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UNITED STATES, California, Venice Beach

Date Formed 1981

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Categories: Hardcore


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SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, created in Venice Beach, California during 1980 by vocalist Mike Muir, is one of the few Hardcore acts to break out onto the world circuit. Muir and his cohorts often appeared in photographs in the distinctive Los Angeles gang culture dress of eyes hidden behind bandannas and Pendleton check shirts held by the neck button. Later this image would develop through the skateboard culture fuelled by songs such as 'Possessed To Skate'.

The band was a fluid force enduring numerous line-up changes until stabilizing in 1982. Amongst the underground hardcore circles the self-titled debut was recognized as a classic but as the band grew more conventional rock sensibilities would come to the fore. The band contracted with Epitaph for an eponymous 1983 debut, this set of Glen E. Friedman produced and Randy Burns engineered tracks marking out Muir as an articulate commentator on social ills, youth decay and US national politics. Backing Muir would be guitarist Grant Estes, bassist Louiche Mayorga and drummer Amery "AWOL" Smith.

The band signed to major label Virgin in 1986 as MTV support for the video to 'Institutionalised', plus a spot in the 1984 Emilio Estevez 'Repo Man' cult movie. raised the band's profile considerably. The band even put in a a cameo appearance on an episode of the TV hit 'Miami Vice', which also used the song. 'Institutionalised' alone pulled them clear of their indie hardcore roots and breaking the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The successful 'Join The Army' album, produced by BLIND ILLUSION bassist Les Claypool and peaking at 1000 on the US national charts, saw the departure of Estes and Smith as the band debuted guitarist Rocky George and drummer R.J. Herrera.

Bassist Louiche Mayorga joined his erstwhile band mates Estes and Smith to form UNCLE SLAM, debuting the new act with the 'Say Uncle' album on Caroline Records during 1988.

The Mark Dodson produced 'How Will I Laugh...' saw the band being enlarged with the addition of ex-NO MERCY rhythm guitarist Mike Clark and bassist Bob Heathcote. However, just as SUICIDAL TENDENCIES were seemingly in ascendancy into the big league their controversial name made them ripe targets for the moral majority. California's police department, fearing Muir's crew was merely a front for a Los Angeles gang, even went so far as to ban the band performing in their hometown. The notorious moral campaigner Tipper Gore led pressure group P.M.R.C. kept up a campaign against the band claiming that a number of teenage suicides were directly attributable to the band.

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES brought in bassist Rob Trujillo for 1990's 'Lights... Camera... Revolution'. The album track 'Send Me Your Money', a forthright attack on American television evangelists proved a huge hit with the fans and quickly became a staple of live shows. The band stepped on the international touring circuit, that September being ranked alongside TESTAMENT, SLAYER and MEGADETH on the European 'Clash Of The Titans' extravaganza.

Both Muir and Trujillo captured more than their fair share of the limelight at this juncture creating Funked up side project act INFECTIOUS GROOVES together with erstwhile JANE'S ADDICTION drummer Stephen Perkins. This side project band that would go on to release two well received albums and test the duo's stamina as INFECTIOUS GROOVES often opened the show for SUICIDAL TENDENCIES.

The band's next album, 'Still Cyco After All These Years', was actually a complete re-recording of their debut. Despite the rise in SUICIDAL TENDENCIES popularity the 1983 debut had engendered a legend mystified by its complete absence from record stores. With Epitaph showing little inclination to re-press, the band, together with producer Mark Dodson, took a practical option of simply re-cutting the entire record from scratch. Their efforts were rewarded with a Grammy nomination for 'Institutionalized' but, in the main, their fan base preferred the rawness of the original.

For the 'Art Of Rebellion' album, issued in June 1992, what was to be SUICIDAL TENDENCIES's highest selling record reaching number 52 in the Billboard charts. Noted producer Peter Collins was utilized and the band once more announced a new recruit in VANDALS drummer Josh Freece who incidentally took over the drum stool in INFECTIOUS GROOVES too. Live work in the USA had the band opening up MEGADETH's hugely successful headline dates and, in October 1993, Australian shows backing ALICE IN CHAINS.

1994's expletive ridden, Paul Northfield produced 'Suicidal For Life' had SUICIDAL TENDENCIES recording without a permanent drummer. Freese joined the limbo bound GUNS N' ROSES then PEARL JAM and A PERFECT CIRCLE. WHITE LION and Y&T man Jimmy DeGrasso deputised for the album sessions before he joined up full time with MEGADETH.

Laid down at Groove Masters in Santa Monica and Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, many voiced their displeasure at the lack of subtlety on 'Suicidal For Life'. Having gained respect for his insight and lyrical wit, Muir blasted listeners with four songs in a row with a dumbed down, common thread, 'Don't Give A Fuck', 'No Fuck'n Problem', 'Suicyco Muthafucka' and 'Fucked Up Just Right'. Muir was to later admit that this caustic diatribe was deliberate and due to the band awareness whilst recording that 'Suicidal For Life' was to be a closing chapter with Epic. In spite of these problems, the group still engaged in high profile touring, supporting METALLICA in the USA and performing in South America on festival bills with KISS, SLAYER and BLACK SABBATH.

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES folded after 'Suicidal For Life' had run its course. Rocky George created SAMSARA with CRO MAGS members Harley Flanagan and Parris Mayhew. Trujillo found himself part of the OZZY OSBOURNE band having an interim stint with PALE DEMON. Muir would assemble a studio band, including SEX PISTOLS guitarist STEVE JONES for recording of a 1995 solo CYCO MYKO album 'Lost My Brains (Once Again!)'.

In 1996 SLAYER covered 'Memories Of Tomorrow' for inclusion on their 'Undisputed Attitude' covers album. However, the track only made it onto the Japanese pressing. Meantime, the SUICIDAL TENDENCIES brand was maintained with compilation albums 'Friends And Family' and 'Prime Cuts'. The latter effort sported fresh tracks recorded by Muir, with guitarist Dean Pleasants, bass player Josh Paul and drummer Brooks Wackerman.

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES returned in November 1998 touting a six track EP, the Mike Vail Blum and Paul Northfield produced 'Six The Hard Way'. The resurrected outfit then put out a full-length album in 1999 through the Side One Dummy imprint dubbed 'Freedumb', after which Wackerman opted out, focussing on his HOT POTTY band. SUICIDAL TENDENCIES signed to Germany's Nuclear Blast label for a European release of the 'Freedumb' album.

By early 2002 Rocky George had re-emerged touting a fresh act HARLEY'S WAR in union with ex-CRO MAGS frontman Harley Flanagan and former WARZONE guitarist Jay Vento. Meantime ex-SUICIDAL TENDENCIES guitarist Anthony Gallo re-emerged as part of ex MEGADETH drummer Nick Menza's new band project.

The 2002 SUICIDAL TENDENCIES line-up comprised of Mike Muir, Mike Clark on guitar, Dean Pleasants on second guitar, bassist Steve Brunner and Ron Brunner Jr. on drums. The Brunner brothers commitment to Rapper SNOOP DOG would see the band without their services for one gig, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES duly enrolling Josh Paul and drummer Dave Hidalgo Jr. for this occasion.

In early 2003 ex-member Robert Trujillo became METALLICA's new bass man, this appointment putting a renewed focus on his former band. An extensive round of touring in Europe during the latter half of 2003 would prove arduous for Muir. Upon completion of these dates the frontman entered hospital for two operations on his back. South and Central American tour plans for February of 2004 would be curtailed. 2004 also found Rocky George uniting with UGLY KID JOE and MEDICATION man Whitfield Crane to cut a version of 'Master Of Puppets' for the METALLICA 'Metallic Assault' tribute album through Big Deal Records.

Gigs announced in Europe for the Summer of 2005 would be cancelled when it was announced singer Mike Muir was suffering "serious health problems". Festival dates for Brazil would be announced, but then curtailed as it was revealed Mike Muir was to undergo back surgery. Working with producer Paul Northfield, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES commenced work on a new studio album in January 2006.

Former SUICIDAL TENDENCIES musicians Grant Estes, Louichi Mayorga and Amery Smith joined forces with ex-EXCEL frontman Dan Clements in a new band billed AGAINST, announcing this formation in May.

On a billing alongside DEFTONES, HATEBREED, EIGHTEEN VISIONS, (+44), THRICE, UNWRITTEN LAW and FLYLEAF the band featured on the Australian 'Soundwave' festivals in February and March 2007. The group undertook an extensive round of dates in France throughout April. US headline dates were conducted throughout November and December 2008.

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