Suicidal Tendencies’ original “Cyco” is back

Front man Mike Muir’s intimidating appearance veils a laid-back guy who wants to put out his best effort.

Spencer Doar

What:  Suicidal Tendencies

When: 8:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Mill City Nights, 111 5th St. N., Mpls.

Cost: $25

Ages: 18+

 

It’s the early 80s in Venice, Calif. Punk is evolving, skateboarders are becoming the stuff of legend and “Cyco” Mike Muir starts the band Suicidal Tendencies. 

Fast forward 30 years and Muir’s byproduct of teenage energy is credited with pioneering the crossover of punk and metal, thrashing their way into the hearts of fans.  But it wasn’t easy.  The divided nature of the genres they were trying to meld did not help their efforts. 

“When our first record came out, all the punk fans said it sucked, that it wasn’t punk; all the metal fans said it sucked, that it wasn’t metal,” Muir said.  “Four years later they said our second record sucked and our first one was a classic.”

Their exposure was aided in the early success of “Institutionalized,” a hit single from their self-titled 1983 album that made waves with significant MTV airplay.  Cinephile’s might recognize it from the soundtrack of “Repo Man.”

Now, they are hitting the road yet again, this time in support of “13,” their 13th album, the first in 13 years, which features 13 songs. 

“It used to be you do a record, tour for a year, get back, take a couple months off, then went into the studio to record,” Muir said. “In 2001 we got back, went into the studio and recorded, and were like, ‘Why are we putting a record out? Is this purpose or habit?’”

Couple that with two back surgeries and Muir had to give it a rest—unwilling to fully give up Suicidal Tendencies but physically incapable of doing it the way he wanted to. 

When his health returned and word got out that they’d done a few shows, Muir and Suicidal Tendencies began their slow wade back into busier scheduling.  They started accruing material for their next studio project, which turned into “13,” released last month.

 “Whether [making a timeless record] is possible or not, I don’t know, but for us that is more important than doing a genre-saturated album,” Muir said.  “It’s like a cupcake with a lot of icing: It tastes good, but you’re not going to live off it.  You’re going to pay for it eventually.”

“13” brings the same raucous, rebellious feel necessary for thrashy punk-metal to be successful. 

Black Sabbath undertones, party choruses befitting punk anthems and stick-breaking drumming quickly shift songs into high gear.  Top it off with guitars that wail in far from fuzzy ways: piercing, slicing and climbing their way through songs like an intrepid Sherpa in the Himalayas. 

Muir clearly hasn’t lost the intensity that gave the bandana wearing, muscled man his initial reputation as one to be reckoned with. 

But his humor and ‘take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt’ mentality are what makes the man behind “Cyco” oddly endearing. 

“People were listening to [our music] for what they thought it was going to be rather than what it was,” Muir said.  “You know, if you’re expecting to eat pizza and you go to a Thai restaurant and there’s no pizza, some people will be disappointed.   But other people will be like ‘Wow, that smells good, this is a chance to try something.’”