Suicidal Tendencies

1981-1995, 1997-
Mike MuirVocals1981-1995, 1997-
Mike ClarkGuitar1987-1995, 1997-2012
Dean PleasantsGuitar1997-
Steve BrunerBass2002-2011
Eric MooreDrums2008-2014
Grant EstesGuitar1982-1983
Jon NelsonGuitar1983-1984
Nico SantoraGuitar2012-
Louiche MayorgaBass1982-1987
Bob HeathcoteBass1987-1989
Stephen "Thundercat" BrunerBass2002- 2011
Tim "Rawbiz" WilliamsBass2011-2014
Amery SmithDrums1982-1984
R. J. HerreraDrums1984-1991
Jimmy DeGrassoDrums1992-1995
Thomas PridgenDrums2014-
  • Suicidal Tendencies were founded in 1981 in Venice, Los Angeles, by frontman, Mike Muir. They were one of many bands to emerge from California's influential hardcore punk movement. Suicidal Tendencies' career did not get off to a good start, however. In 1981, readers of the Punk zine, Flipside, voted them "Worst Band/Biggest A--holes."
  • Suicidal Tendencies were often associated with gang culture and there were frequent outbursts of violence at their early gigs. Mike Muir refuted any affiliation with gangs when he spoke with Spin in 1986: "We thought [the stories about being a violent gang] sounded good, but it isn't true." Muir added fans were too scared to attend gigs: "The stories about us are so terrible that only our diehard fans will attend. Anyone who doesn't love us stays at home, or if they do show, they see all our fans dressed like us [in the uniform that resembles the Chicano Street gangs of Venice Beach] and they assume we're a gang."
  • The gang controversy surrounding the band helped to garner label attention, and in 1983, Suicidal Tendencies signed to Frontier Records and released their self-titled debut album. The album spawned Suicidal Tendencies' biggest hit to date, "Institutionalized." The music video, which features a brief cameo by Slayer front man, Tom Araya, was one of the first of hardcore punk videos to receive substantial airplay on MTV. Mike Muir spoke to us about the lasting impression of "Institutionalized": "A couple of years ago we played - I think it was in Detroit - and one of the DJs out there started playing the song, and it became the most requested song on the radio. I went out there and he goes, 'People are like, 'Whoa! What's that song and that new band, what are they called? I love that song, that Pepsi song!'' And I think that's kind of the thing. You listen; you don't sit there and go, 'Wow that sounds like it came from the early '80s.' People, when they hear it for the first time say, 'God, I love this song.' Even a lot of my friends, when they have their kids or their cousins or whatever, and they're 13, 14 and you've known them for years, they come up and go, 'Hey Mike, duuuude, that's a badass song, man!'"
  • Suicidal Tendencies' former guitarist, Jon Nelson, once traded all publishing rights with Mike Muir in exchange for a Gibson Flying V guitar. Nelson told Suicidal Maniac: "Not too many people know about that. It was all copyrights to everything I wrote for the band. I think they were surprised, but Mike Muir knew I wanted my guitar back that I had sold him while we were on the road. It was a prototype made for Eddie Van Halen by a friend of mine. Eddie didn't want it, though. I had that thing for years. It looked like marble. Pretty cool." Because of the trade, all music written by Nelson is now credited as written by Suicidal Tendencies and not Jon Nelson.
  • In 1988, Suicidal Tendencies released How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today, their first album after signing with Epic Records, a subsidiary of the major label, Columbia. The album saw Suicidal Tendencies abandon their hardcore Punk routes in favor of a thrash-orientated sound. That same year, the band found an unlikely fan in Hank Williams, Jr - the son of Country music pioneer, Hank Williams - who thanked Suicidal Tendencies during a speech at the Country Music Awards.
  • In 1989, Suicidal Tendencies hired a new member, future Metallica bassist, Robert Trujillo. Trujillo and Mike Muir would go on to form a Funk Metal side project called Infectious Grooves. In 1991, they released their debut album, The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move...It's the Infectious Grooves, which featured Ozzy Osbourne on the track "Therapy." Muir told us how the collaboration came about: "…when we were doing the record and first started recording it, the producer said, 'What do you want to do on the chorus?' I said, 'I actually think it would be really cool if Ozzy sang on it.' And they're like, 'Oh, give him a call.' I'm like, 'Dude, I don't know Ozzy.' (laughing) He's like, 'Oh, well why were you thinking that, then?' And I go, 'Cuz I just listened to his songs and I've always got these videos in my head and I just thought it would be so cool, Ozzy, and it just stuck in my head.' And then two days later, I came in the studio, and he goes, 'Guess who just came in the studio next door?' And I'm like, 'Who?' And he goes, 'Ozzy.' I'm like, 'You serious?' And he goes, 'Yeah, go talk to him.' I'm going, 'I'm not going to talk to him!' We went to lunch and we came back later and there he was in there. He goes, 'You have a song you want me to do?' I'm like, 'Uhhhhddduuuhhh.' And he put the song on, and he's like, 'I want to do it! I want to do it!' And it was really cool. So it's funny, 'cause after we did it at least like once or twice a day and in the evening, we hear this little knock or something and look and he'd be poking his head through and he's like, ''Scuse me, will you play that song for me again?' And he'd get in there and listen and start jumping and he goes, 'I love it! I love it!'"
  • Concerned by their mounting mainstream success, in 1994, Suicidal Tendencies set about recording their most inaccessible album yet. The result was Suicidal For Life. The album was a lot more aggressive than previous records, and four consecutive tracks had the curse word "f--k" in the title. Unsurprisingly, Suicidal Tendencies' plan worked - the album was a critical and commercial flop!
  • Mike Muir spoke to us about some of his favorite bands: "The two favorite bands that I thought were brilliant were the Sex Pistols and Parliament. When I was a kid, there was this show that used to play hard music for one hour on a college station, and we used to record it because it started at midnight - it was called Midnight Madness or something. So we put the cassette in and tried to stay awake and then take it and listen to it. And one day there was a song I couldn't figure out on the tape, and then someone had the Sex Pistols album, and I was like, 'Dude, that's that song! That's the Sex Pistols!' I liked that because it was music, not because of the presentation. What I got out of it is that it doesn't matter how you dress, you just have to do your own thing. And a lot of people didn't get that."
  • Due to an incident at their 1984 show at the Perkins Palace in Pasadena (where their fans tore out 10 rows of seats and promoters couldn't secure insurance to hire them), Suicidal Tendencies were banned from playing a show in Los Angeles. The ban was eventually lifted in the early '90s.
  • Along with D.R.I., Suicidal Tendencies are considered to be one of the first crossover thrash bands to exist. Like D.R.I., they started as a punk rock band, and then after their debut album, they began the transition from hardcore punk to thrash metal, which resulted in the birth of the crossover thrash genre. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lucas - Los Angeles, California, for above 2
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