SUICIDAL TENDENCIES Frontman On Rumored Gang Affiliation, Being Only Original Member

D.X. Ferris of the Cleveland Scene recently conducted an interview with vocalist Mike Muir of the long-running Venice Beach, California thrash/punk band SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Cleveland Scene: The rumor mill said the band was gang-affiliated. Were any of you?

Muir: The world is a gang. There's certain words people use [to call attention and stigmatize], like "Oh, oh, oh!" Anybody that grew up in Venice, if you didn't know somebody that was in a gang, you didn't know anybody. It has nothing to do with anything.

Cleveland Scene: What made Rob Trujillo good?

Muir: Robert came from a different school. He was never into hard rock. He was just into SUICIDAL because he was from the neighborhood. A couple of people were like, "He's not the right guy." And I was like, "But he's by far the best bass player." That was the chance to make the band come up a level. It was a no-brainer.

Cleveland Scene: During the rap-rock era, you recorded with [SoCal natives and Christian rap-rock band] P.O.D. But you didn't like RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE?

Muir: I just think [RAGE] said something about us — Tom [Morello, the RAGE guitarist], you know? So I said what I thought. I think a lot of times, little nerdy kids get an audience, and they like the fact that they can say things, and they think people really care. And to me, that's just totally fake. Like, dude, are they really a groundbreaking political band if Sony's throwing all kinds of money at it?

Cleveland Scene: You're the only original member. What does it say about the band?

Muir: That's the way it is. It doesn't mean anything to me. A lot of the time, I say I wish I could get somebody to take my place. I say that in a funny way, but in a real way. A long time ago, I used to say I wish I could just be in the audience and check it out.

Cleveland Scene: What does SUICIDAL TENDENCIES represent to you in 2008?

Muir: I think it would be a success if people hear it and think, "You've got metal, you've got punk, you've got all this stuff - but there's something else. There's another way to do it." If there's some 14-year-old kid, I don't want him just trying to play like SUICIDAL. I want him to sit there and go, "You know what? We don't have to do what everybody else is doing. How can we do something completely different?" That's what we've tried to do with each of our records. People should hear it the first time and go, "Whoa, that's not what I expected."

Read the entire interview from the Cleveland Scene.

Fan-filmed video footage of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES performing a new song called "Come Alive" on October 26, 2008 in Biarritz, France can be viewed below.

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