Suicidal Tendencies – War inside my head

Suicidal Tendencies is an American hardcore punk band founded in 1981 in Venice, Los Angeles, California by Mike Muir, its leader and only permanent member. The band is sometimes credited as one of “the fathers of crossover thrash”. To date, Suicidal Tendencies have released eight studio albums, one EP, four split albums including the rare “Welcome to Venice”, six compilation albums (one of which is a “double-EP”, while the other is a re-recording of their debut album), and two long-form videos. Other than a small selection of new and previously unreleased songs on the split/compilation albums Friends & Family, Vol. 2 (2001), Year of the Cycos (2008), No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family (2010) and The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour (2011), Suicidal Tendencies have released no new material in the way of albums or singles since their last album, Free Your Soul and Save My Mind, came out in 2000.

Suicidal Tendencies formed in 1981 as a punk band in Venice, California. The original lineup of the band consisted of Mike 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 including being voted “Worst Band/Biggest Assholes” in Flipside in 1982 but the following year were voted “Best New Band”. There were many rumors of the band members as well as their friends and followers being involved with gangs (especially the Venice White Boyz), with Muir’s trademark blue bandanna and violence at the band’s performances as evidence. In their original lineup photo, which can be seen inside their self-titled debut album, 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. Though there were probably a handful of V13 members who also became Suicidals, Amery was not a member of V13 but bassist Louiche Mayorga’s brother was (and that’s whose hat he’s wearing just for the photo). Eventually an entire gang sprung up around the group, the Suicidal Cycos (also known as the Suicidals, Suis or Suicidal Boyz), with chapters in Venice, Long Beach, Santa Monica, Oceanside and even a chapter in San Antonio, Texas. The band name is an obvious source of controversy, relying on a strong taboo that implies discussion around suicide might promote it[needs ref]. 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 to be back with Mike Ball on guitar and Bela Horvath on drums. Ball stayed in the band for 2½ years before joining The Skoundrelz and was replaced by Dunnigan. Guitarist Rick Battson recorded the Demo before the first album and Grant Estes learned that demo replacing him on guitar and Playing on Suicidal’s first record.

All this controversy helped the band gain label attention, and in 1983 Suicidal signed with the independent label Frontier Records and 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.” It contained the song “Institutionalized”, which featured a music video that became one of the first hardcore punk videos to receive substantial MTV airplay, and greatly expanded the band’s fan base. The song was featured on the 1984 film Repo Man, as well as in a 1986 episode of the TV show Miami Vice (“Free Verse”, which also featured a cameo appearance of the group performing in a new wave/punk club) and in the 2008 film Iron Man, where the song plays in the background as Tony Stark works on his car. 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 and also contributed to music for future songs like: “War Inside My Head”, “Human Guinea Pig”, and “Look Up…(The Boy’s Are Back)”, “You Got, I Want”, Nelson never recorded anything with them (except a live recording of the song “War Inside My Head”). All the music written by Nelson is credited on the albums as written by (Suicidal Tendencies) and not Jon Nelson, for he foolishly traded his publishing rights and writers credit to Mike Muir for a Flying V guitar. That same year was the first year of Suicidal’s four year recording hiatus and Mike Muir and bassist Louiche Mayorga formed the Label “Suicidal Records” as well as the band Los Cycos Jon Nelson left the group and Suicidal Tendencies were banned from playing L.A. shows from an Incident at Perkins Palace (their fans tore out ten rows of seats and promoters couldn’t get the proper Insurance to hire them) Muir was also about to try his hand at producing as well as starting the new label. Los Cycos was originally Mike Muir (Vocals), Bob Heathcote (bass), Anthony Gallo (Guitars) and Amery Smith (drums). After a few rehearsals Amery Smith left the line up to join Jon Nelson in starting their own band (The Brood) Los Cycos eventually included; Grant Estes on lead guitar and original choices Bob Heathcote and Amery Smith were replaced by Louiche Mayorga (bass) and Sal Troy for (drums).They recorded the song “It’s Not Easy” written by Muir. “Welcome to Venice” was the first record to be released on Suicidal Records, unfortunately the original masters were destroyed in a fire. In 1989 Suicidal Tendencies re-recorded “It’s Not Easy” for their 1989 release “Controlled By Hatred/Feel Like Shit… DejaVu” album. The other Los Cycos track “A Little Each Day” which never made it to the album, was re-recorded for the 1987 Suicidal Tendencies release “Join the Army” and again on “Still Cyco After All These Years” released in 93. In 2000 it resurfaced on the FNG compilation and a fourth time on 2008s (split) album Lights…Camera…Revolution!/Still Cyco After All These Years. Suicidal Tendencies played on the track “Look Up…(The Boys are Back) which was the introduction of guitarist Rocky George and drummer RJ Herrera.” The band finally found a new label in Caroline Records in 1986.

  • Great posts

    • Trash Talk – Slander

      Trash Talk is an American hardcore punk band from Sacramento, California, formed in 2005. They have toured all around the world including Japan and Europe, as […]

    • Sick Of It All – Us vs. Them

      In 1997, Sick Of It All released their second record on the EastWest label, Built to Last. This record had released a number of live staples […]

    • Prodigy warmup gig at Dance Valley 2006

      Dj Philippo warming up the crowd for The Prodigy at Dance Valley 2006.

    • The Rabble – This World Is Dead

      The Rabble are a punk rock band from Auckland, New Zealand, that formed in the NZ summer of 2000/2001. Their official myspace page went live on […]

    • Urban Dance Squad – Fast Lane

      Urban Dance Squad was a Dutch rap rock band formed after what was originally intended as a one-time jam-session at a festival in Utrecht on December […]