mike muir (suicidal tendencies) interview by kristin angelique/zero for conduct fanzine

1986 interview with Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies
This interview with Mike Muir took place over the phone on February 4, 1986 and was written/conducted by me, Kristin Angelique for my first fanzine, Zero for Conduct.

Suicidal Tendencies:

Mike - Vocals
Louiche - Bass
Rocky - Guitar
Ralph - Drums

ZFC: When did you play your first gig?

Mike: December '82.
ZFC: Who are your influences and favorite bands?

Mike: My parents, Suicidal Tendencies, Beowulf, No Mercy.

ZFC: Are you a political band?

Mike: No.

ZFC: What are some of the political views that you take seriously?

Mike: That's personal. Like my dad says, who he voted for and stuff ain't no one's business. If I wanted to preach or give my views I might as well run for president. I play music, I don't try to tell people what to think or feel. My feelings aren't anyone's business. Everyone in the band has their own ideas and what they consider important.

ZFC: What's it like to be famous?

Mike: I don't know - ask Ronald Reagan. I don't think about it. I've got other things going on in my life, personal things. I don't worry about whether people like us.

ZFC: You probably won't like this question, but how did you get on MTV?

Mike: No! Don't ask that!

ZFC: Hey, I think it's totally cool!

Mike: Well, we didn't know no one and no one got paid. It's just promotional. Even Michael Jackson doesn't get paid. People say, "Aw man, you sold out, I wouldn't be on MTV." Well you couldn't be on MTV. They accept eight videos for every one hundred.

Maybe if I ask you would you hit 100 homeruns, and you say, "Naw that's stupid." But you couldn't do that. If you make a video and they like it and you say - "No, I wouldn't be on MTV" - then ok. I'd rather people see us on there for five minutes than Duran Duran. Our music reached new audiences with the video.

ZFC: Did it help you become more successful?

Mike: Yeah, more people had a chance to see and hear us and then they'd go out and buy the record.

ZFC: Who made the video? ["Institutionalized"]

Mike: Fallout Films.

ZFC: Whose idea was it?

Mike: All of ours, we worked together.

ZFC: Who played your parents?

Mike: Mary Wornov ("Eating Raoul," a great film) and Jack Nanc ("Eraserman").

ZFC: Who designed the Suicidal Skates?

Mike: Jim Muir, my brother. He is one of the best skaters and he's been involved in skating for a long time. He owns Dog Town Skates.

ZFC: Most of us have suicidal tendencies at least once, some of us have them every day. Have you ever been suicidal?

Mike: Yes, but I have never tried to kill myself. It's a long story, but suicidal is, what's that word? - a synonym - for like taking a chance. It means something different to us, like when we were kids and we were skating. Like there'd be a rain puddle or a really hard trick and someone would say "go for it!" It'd be really tough and someone would go "You can't do that, that's suicidal!" And you'd push yourself and say "fuck you!" and you'd do it.

ZFC: What do you think about the kids that kill themselves?

Mike: They've got problems. It's also a problem of society. People see our name and say, "Hey, you can't talk about that." But if kids could talk about it . . . "Hey Dad, I'm gonna kill myself" . . . then maybe they wouldn't do it. If their parents or friends would help them - because it's usually for attention. They need someone to understand.

ZFC: What do you think about the scene nowadays, the metal crossover and the punk rock trend?

Mike: I think the scene's a contradiction. Punk is supposed to be individuals. So if a person likes hardcore or heavy metal it shouldn't matter. Even disco - I don't like disco, but why hate someone because they do? I'm not really a punk, I'm just me and we play the kind of music we do because we like it. I'm not going to worry you know, "Hey, will they like us still or should we do it this way because it's more punk or whatever." When we first came out, no one liked us. They said, "Man - they look weird - we never saw no one that looked like that." No one ever came to see us. They even said we were heavy metal.

We didn't set out to be hardcore - just to be Suicidal Tendencies. We just played and pretty soon people liked us and then there were all these kids running around in bandanas and drawn t-shirts.

What's a punk anyways? Maximum Rock 'n' Roll and everyone says, "Do this, wear that, get a mohawk." Punks are supposed to be whatever they want and follow no one's rules, not conform and try to be "more punk than you are." It shouldn't matter what you look like. If you like the music - listen, if you don't - who cares?

I'd rather see a long-haired person headbanging at the stage than five punks supporting the scene. People should go to a show because they like the music.

And most punks don't want to admit it, but it takes more talent to play heavy metal. A lot of bands get accused of selling out - but maybe they become more metal-influenced because that's where the money is and they want to pay their rent or reach more people. But if they still play for the punk scene then they haven't sold out. If they did they'd be playing music that's oriented towards commercial music.

I used to call myself a punk before it all changed. I'm not cutting punk, it just used to be different. There are too many people telling you what to be and I'm gonna do whatever I want. Someone might say, "Ooh, that's nasty. Why do you do that?" I don't waste energy worrying about whether someone likes me or not. If they do, that's good, but if they don't, who cares?

ZFC: When is your next record coming out? I've been waiting a long time.

Mike: Soon. Probably a couple of months. And we're doing a new video - "Possessed To Skate."

ZFC: Are you going to tour? I hope.

Mike: Yeah, after the record.

ZFC: What do you think you'll be doing in the next ten years?

Mike: Interior Decorating. (Laughing) Naw, don't print that. I'm joking. Hopefully, something relating to music. Probably still Suicidal Tendencies. We'll probably have our 8th record out and a greatest hits album. I like music, so I want to do something with it.

Copyright 1986 Kristin Angelique and Mike Muir

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