Wanted Shop Reviews Questions & Answers Photos News Links Interviews Gigs Competitions

Interview

Suicidal Tendencies
17/10/2003



So what keeps the bad together and inspires you to still keep going strong 20 years on?

All bands would give you a different answer. Probably for us, the fact the band is still run the way we want it to be rather than the way others say it should be and that’s been right since we started. I remember the first Suicidal Tendencies interview way back with a fanzine called ‘Flipside’ saying we were doing it cos it was the right thing and not because it is a job. It is still like that, I remember saying at the time in the interview that we would not probably be going in 5 years time.

I had a great time growing up. A lot of things that seem negative at the time later turn out to be positive – and that is the way I was taught to think about life. My dad told me that ‘music is a way to escape from life, but you cannot use music to escape from life as it is life that is real, music is just minuet in comparison’. Music is a sacrifice, I have always loved music and at the same time I have always hated music.

We have recorded a lot of tracks that have never been released and we never intended to be released. We have done it for ourselves. Business is not fun, but at the same time I have never been the sort of person to want go to a sweet shop and just live on a diet of chocolate. We manage ourselves, because we are the best people to do it. We could tour all the time. We have lots of offers what people would tell us are good business opportunities, but that is not what matters, what matters is what is right for the band. The irony is that back in 94 we did a tour with Metallica. At the time people were coming up to us saying how well we were going down, how everyone was loving us but the truth is many of the crowd were the sort of people we tried to stay away from when we were at school. It was time to stop. Record labels were saying it does not matter who you are playing to as long as people are paying / coming along – but it does to us.

Have you done anything special to celebrate the 20 year ST birthday?

Well it is pretty funny as the current bassist is 18 and the drummer has just turned 21.Suisidal Tendencies have had different people on each release, even before we recorded anything. When we did the Warp tour in Australia the main audience were 12 to 14 years old. They had come to see other bands and did not know who we were, but they were going home and telling their older brother about this band that blew them away and the brothers were going ‘hey they are a really old band, I remember them’. They would end up coming to several shows. And the brothers would come along and say they cannot be old enough to be around for so long.

How have the band be preparing for the forth coming Resistance Tour?

We don’t really have to do anything to prepare – we are always ready. On Monday w go into the studio to recorded the latest tracks for Infectious Groves. We have just played a local show and come back from headlining a show in the Czech Republic. The Resistance tour is 18 shows in 18 days, which is not how Suicidal usually operate. The promoters said we could miss a couple of dates here and there, but the crowd coming to those shows would not see it like that. In the old days we once did 34 shows in 32 days. One day was a matinee gig in New York and an evening show in New Jersey. We always thing that the current show is the only show that that person is going to see and you have to play it like that. Yesterday and tomorrow do not matter. So you always have to give your best possible. Thus tour is not set up how we usually work. We are used to doing a show based on us, and how we like.

We know the others on this tour. We have done shows before with Madball and have played with Ignite in Germany.

Do your audiences vary much from country to country and where is your favourite place to pay?

In the States the audience varies more. It tends to go on how long since you last been to the place. But the States seems to be different. You get different sort of crowds wherever you go. One city it will be full of skaters, the next city will be all punks and the next one may be full of gangsters, real crazy.

A UK journalist came and spent some time with us 10 years ago. After the show he stood there looking shocked. He was amazed at all the different people that had come up to us after the show and said how we were their favourite band and how much we meant to them. In 10 minutes maybe 20 people had come up to us all quite different and the journalist could not get over how we meant so many different things to such a device set of people. They had all taken what they had seen, and found a way for it to suit them. We are not trying to appeal to any one set of people, we are just doing what is true. Just getting on with the music.

There have been so many great experiences, all quite different – all for very different reasons. On this forth coming tour we have some great fans in Italy who will be travelling to many of the tours – it will be great to play Milano. We are going back to the Czech Republic, to Prague soon. We have always found that when we do one show and then go back again soon after it goes totally crazy.

We have never had much control on where we are on the line-up or taken too much notice who else is playing, that is not important to us. Or where we stand on the bill. Sometimes we have turned up and seen friends, and asked them what they are doing there – it turns out they are on the line-up to.

We have never been to Russia or Greece, but we are going to try and make it there when the next record is released. We have never played anywhere just because we have been advised that it would be good for us. A few years ago we did 20+ shows in France. The booker told us we did not want to do this as only Paris mattered and that was only because it was on the way to London. But we did it and had a great time. We would get to places early and get to meet people’s family, and really be accepted. Over the years we have seen stuff that many other bands would not have seen. For a lot of bands all they see between shows is the highway. For us we get to see stuff like the promoters Dad’s business. You get an insight into other peoples lives and end up realising that really they are just like me. They have very different languages and cultures, but if they had grown up where I had they would be the same.

How have you seen the music scene change over the years?

It has changed so much. Music is interpreted so different these days. They used to say that a new music generation would come along every three years; I think it now more like every nine months. Instead of ‘ What will the next big thing be?’ being asked, it is now ‘Is there anything else?’ which is the question. When we started out it was Cyndy Lauper and Boy George that were around, and now?

 

Out of all your albums which is your favourite and why?

I kinda think of releases like kids. One may be the brightest, another the funniest another prettiest but they are all special and you love them all equally in their own way. Some bands when recording albums will go back and assess what bits of their last album made it not sell – this is for their record label. We do what feels right at the time. My Dad says when recording new stuff that you must remember that ‘it has to be good for a reason, not just today, but for tomorrow as well’. If things turn out better than we thought they would, then that equals success. We have a strong idea of what we do and do not want to do.


You obviously like working with others (with side projects like Infectious Groves) and I read Ice T has joined you on stage in the past – if you could work with anyone, alive or dead who would it be?

When all possibilities are opened up to you like this, you tend to get even greedier and want even more. I would rather say there are different things I would like to experience. I am into learning how people do things, and to drop in to see how the cope with different situations. A few years ago I got loads of proposals for collaborations – there were with the big ‘alternative’, hip-hop/rock type bands. But it did not appeal to us. People said it draw attention to our music, but we do not feel we need that type of attention. We would rather do tours like the Resistance one and win people because they have seen us at the show. Maybe they did not know who we were before the show, but they go away liking the band.

Tell the readers 5 facts about the band?

1) The drummer and bassist are brothers and their dad used to be in the Temptations. They have also played with Snoop Doggy Dog.

2) The bassist has just gotten back from playing with Jessica Simpson.

3) The guitarist Dean has played on loads of records that have gone. He has worked with the 3T’s and the Jacksons.

4) Not many people like me – but everyone knows that. But I am not bothered like maybe they think I should be.

5) I don’t drink pepsi

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2003 and 2004?

There should be a new Suicidal Tendencies album out next year. Also a new release by the Infectious Groves. We are in negotiations with Sony to put out a DVD – they own rights to most of our stuff. Things like ‘Lights - Camera - Revolution’ and stuff that came out afterwards. There are around 18-20 videos we have to choose from. We will do a tour when this comes out. We plan to head first to South America and then to places like Indonesia.

Any final comments?

Come down and catch us at the Forum in London.


Return to interview list

Please note that the opinions expressed by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website. Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made by interviewees.