Institutionalized

Album: Suicidal Tendencies (1983)
  • This song is mainly a spoken narrative from the point of view of a young person who lives at home and is constantly harassed by his parents. It was written by Suicidal Tendencies lead singer Mike Muir, who told us: "Not to use the Shrek onion layer analogy, but there's a lot of different levels to it. For one, it was stuff that had happened specifically to a couple of friends of mine. And then at the time there were a lot of those - I don't know what they call them - those boot camp things where parents would get their kids taken at 4 in the morning and send them off to these camps in Arizona or Idaho or wherever. The way I look at it and what I thought was, here are people that were parents for 14 or 15 years, they can't brag about their kids at a party so there must be something wrong with the kid. Then they send them off and stuff. They used to have commercials: 'Does your kid get angry when things don't go their way? Do they do this and that? If you answer yes to three or more of these, they might have a drug or alcohol problem. And you're not alone, we can help.' And I'm sitting there going, Dude, I've never done drugs, I don't drink, and yeah, I get angry when things don't go my way. It's called being human. I'm not a machine. I think it made an easy scapegoat for kids to be the problem. I think a lot of times it was lack of parental skills and time. It happens and it's a timeless thing, there will always be that generational gap, so to speak."
  • Not everyone gets the meaning behind this song. Muir explains: "When I was younger a lot of my friends, they said, 'I hate my dad.' He'd come home drunk and beat them and do all that kind of stuff. They'd say, 'He's an a--hole, he's a drunk.' And they're sitting there drinking while they're telling the story. And I go, 'Dude, you're missing the point. You're feeling sorry for yourself, but don't become that same person.' My dad always said if you see something that someone does and you don't like it, you're twice as bad if you're doing that. When someone does that, you have to sit there and go, 'No, I'm not going to become that person.' A lot of people have gotten the message, and other people are just like, 'Hey, dude, I got Pepsi! Hahaha!' (laughing) Chalk it up to the source."
  • The song was featured in the movies Suburbia and Repo Man starring Emilio Estevez. It also appeared in a season 2 episode of Miami Vice, in which the group make a cameo performing it in a bar.
  • The song's video was one of the first by a hardcore band to get significant airplay on MTV. Directed by Bill Fishman, it shows Muir railing against his parents. The dad in the video was played by Jack Nance, who starred in the TV series Twin Peaks and also appeared in the David Lynch films Blue Velvet and Eraserhead. The mother in the video was played by Mary Woronov, whose credits include The Lady in Red and Warlock.
  • This song was a huge influence on Limp Bizkit, whose lead singer Fred Durst quotes from it on their 1997 track "Stuck," when he says, "All I wanted was a Pepsi, far from suicidal, still I get them tendencies."
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Comments: 5

  • Jim from Christchurch, New ZealandThe mother on the video is from Bananarama
  • David from Portland, OrThis song is genius. Talk about encapsulating all the angst and anxiety kids go through.
  • Xavier from Schenectady, NyWow i think so many teenagers can relate to this song
  • Cardio Toxin from El Paso, Txthis song is impossible to mis-intrepret. and this is an awesomem song, good luck trying to keep up with these guys live singing this song; it is nearly impossible.
  • Tyler from Aberdeen , MdIts Actually About a kid whos Parents Think Hes crazy and they harass him and try to help him but he doesn't want help at all
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