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Miko Is STill Cyco: And Exclusive Interview With MIKE MUIR Of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

By Ruben Mosqueda, Contributor
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 @ 1:34 PM

"I have a lot of love for KNAC. You've been great to Suicidal over the years. I can't thank you guys enough."

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Live Photos By Mike Lewis Photography

KNAC.COM caught up with SUICIDAL TENDENCIES frontman Mike Muir on August 30th, 2018 as he and the band readied their new album Still Cyco Punk After All These Years. “I have a lot of love for KNAC. You've been great to SUICIDAL over the years. I can't thank you guys enough,” says a grateful Mike Muir.

The new album was released on September 7th, 2018 and the band promptly hit the road to promote it.

KNAC.COM: I was just listening to the last album Mad Gone World. What a fitting title for what’s been going on over the course of the past couple of years.

MUIR: [laughs] It’s one of those things like my dad used to say, “We always see what we want to see.” Some people see the good through the bad and some people see the bad through the good. I believe a lot of times what people see is based on what their agenda is. I think when you remove your agenda and you look at things, you’ll see the ugliness everywhere. You can’t put the ugliness one particular person, I think that’s just the hypocrisy of the world. My dad used to say “Never become what you hate.” If you look at people these days they are basically just like the people that they hate! [laughs] I think people should learn something from things that they don’t like, we need to educate ourselves more. People are opposed to things but they might not really know much about some of the things that they are opposed to.

KNAC.COM: You have a lot of stuff coming up in the next week, you have the new album Still Cyco Punk After All These Years, which is the second album with your current rhythm section which includes Dave Lombardo on drums. You also have the tour to support the new album and then there’s this deal with Converse. Anyone that knows the ST history is aware that you’ve been a Converse consumer from the beginning and probably beyond.

MUIR: Yeah, let’s start with the, Converse deal first, that took a while to get finalized. It was just announced today as you know. I have three kids and they’re asking me “Dad, how many emails do you have?” This started Monday, I had a few emails, but today is the day that the emails just started lighting up! [laughs] Today as they were getting ready for school, they asked again and they saw the Converse thing. They were like “Oh my God! Dad, why didn’t you tell me about that?!” [laughs] It was hard to keep that quiet, but it’s really gratifying that a lot of people who I love and respect are very excited about it too.

KNAC.COM: Really quick before you move on to the album and tour, how involved were you in the product line? Did you have the final approval?

MUIR: The one that that I have to say that it’s always a pleasure to work with people, who don’t make it seem like work. Once again, like my dad used to say “When it’s work, it’s frustrating.” Some of the people at Converse I knew way before this, I knew them from other things or through my brother who was a pro skateboarder. Funny thing is that a lot of those people that I liked wound up working for Converse! I think Converse are like ST, they are underground like us. Converse are not this huge thing like NIKE, not that NIKE is bad or anything, I think Converse have always kept their street credibility. It’s really a logical move, I think when people think SUICIDAL, they also think Converse. In working with them, they know what we are. Converse was saying stuff like, “I noticed you’ve never done anything in white with pink polka dots, or something like that?!” [laughs] We were basically very much in line, when we met and looked over the product line there were very little changes, by them and by us. They know us, they get us. The bottom line here is that we won’t make anything that we won’t wear ourselves.

We [ST] would cut and sew our own clothing ourselves, but we knew it was going to be quality stuff and it lasts. We would wear stuff like Dickies because we knew that was higher quality stuff, rather than the cheap stuff that was going to fall apart. I haven’t gotten my pair of Converse yet, I’m supposed to get them today. I remember the first pair [of Converse] that I got, I was so stoked! I just that when I get them I’m going to be that 12 year old kid all over again! [laughs]

KNAC.COM: Man, you must have worked really hard and keeping those clean.

MUIR: [bursts into laughter] Yeah, yeah! [laughs] I remember my mom...I wanted to get the white ones and she was like “No! No! No! No!” [laughs] I remember that it rained the day that I got them and I was like “I know I can jump over that puddle!” [laughs]

KNAC.COM: You’re doing a couple of album release parties and you’re perfroming the iconic debut album from top to bottom.

MUIR: The Converse [line] comes out the same day as the album Still Cyco Punk After All These Years, which is September 7th. We’re doing a couple shows the first in Boston on the 7th then the 8th in D.C. We felt Boston would be a great place to do that first, because that's the home of Converse. We’re performing the debut album from beginning to end. We’re also doing that at ‘Riot Fest’ in Chicago on the 16th and then we head to Phoenix to start the regular tour on the 18th. Should be a lot of fun.

KNAC.COM: You're revisiting the Suicidal Tendencies album, how was it running through that album in rehearsals?

MUIR: It wasn't difficult at all, it's not complicated music, but it is about believability. We think it holds up and we play it well. It's not like we’re singing about dragons, vikings, dungeons and shit! [laughs] You know what I mean? I have friends, they have kids, the kids can relate to it. I'm not saying everyone can, some people can. Some records are really dated. I find myself sell saying “Oh my God, some of these records didn't age well.” I think this album is still very relatable by kids of all generations. The only difference is that we have Dave Lombardo drumming which makes the album even more intense! [laughs] It takes the performance of Suicidal Tendencies, Still Cyco Punk After All These Years, and anything else we perform live. I think often times people try to ‘dumb down’ things down and try not to offend people. This album is 'Suicidal' and it’s unapologetic. We’ve done a lot of shows at festivals and people have come up to us and said “Oh man, I've always wanted to see you guys!” I'm like “No you haven’t otherwise you would have come out to see us years ago!” [laughs] They were either scared or whatever. [laughs]

KNAC.COM: How much of that ‘fear' do you think has been attributed to the name of the band? People that haven't heard the band have preconceptions...

MUIR: I think the bigger part of it has been that music has been very defined. People would say “Oh that guy is a metal head, or that guy is a punk.” We’re a crossover band and it took people some time to accept that. When people would a press photo of us they were like Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the others!” [laughs] So if a band has been around for 5, 10, 15 or 20 years it's hard for someone to discover them and say “Oh yeah, they’re good.” I think that works in our favor when we play in Europe. The kids have seen the t-shirts and they hear us and that's how we have been able to get new, young fans. They're curious. Unlike, when you see a kid walking down the street with his t-shirt and yelling ‘Suicidal’! When he encounters people walking down the sidewalk. People are like, “Let’s get out of here, that guy is crazy!” [bursts into laughter]

KNAC.COM: I remember reading reviews of The Clash of The Titans tour across Europe. We got ALICE IN CHAINS, which was great but it sure seemed that SUICIDAL TENDENCIES went over incredibly well across the pond.

MUIR: We’ve always done well when we’ve been exposed. I think when people judged us on what we look like, we’re a shock to their system. The was a similar experience to us doing festivals in Europe, because are there to see their favorite band and then here comes SUICIDAL on the bill. People have to stand there and really analyze what they really like and maybe expand their pallet.

If you recall, after Clash of The Titans we did a lot of touring with QUEENSRYCHE. There were fans and people in the press saying, “Oh my God, them?!” It was like the sky was falling! [laughs] You know what? We went over very well. It at first was initially us doing one show, then it became the tour, then the second leg and the third leg. That made us a crossover band, we were exposed to so many new people. We were opening for a successful, mainstream band. We did something like seven shows in North Carolina on that tour alone. QUEENSRYCHE were playing all the college towns and they were getting all that radio airplay. I still get people come up to me and bring up us opening the Empire tour. I can tell how many times I've heard, “Man, I was 14 years old and went to see QUEENSRYCHE and I discovered you!” I think we need to be exposed to people, they need to make up their mind about us. You shouldn’t be liked by everybody otherwise you’re like candy.

KNAC.COM: On “Institutionalized” how did you go on to include ‘Pepsi' as the beverage? Was it always Pepsi or did it just fit better into the flow of the song?

MUIR: Everything that happens in that song has basically happened. One of my friends at the time was the basis for most of the song. There were a number of my friends that were being taken away to those [reform] camps for kids. The song was really about trying to make the point that, parents if you have a puppy it's going to grow up to be a dog. There were a lot of parents who weren't being parents, now when the kids got to be 12, 13, 14 or 15 and they're not in a place where they feel that can brag about them anymore. There must be something wrong with the kid. You remember those commercials that used to start something like “Does your child get upset when nothing goes their way?” Then they’d list half a dozen other things. Meanwhile, the parent watching tv would be answering “Yes, yes, yes…” That’s being normal! The ad would go on to say that if you answered yes to these your kid has an alcohol or drug problem! I didn't have an alcohol or drug problem, neither did my friends! We were rebellious kids! So the song is about it being someone else's problem, someone else created it so someone else can take care of it. I like how that song has helped people to have a better relationship with their kids and communicate with them, because we were all kids at one point.

KNAC.COM: This is probably the dumbest question you've been asked ever.

MUIR: [laughs] I doubt that, but go ahead! [laughs]

KNAC.COM: Did you ever try Crystal Pepsi back in the day?

MUIR: You know what? I don't like soda! I didn't have soda when I was a kid. I like a Diet Pepsi every now and then. Truth be told, I like Monster, I love Monster. I do recall Crystal Pepsi though, I recall the commercial with the VAN HALEN song and I recall that it didn't last very long! [laughs]

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