The Suicide Machines Biography

This ska/punk outfit was formed in Detroit, Michigan, USA in 1990 by Jason Navarro (2 April 1973; vocals), Dan Lukacinsky (b. 26 April 1970, USA; guitar/vocals), Jason Brake (bass), and Stefan (drums). Originally called the Uglies, and then Jack Kevorkian And The Suicide Machines!, the band originally featured Navarro on bass, before Jason Brake was brought into the line-up. Stefan left the band in 1991 and was replaced in quick succession by Bill Jennings and then Derek Grant (b. 24 April 1977). In 1993, the band released a seven-track demo cassette, The Essential Kevorkian, on Grant’s Old School Records label. It was quickly followed by the single ‘Vans’, that came out on the Youth Rendition label. When Brake left the group the following year to study in Japan the remaining members decided to disband, despite having only just released Green World (also on Old School). They regrouped shortly afterwards, recruiting Dave Smith and then Royce Nunley (b. 17 March 1976) to fill the vacant bass position.

In 1995, the newly named Suicide Machines supported Rancid and teamed up with the Rudiments for a shared CD, Skank For Brains, released on Beach Records. By now regarded as one of the brightest stars on the alt ska scene, Suicide Machines was snapped up by Hollywood Records. Their major label debut, Destruction By Definition, followed in 1996. A heady rush of ska-influenced punk, the album was hailed as one of the leading alternative releases of the year, and went on to sell over 200, 000 copies. The band promoted the record with a relentless touring schedule, including prominent slots on the Warped Tour. Erin Pitman replaced Grant in 1998. The subsequent Battle Hymns demonstrated their growing musical maturity, even though the band blasted through 22 tracks in just over 30 minutes. Pitman left shortly afterwards owing to musical differences, and was replaced by Ryan Vandeberghe (b. 27 January 1978). The band’s self-titled fourth album was released in February 2000.

Despite enjoying success with 2001’s Steal This Record and the single ‘Killing Blow’, further personnel changes served to undermine the band’s progress. Founding member Nunley left in early 2002 and the contract with Hollywood expired at the end of the year. Rich Tschirhart took over from Nunley on the band’s first release for independent label Side One Dummy, A Match And Some Gasoline. The Suicide Machines confirmed their career was in good health with 2005’s excellent War Profiteering Is Killing Us All.

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

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