Suicidal Tendency Interview
TIS = The Independent Spiritualist
DP = Dean Pleasants
EM = Eric Moore
TIS: This is a really nostalgic tour that you have organized here. You have the Cro-Mags, DRI, Underdog … all of them, along with you, are hardcore legends! How has the tour experience been for you so far?
DP: It was really cool. Kind of a blur, as tours tend to be, but a lot of fun. We called the bus that we are in “the submarine”, we submerged ourselves and we went out to the concerts. Every day there is a different crowd of people, but it is always fun. We’re playing things from the No Mercy record, as well as Suicidal Army and other older stuff, so the crowd really enjoys it, and so do we. We’re really getting into our niche right now, which is what usually happens, and then the tour ends. We are all bonding and it has been a lot of fun.
TIS: Is it me, or do you tend to stay away from touring with a lot of the new “punk / hardcore” bands?
DP: Actually, no, we just do what works for us. We recently did some shows with Deftones.
EM: Yes, and we did a tour with Lamb of God a while ago. We tour with a lot of the new bands, and then we smash them, haha.
DP: We did some festivals in Europe and it was a very diverse lineup. We did a show with Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Kiss. It was crazy.
EM: Yes, believe me, it is diverse. Suicide is very diverse.
TIS: Have you ever skated yourselves?
DP: Oh yeah, absolutely.
EM: Dean still skates. Your dashboard is right there. I also used to skate when I was skinny. Like all the time. I fell and broke my lip and shit, but I always got back up.
TIS: Haha, great. So what boards did you grow up on?
DP: Well when I was a kid my first board was this little polyurethane plastic thing when it first came out. That was before they were skating bowling and stuff. Now I’m skating on a Pep board with monster wheels and Indy trucks. I can show you.
TIS: Yes, it would be great if you don’t mind.
DP: No, not at all!
EM: I always had the man from the Wal-Mart meetings. He had the vital advice of Wal-Mart. I was telling my mom that I wanted the one that picked up on both sides and she was like, “No! You’re going to get this $ 10 board and you’re going to like it,” and I was like, okay, I’ll just ride some BMX bikes. . Because when you’re a bully growing up, you’d just be stealing whatever you want.
DP: So here is my dashboard. He definitely has a job on this tour and it is definitely a cruise. The guys from Rip City (Santa Monica, CA) fixed it for me. I told them I was playing in a band with Jim’s brother and they hooked him up right away.
EM: Yes, the only reason you are skating on Pep’s board is because Pep is our friend.
DP: Yeah. I really like sailing, so on this thing, it’s like two kicks and you can go forever, and it’s fast. Before this board, I was skating Dogtown’s and I also owned a Jesse from Santa Monica Airlines.
TIS: Rad. So Sucidal, particularly Mike Muir, has been noted for having trouble with Rage Against The Machine. In fact, he wrote a song called Do What I Tell You, which is a parody of the lyrics to the Rage song Killing In The Name. Is this still ongoing?
DP: Honestly, I don’t know much about it. In fact, we come from South America where we played with Rage.
EM: Yes, we play with them. We were just three bands, us, The Mars Volta & Rage.
DP: Yeah, and that was pretty cool, so I don’t want to say anything bad about them.
EM: But we really don’t have anything bad to say anyway.
DP: They put on an incredible show. It was crazy. There were 50,000 people going crazy. I mean, we all did a good show, but Rage DID A GOOD SHOW.
EM: Yes, Rage was killing him.
TIS: Great. So is it safe to say that you don’t play that song anymore, or at least you didn’t then?
DP: We definitely don’t play it there.
EM: It was really a fight between people, not between gangs. It wasn’t like we had to yell at them or they had to come at us.
DP: It was a war of words, in which Mike was involved. What happened was that the bands were touring together, and someone was talking on the phone, and someone pushed someone, and it really was all Tom Foolery. Then they said something about Mike in an interview and that the band was old or something funny. Mike asked us if we would mind if he wrote a song about them. He really didn’t want to get us involved. He wasn’t mad at those guys. So he wrote Do What You Tell Me, I was like, okay, he’s really mad at them.
So we went to South America, where they had offered us two festivals, one in Chile and the other in São Paulo. Rage’s manager said, well, I don’t know if they want you guys to come, but he asked you and it was long ago forgotten. And the Brazilian people said they wanted Suicidal to come, so we went. We got there and saw Tom and Zack, we said hello and everything was fine.
TIS: Right. What’s the word on the new album? Is there an attempted release date?
DP: Well, we wanted to release the No Mercy / Suicidal Army record for the tour because Mike had a vision to make the records again and show people the harder side of Suicidal. We usually play three or four of the songs on our set. As for the new album, it really is based on the current moment because of the way it is the industry and the distribution. We really want to go out right now and rename the people who were with us before, as well as show the new generation of kids who we are before we put out a record. We do not want to publish something that is not going to be heard. That is really important to all of us. When you put your heart and soul into something, you want it to be heard. And we are going on this tour of the United States to Europe and South America, etc.
TIS: Yes, my friend Randy was saying on the way how much he liked the new No Mercy recordings and what you guys did with them.
EM: Yeah man that’s the new, hard and fast.
DP: It’s a throwback to the way they recorded a long time ago. It was originally on Infectious Grooves, before Suicidal, and we were used to doing things a certain way, a lot of improvisation and writing, but there was a formula for Suicidal that made it sound like it did. And we went back to that formula. Mike was doing the hard beats and I was doing the solos, and the drummer and bassist were doing their thing. It really makes for a different kind of recording. And that’s what we did with No Mercy. When you listen to it, you can hear everyone doing what they do best.
TIS: You mentioned Infectious Grooves. You guys are going to play your first show in the United States in 10 years on November 23rd. Can you talk a bit about that?
EM: Yeah man, it’s going to be a great show. We will play The House of Blues in Hollywood.
DP: Infectious was able to play in Chile with RATM and The Mars Volta, and we had never played there before. However, we have done some tours in France, Europe and Australia. Infectious’ first tour was Ozzy’s opening.
TIS: Yes, I remember. Would I go out singing Therapy with you?
DP: Yes, and in fact, when he recorded the video with us, he had a broken leg. We were in Chicago and I will never forget it. Anyone can say what they want about Ozzy, but he’s the nicest guy, he really is.
TIS: So is there any truth to the Suicidal / LA Sureno Venice 13 gang rumors? You can nod once for yes and twice for no if you wish.
EM: Hahaha, oh man.
DP: Haha well there are a lot of gangs that claim Suicidal, but I’m not a gang member myself.
EM: I wear red so … (laughs).
DP: We have a lot of people who are in the band who are also into other things that may not be tasty. When we play Ventura, we have Hell’s Angels at our shows all the time. We have a lot of 1% motorcycle gangs that are in Suicidal. They never really cause problems at shows, but they are there. When we play Ventura, the whole street is lined with Hells Angels.
TIS: It sounds crazy.
EM: It’s strange.
DP: Yes, it’s crazy. So many people like our music and for us it is an honor. There are a lot of people in prison who like our music and they say it helps them during the day, so that’s great. For us, the most important thing is to touch someone. If you can help someone through their day when they are going through a difficult time, that means something. As for gangs, I don’t know. It’s crazy and people are definitely doing their thing.
TIS: Cool guys. Thanks for your time.