This month’s Classic Albums Column focuses on Suicidal Tendencies‘ self-titled debut. Mars Attacks Podcast episode 64 features comments from Charlie Benante, Gene Hoglan, Alan Tecchio, author Martin Popoff, Mark Strigl from Talking Metal, and Aaron from Iron City Rocks. As we established with the previous podcast we also discuss why this album was selected. You will find the podcast at the bottom of this post.
This month we kick the comments off in a special way, Keith “Keefy” Chachkes of Metal Army America was nice enough to send us some regarding the album from ST frontman Mike Muir. This actually is part of a series Keefy has started over at Metal Army America called Conversations from the Crypt. Here are the excerpts that were sent along:
Asked about the DIY history of the band and carving out success
MM: “When we put out our first record. We had two labels call us about signing to a major. They both said ‘you have to change your name to sign with us’. They said ‘most of the stores won’t carry your albums because of your name.’ We said ‘forget that, we’re not changing our name!’ Then we put out our second record and we had eight labels call up. When we signed to CBS at the time, which became SONY, we were the first band ever in the history of that label to have it written in our contract that we had complete artistic control of the music, lyrics and artwork and if the label didn’t put our records out, we could leave the contract and still own everything. That’s how we were able to put out a record like (Controlled by Hatred)Feel Like Shit…Déjà Vu at the same time the PMRC was trying to whine and this and that. So we never had to submit any songs (to the label) or do anything like that.”
When asked about the legacy of the band after 30 years since the first record
MM: “When we first started off the punk magazines said ‘first record sucked, it was metal’. The metal magazines said ‘it sucked, it was punk’. Other than the skaters who were the first kind of people to get into us, nobody really like us. We didn’t have a built in audience to cater to, we built our own audience. We were able to get people that were really open minded. Consequently this really helped us out years later being able to play to really diverse crowds. We’re able to do a lot of things that other people haven’t, and it’s because we refused to kind of fit into to other people’s ideas of what success is. That is the most important thing. We did the right things and didn’t listen to the people who ‘knew what was going on.’ We were more concerned about the music than what other people wanted us to do. “
You can find the entire interview with Mike Muir here.
Remember that you can go here index page to find out further details on everyone involved in the column.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – Great fucking band, ahead of their time.
Greg Prato – I love punk rock (I’m talking real punk rock from the 1970’s and early 1980’s though – not the crap that MTV played after the fact), and some could say that ST’s debut was the last true classic punk rock release. It’s amazing how many of the melodies in these songs stick in your head INSTANTLY, while it’s still pretty darn vicious. And the video for ‘Institutionalized’ remains one of the best!
Jon Leon – Classic anthems all over this record. I hold it in high regard. Everytime I see them and Mike live-they really bring it. How can you not like ST-like Motorhead they just kill you with anthems and character. First ST like Ace of Spades is as essential as it gets.
Erik Kluiber – Favorite album by far is how can I laugh tomorrow.
Ricky Armellino – I seriously spent a week learning a few of their bass parts. I love Tendencies.
Mitts – Classic debut record from a highly underrated band. This came out during the peak of the “speed race” years. Metallica, D.R.I., S.O.D., and tons of other bands, in a competition to see who can play the fastest.
Scott Middleton – Suicidal Tendencies A Crossover classic that still holds up to this day. Mike Muir and Rocky George produced a record that actually bridged the gap between metal and punk, not to mention skate boarding and street gangs. No band has ever sounded anything like these guys, yet everything about this band has had huge influence on my own band and music.
Jaye Schwarzer – This record rules!! I used to listen to this a lot while my cousin was teaching me to skateboard. Shred!!
Scott LePage – DRI and Suicidal were my two favorite bands at the time this came out. This is my favorite Suicidal album still. Very powerful album with damn good production compared to the first albums of other bands around the same time.
JL – I found out about the band thanks to the skater videos I used to watch, every time I hear them I remember all of the good times I spent skating. Back then it was infinitely more difficult to get your hands on certain albums, when you’d get a hold of an album like this you’d play it like there is no tomorrow.
Jandro Storm – A friend gave me a tape that had Metallica’s 91 performance at Donnington. To “fill out” the tape he added side one of the first ST album. The first thing that came to mind was “this album is perfect to skate to”, I wasn’t all that off. Since then Suicidal Tendencies has become one of my all-time favorite bands. Not only because of their music, but because of what they represent.
Chris Shrum – Some of the best and funniest punk rock ever!
Sean Bryant – God damn this reminds me of skating so much. Getting rad, breaking shit, throwing skateboards through windows and pissing off the cops. We used to wear our tattered clothing and destroy our Chuck Taylors shoes every week. sorry mom. it truly was the music. you did a wonderful job, I swear!!
Will Carroll – This is an album which seems to me if you listen to thrash than you HAVE to like it. Well I’m not one of those people. Its OK but I have a copy of it (which a friend GAVE me) and I NEVER listen to it.
Steve Smyth – Total classic album by the masters of LA hardcore punk/crossover thrash, or whatever “genre” you want to call them. I had friends that were deep into the band at the time, and they got me into them. Institutionalized is of course is a classic, but what about Two Sided Politics, Subliminal, the ever borrowed from I Saw Your Mommy?
Domonic Rini – All I can say about ST in 1983 was: Mike Muir and crew was a genius at putting out the classic hit “Institutionalized”. The punk scene was in high gear and ST was trying to capture both the punk and the metal scene and their debut was able to get them into the mainstream punk scene and movement into the metal world. ST was very well known for their gear. The inverted cap lids with the scribed Suicidal Tendencies were everywhere. A great record for a wondrous period of time.
The podcast portion can be streamed or downloaded from here: