, and Mesa, Arizona on August 5.
Suicidal Tendencies' song "Institutionalized" is featured on the video game
Guitar Hero IIas one of the most difficult songs in the game.
Suicidal Tendencies' song "Institutionalized" is also featured in the new Iron Man movie, along with the film's soundtrack.
Suicidal Tendancies' song "I Saw Your Mommy" is featured in .
Suicidal Tendencies headlined Porão do Rock Festival in
Brazilon August 1, 2008 in front of 15,000 people.
Suicidal Tendencies is set to do a US tour this fall.
*1983: "Suicidal Tendencies"
Join the Army"
How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today"
Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit...Déjà Vu"
The Art of Rebellion"
Still Cyco After All These Years"
Suicidal for Life"
Free Your Soul and Save My Mind"
* [http://www.suicidaltendencies.com/ Suicidal Tendencies] — official website
* [http://www.myspace.com/suicidaltendencies Suicidal Tendencies] at
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.