“We made peo­ple up­set. We scared them”


Kerrang! (UK) - - Phil Anselmo -

hen Mike Muir, prin­ci­pal song­writer and the only re­main­ing orig­i­nal mem­ber of Sui­ci­dal Ten­den­cies, wore a younger man’s clothes, he was asked by the in­flu­en­tial Cal­i­for­nian punk rock mag­a­zine Flip­side which act would he would most like to share a stage with. His an­swer was Madonna. Mike was told he was be­ing ridicu­lous, and that the Ma­te­rial Girl’s vast au­di­ence would be ge­net­i­cally pre­dis­posed to hate his own then-frankly ter­ri­fy­ing band. Im­ma­te­rial, was the front­man’s re­ply, be­cause how would peo­ple know what they thought of Sui­ci­dal Ten­den­cies if they’d yet to hear them?

“If some­one hasn’t heard some­thing,” says the 52-year-old to­day,“then it doesn’t ex­ist.”

It is this kind of ir­rev­er­ence, this kind of dec­li­na­tion to be placed in any kind of pi­geon­hole, this mis­chievous hu­mour and this der­ring-do that has made Sui­ci­dal Ten­den­cies one of the most in­flu­en­tial mus­cu­lar rock bands of the lat­ter 20th cen­tury. Ev­i­dence that the Venice Beach quin­tet have touched the lives of mu­si­cians who rose to con­quer can be found in the fact that ‘Sui­ci­dal’, as they are of­ten known, are presently on tour in Europe as spe­cial guests to Slip­knot – with whom the band share an off­stage friend­ship – ap­pear­ing in are­nas from Leipzig to Lon­don.

“When some­one has a favourite band, of­ten they rush to the front at the start of the show,” says Mike. “When they’re watch­ing the band who play be­fore, they kind of look like they’re cheat­ing on their girl­friend, or some­thing. When we come out, it’s a cul­ture shock. But it’s hard to hate some­one who looks like they could beat the hell out of you. We’re not the pret­ti­est guys.”

Over the course of their 34-year ca­reer, Sui­ci­dal Ten­den­cies have housed in their ranks play­ers such as Me­tal­lica’s Rob Tru­jillo and new Avenged Sev­en­fold drum­mer Brooks Wack­er­man, as well as lit­er­ally dozens of other mu­si­cians. But, while sta­bil­ity may not have been the group’s call­ing-card, in­flu­ence cer­tainly has; what’s more, it hap­pened right from the start.

It must be re­mem­bered that at the be­gin­ning of the ’80s, ev­ery­one knew their place: metal was metal, played by peo­ple with long hair; punk was punk,

Wplayed by peo­ple with short hair; and hip-hop was a nascent mu­si­cal form barely con­sid­ered out­side of Amer­ica’s in­ner-cities.the wear­ing of U.S. sports ap­parel was van­ish­ingly rare, and cross-pol­li­na­tion with sport­ing sub-cul­tures – in Sui­ci­dal’s case, the world of skateboarding; Mike was the first non-skater to ap­pear on the cover of cul­tural-bi­ble Thrasher Mag­a­zine – was un­heard of. Cre­atively speak­ing, it was a very or­dered and stuffy world in­deed.

Sui­ci­dal Ten­den­cies helped change all that.the band had a look (ban­danas and hand-painted white shirts) and they had ‘at­ti­tude’ – a word that in 1983 was never used as a com­pli­ment – a stylish and of­ten hu­mor­ous way of telling you that they didn’t give a damn what any­one thought of them.and this was just as well, be­cause, at first, peo­ple hated Sui­ci­dal Ten­den­cies.


Not sim­ply con­tent writ­ing­with­with­writ­ing the very songs that made heavy metal a main­stream form of mu­sic, James Het­field is also re­spon­si­ble for the logo that first ap­peared on the band’s busi­ness cards in the ’80s, as well as their ninja

his star and Scary Guy mo­tifs. It was stamp on a name that drum­mer Lars Ulrich had stolen from friend Ron Quin­tana while brain­storm­ing names for his new fanzine, with the Dane pulling the wool over his pal’s eyes and rec­om­mend­ing he use Metal Ma­nia in­stead, leav­ing ’Tal­lica free for the sticks­man’s fledg­ling band. “Lars had the name, I had the logo,” said Papa Het in a re­cent in­ter­view. “He was more the busi­ness guy, the thinker. I’m much less of a thinker.”


Be­fore Slash fell in love with the gui­tar, the BMX was the ap­ple of his eye. And be­fore that, as a kid, the young Saul Hud­son was a bud­ding artist. At school he would draw big jun­gle scenes filled with an­i­mals, while dur­ing vis­its with his dad fol­low­ing his par­ents’ split, the pair would go to lo­cal mu­se­ums and sketch to­gether. His arty up­bring­ing would serve the fu­ture gui­tarist well come Guns N’ Roses’ for­ma­tion in 1985: the band’s ear­li­est hand­made fly­ers would be adorned with Slash’s sketches, and it was he that cre­ated the band’s now-iconic clas­sic logo. It was his pen­man­ship that would catch the eye of Gef­fen Records A&R man Tom Zu­taut, who was stopped in his tracks by “the coolest band poster I ever saw” in LA one day. Slash, it is said, still owns the logo’s copy­right, hence its hi­ber­na­tion un­til his re­join­ing of the band ear­lier this year.

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