Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Retroview: Suicidal Tendencies discography (or at least most of it)

Suicidal Tendencies was my entry into the world of punk, hardcore, and metal back in 1989. They've had their ups and downs, to say the least, but I figured it was high time for a retroview of their discography. This is going to be long, but bear with me!! (that's what she said). PS don't forget to join our group on!!

Self-Titled (1983)
Obviously this is pretty much the best record ever released and if you don't worship it, you should probably blow your brains out immediately to salvage what's left of your honor. This record is pretty much why I like all the stuff I like now: hardcore, graffiti, metal, fighting, and the West Coast. Where do I ever start?!

First of all, I'm not sure why they decided to cover up those dope shirts with that dumb photo of them hanging from the jungle gym, but whatever. I can't count the hours I spent studying all the shirts on the cover, copying them or trying to make up my own designs. They still look fucking cool. My favorite is the "Suicidal Cycos" one on the middle right. I actually have that goat head/pentagram tattooed on my forearm. When I was 11 or 12 years old, I definitely pulled my socks up high when I wore shorts, buttoned my flannels up to the very top, and otherwise tried to imitate them as much as possible. I used to be kind of embarrassed about it, but fuck that! I was cool! Being an 11 year old kid that jocked Suicidal is way cooler than being into MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice or whatever was popular at the time.

Anyhow, as far as the record goes, needless to say, every fucking song on here is a classic! If I had to pick just one as my favorite, I guess it would be the first song, "Suicide's An Alternative," because I still listen to it when I'm confused and angry at the world and want to break shit and/or kill people. As someone on their Youtube comments said, "Best 'fuck the world and myself included' lyrics of all time." It's pretty clear that 16 spent plenty of time jamming Suicidal when they were kids, too. I also love the breakdown in that song where he's going on about making a deal with Satan or whatever. I still don't really get what that's all about, but it's fucking cool and that's an awesome riff.

I shot Reagan! I shot the pope!

All the other songs on this record are classics, too, and I could literally write page after page about each one, but I won't. I also really liked how they weren't afraid to have ass-ripping metal solos in the mix. I mean, "Institutionalized" is like one big fucking solo. I'm 30 years old, and listening to this right now at my desk makes me want to drink a 40, write on other people's shit, and punch a fuckin' cop in the face!
Sick of people - no ones real
Sick of chicks - they're all bitches
Sick of you - you're too hip
Sick of life - it sucks

Suicide's an alternative

Sick of trying - what's the point
Sick of talking - no one listens
Sick of listening - it's all lies
Sick of thinking - just end up confused
Sick of moving - never get no where
Sick of myself - don't wanna live
Sick and tired - and no one cares
Sick of life - it sucks

Sick of politics - for the rich
Sick of power - only oppresses
Sick of government - full of tyrants
Sick of school - total brainwash
Sick of music - top 40 sucks
Sick of myself - don't wanna live
Sick and tired - and no one cares
Sick of life - it sucks

Suicide's an alternative

Sick of life - it sucks
Sick and tired - and no one cares
Sick of myself - don't wanna live
Sick of living - I'm gonna die

Join The Army (1987)
The most obvious thing to say about this record, of course, is that this album is when Suicidal stopped being a hardcore band and started being a metal band. And let me tell you, this record is metal as fuck!! They came down with a serious case of chopaholism, lots of choppity-choppity-chop riffing going on here in songs like "Looking In Your Eyes." There's also lots of monster slam riffs, like the one at the beginning of "Suicidal Maniac." By the way, that reminds me of something we left off the thrash metal checklist: a song about some kind of killer thrash metal warrior-mascot and how awesome it/he is (see also Megadeth "Psychotron").

I think of this record as their "Breeding The Spawn": a potential classic hampered by awful, muddy production. There are some really great songs on here like "Cyco," "Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right," and of course "Possessed to Skate," but the terrible production makes it hard to listen to them.

I love the video for "Possessed to Skate" for so many reasons! Again, I could seriously make a whole post just about this video because nearly every frame is priceless, but I'll just include a brief version here for the sake of completeness.

Why is he using such an enormous pen to do his calculus?!

Even at 12 years old, I knew it was funny that he used that skinny little microphone like Bob Barker on The Price Is Right.

This was the beginning of my 20-year love affair with graffiti, especially Southern California styles. Next stop, CBS, MSK, AWR, LTS and KOG!

It's not an 80s thrash video without a cabinet TV! See also Megadeth: "I wanna watch the news!!"

Shit, I don't even know what to say about them pulling the plug out to drain the pool... Amazing!! Mind = blown!

On another note, the cover of this record is highly disturbing! I am not sure what they were trying to communicate with that image of the crazy guy with a crazy face made of silly putty pointing at you?? He sort of reminds me of Solid Snake, and it's also pretty impressive how crisp his serratus are! This is also when they switched over to their metal logo, with a sweet airbrushed gradient in it to make it look like it was actually made of metal (as was the style at the time).

How Will I Laugh (1988)
Let's be honest, this record is pretty much total crap. I mean it's kind of fun to listen to with your nostalgia-tinted headphones on, but it's not exactly a classic. The only song I really like is "Surf & Slam," and even then it's only because it reminds me of the T&C Surf video game for NES. I was pretty shocked when the singer of that hardcore band Inhuman told me this was his favorite Suicidal record. Also, the video for "Trip At The Brain" is pretty funny! I should post about that one too, there are some great moments. Here's a pretty cool death metal cover of it.

Needless to say, I thought this was the coolest fucking house ever and when I was 13, I wanted to live there more than anything I have ever wanted!!

But man, I love the cover of this record so much!! Mike Muir just came from a car club meeting with those ridiculous pants and wifebeater, Bob Heathcote looks like he should be running a drill press at some metal shop, and Rocky George begins the proud tradition of the Pirates hat. Then there is the guy in the brown shirt who actually looks pretty cool except that, thanks to Municipal Waste or whatever, you'd think he's some kind of jerky "thrash revival" kid.

Controlled By Hatred (1989)
Fuck yes!! This is my second-favorite Suicidal record, I love it a lot! As many of you probably know, a bunch of these songs are re-recorded versions of No Mercy songs, which are way better than the originals because the production on the No Mercy LP makes "Breeding The Spawn" sound like an audiophile's wet dream. These songs have a cool thrashy, punk vibe that takes you back to the early days of Suicidal, only with crisp metal production- kind of like that Slayer covers record (which I think is also really good despite not being a big Slayer fan).

The best track on here is "Master of No Mercy," which I have always thought was their most underrated song (technically it is No Mercy song, I guess). If you can make it through the chorus without aggressively headbanging at your co-workers or roommates, you're a stronger man than I am. I just got up yelled, "He's the arsenic in your Kool-Aid, he's the bomb in your mail!!" at the girl whose desk is across from mine! Seriously, what an awesome thrash song! I don't know who or what the Master of No Mercy is, but I am sure he's bad as fuck!

This is from the Excel MySpace, but might as well have been one of my 8th grade binder covers

I remember seeing some piece (graffiti) years ago that had "Master of No Mercy" written next to it and I was pretty stoked, like "Yeah, that dude knows what's up!" I think it was Orfn, but it might have been Fate or something, I don't remember. In any case, I love this song and this whole album a lot! I could probably do without the "Heavy Emotion Version" of "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow," but nothing is perfect so whatever.

The guy on the left is an American Apparel model we photoshopped in

The cover is also awesome. I've drawn that ST probably hundreds of times, and I definitely spent lots of time trying to copy the sick cholo writing on the lyric sheet. Fast forward to 2009 and I'm 30 years old, still doodling cholo-inspired graffiti on every piece of paper I come near (ask everybody I work with). Like I said, Suicidal is basically how I got into everything I've been into for my adult life. Having just typed that, I feel a little silly about being so captivated by a band, especially one who went on to be as abominable as Suicidal, but what can you do??

Lights Camera Revolution (1990)
Perhaps it's my nostalgia goggles at work, but I'd like to think this record isn't complete shit. I mean it's definitely not great, but it has its moments for sure. "Send Me Your Money" is the prerequisite attack on corruption with organized religion. "Alone" is a touching, heartfelt song about Cyco Miko feeling lonely. I'd like to think that the 19 year-old Mike from the first album would have shanked Cyco Miko for being a sensitive pussy, but who knows? Without access to the Nocturnus time machine, we can never be sure.

"You Can't Bring Me Down" is, of course, the highlight of the record. I mean, it's the origin of the "Charles Manson eating Froot Loops on your front porch" tag, which is right up there with "Things I would destroy if I had access to the Nocturnus time machine." The video is pretty sweet, but I'm getting sleepy so I might have to save the frame-by-frame analysis for another post.

Apparently this is the current Suicidal lineup?? I have no fucking clue who any of these people are other than Mike Muir. He could at least bring Brooks Wackerman back.

All their other shit (1990-present)
Because I like Suicidal so much, I'm just going to pretend none of this exists. If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything, right? I did kind of like that song "Psycho Vision" or whatever that they had in one of the earlier Tony Hawk Pro Skater games I played a lot (THPS2 for Dreamcast is the best IMO).

Without Suicidal, we would never have been blessed with Despise You. And a world without Despise You is one that I don't want to live in!!


  1. I seen Suicidal back in December in Detroit. Let me tell you... That drummer of theirs is fucking gigantic. I thought it was fucking King Mabel/Big Daddy V.

    Surprisingly they did a fair share of old shit. They tore the house down when they played Subliminal.

    Good fucking article

  2. Killer post.
    It'd be sweet if you looked into the other videos too.

    My first crowd surfing experience was to Subliminal.

    I also rock the bandanna and white sleeveless ST shirt and pulled up socks on occasion.

  3. Lights camera is worth it just for the first track. I can listen to You Can't Bring Me Down and then turn the rest off and be satisfied that it's the greatest album ever

  4. Have you noticed how Mike makes hand gestures while he singing (lip-syncing) in the "How Will I Laugh..." video that are very similar to the gestures made by Randy "The Macho Man" Savage when he talks?

  5. True story: when I first saw the video for "waking the dead" when I was 13, I thought that ST were a bunch of Guns N Roses copycats based on the fact that they were wearing bandanas as well...little did I know back then that ST had existed for a longer time than GNR. The fact that the music was completely different went unnoticed as well...two years later I stood corrected, and when I was designing my own "cool" signature, I copied the ST tag-style lettering.
    And yes, I do admit that GNR were my introduction to heavy music. Am I a poser? Probably...

  6. Good stuff Sarge.

    I got into Suicidal late with "Suicidal for life" - which I fuckin' loved - and into their older stuff retrospectively.

    Sadly I never saw them live, scared shitless to do so now as I'm not convinced they are still cyco after all these years.

  7. The Art of Rebellion is my favorite ST record. It's their record for metalheads, with all the long intros, proggy stuff and falsetto stuff. It's a small step from Operation: Mindcrime to The Art of Rebellion. Back then I thought their early stuff was crap and they couldn't play. Right now Darkthrone is one of my favorite bands. Go figure. But I still think The Art of Rebellion kicks ass.

  8. one of my top 5 if not top 3 favorite bands...even the newer stuff like Freedumb, Free Your Mind, and Year of the Cycos (thought that's more a comp)...even that first Infectious Grooves and that first Cyco Miko record...i consider it all Suicidal Fo' Life ha...

    Their December show in Baltimore was pretty kick ass, and as stated, their new drummer is probably keeping Gene Hoglan awake at night (though i still love Gene and ironically have been listening to SYL lately too)...good job but def give Freedumb and after a chance (Art of Rebellion and SFL, still not so cyco after all these years :P)...

  9. i think i mentioned this once before but my older brother has a tattoo that is the old skate rags skull but the bill of his hat says "suicidal" instead and the two of us would button the top button on our flannels when we were skating or circle pitting at shows. keep in mind that this was two suburban white kids in arkansas in the early like 1991.

  10. If you look at the inside band photos of Dismember's "Massive Killing Capacity" album you can see David Blomquist rockin' the bandana and buttoned shirt ala ST. Even as far away as Sweden their influence was felt. Does anyone have a link to the photos of this album?

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  13. you guys need to do an Inquisition overview of 90's and beyond ST as well as infectious of rebellion had some surprisingly decent stuff on it, but c'mon- every metal band on a major label after 1992 was pretty much forced to do a Black Album, that was obviously theirs...cyco miko's solo cd, THAT needs to be taken out by a hit squad dispatched via the Noctournus time machine...

  14. dude. there's this guy Pete in my neighborhood that still make those shirts!

    He's offered to make them for me one on several occasions, and i could probably get him to make you one.

    In fact he sends them all over the world to people who pay for shipping.

    since we roll to dark realm records and amoeba once in a while, and since i took his BLIND suicidal homie to a celtic frost show.

    Pete gots it all, the shirts, all made by him, high socks, the hats with writing under the bill, shit son! and even a mercyful fate melissa skull on his neck and venom logo on the forearm!

    Shit, I remember hearing them talking about how those bandannas with the little x's are the real shit, not the poseur bandannas we have now, with that other print on it. They guys have black bandannas with that print, and I remember hearing one of the guys say that he seen an old lady with a blue one, and e wanted to swipe it from her and runn off the bus.

    haha, but yeah theyre great guys to get high with, or drink with.

  15. "How Will I Laugh" was pretty off the hook if you were 13 and the recent owner of a 1988 headless Synsonics guitar from Service Merchandise.

    First you got sucked in by the easy to learn rhythm guitar tracks. You'd wail on them for hours, hardly believing your own ears as the real sounds of the titles track were emerging from your very hands... soon you realized that if the rhythms were this easy, it must be just a shimmy shake to learn the miles of ripping solos.

    At this point you got sidetracked by the lyrics about concepts familiar to any 13 year old underdog like not wanting to get up in the morning and getting made fun of for your clothes and traveling microscopically through your own anatomy. There was no song that directly helped you through your feelings if inadequacy as rated against Rocky George and his hat, but the overall sentiment is there.

    A week later, the bracket that held the strings in place sheared loose and it was time to either get a warlock or take up bass.

  16. Last I saw Rocky George, he was playing guitar in Fishbone.

  17. Yeah but that makes sense if you use the Nocturnus time machine to travel back to the era of The Reality of My Surroundings when Fishbone made an unstable album long sex scene between shred guitar and Sly and the Family Stone.

  18. HOW WILL I LAUGH... is their best album from start to finish. That's all I have to say.

  19. A week later, the bracket that held the strings in place sheared loose and it was time to either get a warlock or take up bass.

    hahahaha man i had some cheap, shitty guitars when i was a kid too.

  20. As a brown guy, it was pretty much a requirement that I listen to these dudes, but man - who wouldn't want to?
    Their imagery ruled, their songs ruled, their merch ruled.
    I saw them a year or so ago and they still put on a good show.
    I think they enlist black dudes assuming their target audience is gonna be too drunk to know any different.

    Personally, I think HWILT is a great CD! The production is awesome, and the title track, though sorta emo, is a scorcher.
    "Laugh at this!"
    you = moshin

  21. Definitely agree with their debut being the best album of all time and space. It just doesn't get any better in terms of punk/hardcore, these people were simply celestially gifted to come up with these timeless works of fucking art. That record should win the godamned grammy every year as long as muir is alive. Another incredible record that introduced metalheads to hardcore was D.R.I. Dealing with it, every single song a classic, sheer brain splattering brilliance. Great post Sarge, you made up for the last few horrible posts :p

  22. are they crippin now?

  23. Great post Sarge, you made up for the last few horrible posts :p

    thanks, i know i have sins to atone for! i'll keep it real for a while before i make anymore screamo crunk posts!

  24. you and me could be friends haha...I still doodle the sick suicidal grafitti style (30 this year too)on pieces of paper at work. And I remember very vividly the first time I heard suicidal when i was 13 (evil)!

  25. ~~~~ Just cause you don't understand what's going on don't mean it don't make no sense!
    And just cause you don't like it, don't mean it aint no good!

    And let me tell you something: Before you go taking a walk in my world, you better take a look at the real world cause this aint no Mr. Rogers Neighborhood! Can you say "feel like shit?"

    Yeah maybe sometimes I do feel like shit! I aint happy about it, but I'd rather feel like shit than be full of shit!

    And if I offended you, Oh I'm sorry, but maybe you needed to be offended. But here's my apology and one more thing -- Fuck you! ~~~~~

    Oh, snap! Eat it, Tipper!

  26. DUDE! "How Will I Laugh..." and "Lights, Camera..." are STILL FUCKING AWESOME. Still. STILL. What the fuck!? I even have "The Art of Rebellion" on my iPod... come on!?

  27. dude, sarg... fuck, i could write a book and a half about this post and ST and you. ST is soooo you! let me tell you, readers, if you met the sarg and got to know him, this post would make 100% more sense. i remember the winter of '98 i spent a lot of days, while the sarg went to work @ kinko's in his bedroom listening to ST tapes. ST and nitro... i'll also say that 'how will i laugh' is an awesome album and when i finally have the balls to kill myself, that tape will be in my pocket. oh, and 'you cant bring me down' video is ace. and 'possessed to skate' is rad and ST are awesome!!!!!!!! im declaring this weekend 'crossover weekend'. i will only listen to ST, DRI, cryptic slaughter, and excel. fuck yeah!

  28. Crossover Weekend it is!
    Oh yeah, I had the 'Possessed To Skate' 12" and it had a pretty good song 'Human Guinea Pig' on it too.

  29. The first Suicidal is still one of my top ten favorites of any type of music. "I shot Reagan" is an overlooked classic. I could give a shit about the rest of their catalog, though. Maybe the band is also noteworthy for being the birthplace of the Robert Trujillo "crabwalk."

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  31. I saw ST play with Madball back in Dec. They really sucked, we stayed for about 4 or 5 songs then bounced. I thought I was at a Body Count renunion and Mike Muir was filling in for Ice T. It was pathetic to say the least

  32. You didn't mention that an LA gang called the Suicidals followed the band around and cause the band to be banned from playing in LA? For shame!

  33. This band has always been dogshit.

  34. Name another thrash band that namechecks Anwar Sadat.


  35. Haha. We discussed that Lights Camera Revolution album in detail on the bad punk episode of Dissonance.

  36. i had pretty much the similar experience with suicidal. i used to rock the flannel with the top button fastened and i had the hat and all the other stupid gear. i even have a No Mercy shirt (still) that fucking rules.

    the first suicidal is the best and i really like join the army and feel like shit, but i will say that after that they started to suck so hard that it was like how i felt when the metallica black album was released or divine intervention...TOTALLY BETRAYED!

    they have morphed from one of the all time greatest bands to the all time worst.

  37. Send me your money is pretty much the same riff as you'll be sorry off the first lp. My old band used to break into that every now and then and switch back and forth between the songs. They had one of the coolest/ scariest vibes of any band ever.

    I saw them on the warped tour in the 90's and Mike was going on and on about how suicidal is a way of life and how it was never about killing yourself, uh what!?

    I like no mercy better then any metal suicidal stuff. If anyone has a poster for that LP get in touch.

  38. Despise You fucking rules.

    last i heard, rocky george was in the Cro-Mags.

  39. Awesome post. ST never could top that debut album, which is an absolute all-time classic. I still listen to that thing all the time. "Controlled.." kicked some serious ass too. But the rest of their catalog kind of leaves me cold, particularly everything after "Controlled...". A bad combination of trying too hard & just plain "meh", IMO.

    Saw them a few months ago & they were pretty good, even though Mikey Muir dances around like an autistic kid doing aerobics.

  40. Please do a "crossover" post about how Mike Murr gave birth to the Screamo Crunk hand gesture...

    Real talk.

  41. I have a copy of "the art of rebellion" that was released on Mini-disc. It failed to sell at my yard sale the past two weeks in a row. you might have to fly out here before this gem gets snatched up.

  42. I have a copy of "the art of rebellion" that was released on Mini-disc. It failed to sell at my yard sale the past two weeks in a row.

    wow, what a shock!! did you have an easier time getting rid of your copy of Shift Shellshock's solo album on DAT?

  43. Fuck me! I remember commenting on the metal/sports post the Mike Clark wore a pirates hat and nobody called me out on was Rocky duuuuh! I must've "misspoke"...anyway, good post, I think anyone our age must've got into ST about the same way...I remember coming home from school once when I was 11 or 12 and my mom had been watching MTV all day (we just got cable in my small home town) and was freaked out because she saw a video by a band called "suicidal tendencies".."isn't that an awful, freaky name for a band"? she said, "yeah they rule"!...hahahaha!

  44. Ha, I remember seeing ST on the Lights...Camera... tour and their opening band was some crapload act from Texas nobody'd ever heard of called Pantera. BTW, Mike Clark is in the current lineup, though it's hard to recognize him in the photo you posted.

  45. Only posers don't like The Art of Rebellion. Rationally, I can see why, but some of those songs tug at my heartstrings like crazy. So fuck it. I also like Mike's falsetto, it sounds pretty schizo if you ask me. Plus, that album contains some amazing quotes (or so it seemed back then) that I've woven into my school essays whenever I got the chance. I remember thinking Mike was somewhat of a philosopher/poet, a real smart dude. Not realizing that in the span of a few albums he's gone from "sick of life, it sucks" to "if your life sucks - you suck!". Still, my friends and me must have tagged that little ST logo from the cover onto every wall on the block.

    For me, the downfall began with Suicidal for Life. A "response" to all the posers who hated Rebellion, I presume. Though I still blast "Suicyco Mothafucka" for the chorus.

    Str8ev, if you think Arkansas is funny, imagine a bunch of Croatian kids pulling their socks up and rocking flipped-up caps with "Suicidal" on the visor in Sharpies. Or bandannas so low that you had to tilt your head way back to see where you're going, giving you that "hardass" look. Come to think of it, ST was pretty huge over here back then. Fun times.

    Anyways, I choose not to take off my nostalgia goggles when it comes to Suicidal. I pretend like the latter albums never happened and remember Mike like he used to seem to us. He was a pretty big influence on me as a kid. Otherwise I could've grown to be a 70 lbs indie beardo, way into The Decemberists.

  46. Well, I was just reading through all those commments then. Interesting views, for those of you who don't really get Suicidal.. well here I go. I do happen to get Suicidal for what they are, I don't really see a need for lots of you to simply rubbish their work, I doubt that if you started bands yourself you could do better. There isn't much out there in my opinion that's better. They just have such a great sound, each member past and present are highly skilled at what they do.

    Face facts, they're bigger than you are and your opinions so what's the point in complaining about their music? I like every album, ST have been a band that has changed different members over the years. That's what they are, all the different musicians bring different things to the table whilst Mike is the original guy bringing the lyrics. If you can't accept their music as being all the same offerings then do you think anybody is gonna care? Suicidal is a way of life, I understand it and have done for years. I used to get high to them in my younger days, times have moved on over the years so of course it's gonna reflect on their music, it does with all artists. Saying Art of Rellion is so good, well it was a good time to make that album. The more recent ones reflect on the Suicidal times of more recent years, if you don't like them blame the times and not the band. Ohh and I happen to like Body Count too so whoever said nasty things your opinion means shit, BC started Rap Metal out so what you trying to say exactly? To the people who posted on here that are real fans I salute you but those who dis go and listen to Britney Spears instead, you might relate more..

  47. "How Will I Laugh (1988)
    Let's be honest, this record is pretty much total crap..."

    FUCKING MORON. Pull your head out of your ass.

    "Mike Muir just came from a car club meeting with those ridiculous pants and wifebeater,..."

    They're called Dickies. And have some fucking respect for Chicano culture dickhead.

  48. Its weird how they started out a primarily white punk band (and gang) and wound up marketing gang culture to their fans. They got worse and cornier every record they put out. Their first recordings and first lp were great though.

  49. I have really enjoyied reading your well written article. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up thse good work!

  50. The cap is nice however the whole post is excellent .

  51. I love metallic composition. I am very happy to get this post.

  52. Very helpful information.!Thank you so much for the detailed article