Suicidal Tendencies Biography

Mike Muir (14 March 1964, Venice, California, USA; vocals) formed Suicidal Tendencies in the early 80s in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, California, USA, enlisting Grant Estes (b. Canada; guitar), Louiche Mayorga (bass) and Amery Smith (drums). Despite an inauspicious start, being voted ‘worst band and biggest assholes’ in Flipside magazine’s 1982 polls, the band produced a hardcore classic in Suicidal Tendencies, and although they initially fell between hardcore punk and thrash stools, MTV’s support of ‘Institutionalized’ helped the group take off. 1987’s Join The Army was recorded with respected guitarist Rocky George (b. Culver City, California, USA); and drummer R.J. Herrera (b. Ralph Herrera) replacing Estes and Smith, and the skateboarding anthem, ‘Possessed To Skate’, kept the band in the ascendancy. Their first album for Epic Records, 1988’s How Will I Laugh Tomorrow... When I Can’t Even Smile Today?, marked the debut of Mike Clark (rhythm guitar) as the band’s sound exploded, extending from a ballad title track to the furious ‘Trip At The Brain’. This progression continued on Controlled By Hatred/Feel Like Shit... Déjà Vu, the first to feature new bass player Robert Trujillo (b. 23 October 1964, Venice, California, USA), but as the band’s stature increased, so did their problems. Their name and image were easy targets for both the PMRC and the California police, with the former blaming teenage suicides on a band who were unable to play near their home-town owing to performance permit refusals from the police, who feared Suicidal Tendencies were an LA gang. Naturally, the outspoken Muir fought vehemently against these bizarre accusations and treatment.

The talented Trujillo, with whom Muir formed Infectious Grooves in tandem with Suicidal Tendencies, shone on 1990’s excellent Lights... Cameras... Revolution, which produced hits in the defiant ‘You Can’t Bring Me Down’ and ‘Send Me Your Money’, a vitriolic attack on television evangelist preachers. The band also re-recorded their debut during these sessions for release as Still Cyco After All These Years. The Peter Collins-produced The Art Of Rebellion, with studio drummer Josh Freece (b. 25 December 1972, Orlando, Florida, USA) standing in for the recently departed Herrera, was a more ambitious, diverse work, and rather more lightweight than previous albums.

Any fears that the band was mellowing were dispelled by furious live shows. 1994’s Suicidal For Life, with Jimmy DeGrasso (ex-White Lion, Y&T) replacing Freece, emphasized the point as the band returned in fast-paced and profanity-peppered style, while continuing to extend individual talents to the full. Shortly after its release, in 1995 news filtered through that the band was no more. However, Muir returned in the late 90s with new material and a revamped line-up, featuring Dean Pleasants (guitar), Josh Paul (bass) and Brooks Wackerman (b. 15 February 1977; drums). Following a series of largely disappointing releases the band fell silent again, with Muir returning to Infectious Grooves and his Cyco Miko solo project.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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