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Suicidal Tendencies Interview
TIS= The Indie Spiritualist
DP= Dean Pleasants
EM= Eric Moore
TIS: This is a really nostalgic tour you’ve put together here. You have the Cro-Mags, DRI, Underdog…all of who, along with yourselves, are hardcore legends! What’s the tour experience been like for you so far?
DP: It’s been really cool man. Sort of a blur, as tours usually are, but a lot of fun. We call the bus we’re on “the submarine”, we go underwater and we emerge at the gigs. Every day is a different crowd of people but its always fun. We’re playing stuff off the No Mercy record as well as Suicidal Army and other older stuff, so the crowds really enjoying it, and we are too. We’re really getting into our niche right now, which is usually what happens, and then tour is over. We’re all bonding and it’s just been a lot of fun.
TIS: Is it me, or do you guys tend to steer clear of touring with a lot of the newer “punk/hardcore” bands?
DP: Not really, we just do what works for us. We did some shows recently with Deftones.
EM: Yeah and we toured 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 just such a diverse lineup. We did a show with Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Kiss. It was crazy.
EM: Yeah, believe me, it’s diverse. Suicidal is very diverse.
TIS: Did you guys ever skate yourselves?
DP: Oh yeah, absolutely.
EM: Dean still skates. His board is right over there. I used to skate when I was skinny too. Like all the time. I fell and busted my lip and shit, but I’d always get right back up.
TIS: Haha, cool. 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 they first came out. That was before they were skating bowls and stuff. I’m skating a Pep board now with monster wheels and Indy trucks. I can show it to you.
TIS: Yeah that’d be awesome if you don’t mind.
DP: No, not at all!
EM: I always had the Wal-Mart boards man. I had the Wal-Mart board of life. I’d tell my mom I wanted the one that scooped on both sides and she’d be like, “No! You’re gonna get this $10 board, and you’re gonna like it”, and I’d be like, ok, fine, I’ll just ride some BMX bikes. Because when you’re a thug growing up, you’d just be stealing whatever you liked.
DP: So here’s my board. It’s definitely got a work out on this tour and is definitely a cruiser. The guys at Rip City (Santa Monica, CA) hooked this up for me. I told them I played in a band with Jim’s brother and they hooked it right up.
EM: Yeah, the only reason he’s skating a Pep board is cause Pep is our homeboy.
DP: Yeah. I really like to cruise, so on this thing, it’s like two kicks and you can go forever, and it’s fast. Before this board, I skated Dogtown’s and I also had a Jesse from Santa Monica Airlines.
TIS: Rad. So Sucidal, particularly Mike Muir has been noted as having a beef with Rage Against The Machine. In fact, he wrote a song called Do What I Tell You, which is a parody of the lyrics from Rage’s song Killing In The Name. Is this still an ongoing thing?
DP: Honestly, I don’t know too much about it. We actually just came from South America where we played with Rage.
EM: Yeah, we played with them. It was only 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 anyways.
DP: They put on a hell of a show. It was crazy. There were 50,000 people going nuts. I mean, we all put on a good show, but Rage PUT ON A GOOD SHOW.
EM: Yeah, Rage was killing it.
TIS: Cool. So is it safe to say you don’t play that song anymore, or at least didn’t then?
DP: We definitely didn’t play it there.
EM: It was really a beef between people, not bands. It wasn’t like we had to whoop their asses, or they had to come at us.
DP: It was a war of words, which Mike was involved in. What happened was the bands were on tour together, and someone was on the phone, and someone pushed someone, and it was really all Tom Foolery. Then they said something about Mike in an interview and the band being old or something funny. Mike asked us if we’d mind if he wrote a song about them. He didn’t really want to involve us. I wasn’t mad at those guys. So then he wrote Do What You Tell Me, I was like, ok, he really is mad at them.
So we were going to South America, where we’d been offered two festivals, one in Chile and the other in San Paulo. Rage’s manager was like, well I don’t know if they want you guys to come, but he asked them and it had been long forgotten. And the Brazilian people said they wanted Suicidal to come, so we went. We got there and saw Tom, and Zack, and said hi and everything was cool.
TIS: Right on. What’s the word on the new album? Is there a tentative release date?
DP: Well we wanted to release the No Mercy/Suicidal Army record to tour on because Mike had a vision of doing the records over and showing people a harder side of Suicidal. We usually play three or four of the songs in our set. As far as the new record, it’s really based on timing now because of the way the industry and distribution is. We really want to be out right now and rebaptize the people who were into us before, as well as show the newer generation of kids who we are before we put out a record. We don’t want to release something that isn’t going to be heard. That’s really important to all of us. When you put your heart and soul into something, you want it to be heard. And we’re going from this US tour onto Europe and South America etc.
TIS: Yeah my friend Randy was saying on the way up how much he liked the new recordings of the No Mercy stuff and what you guys did with it.
EM: Yeah man, that’s that new, hard and fast stuff.
DP: It’s a throwback to the way they recorded a long time ago. I was originally in Infectious Grooves, before Suicidal, and we were used to doing stuff a certain way, a lot of jamming and writing, but there was a formula to Suicidal that made it sound the way that it did. And we went back to that formula. Mike was doing the hard rhythms and I was doing the solos, and the drummer and bass player were doing their thing. It really makes for a different type of recording. And that’s what we did with No Mercy. When you listen to it, you can hear everybody doing what they do best.
TIS: You mentioned Infectious Grooves. You guys are playing your first U.S. show in 10 years on Nov 23rd. Can you talk a little about that?
EM: Yeah man, it’s going to be a big show. We’re playing at The House of Blues in Hollywood.
DP: Infectious was able to play in Chile with RATM and The Mars Volta, and we’d never played there before. We’ve done some touring in France, Europe and Australia though. Infectious’ first tour was opening for Ozzy.
TIS: Yeah I remember that. Would he come out and sing Therapy with you guys?
DP: Yeah, and actually, when he shot the video with us, he had a broken leg. We were in Chicago and I’ll 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/L.A. Sureno Venice 13 gang rumors? You can nod once for yes, and twice for no if you’d like.
EM: Hahaha, oh man.
DP: Haha, well there’s a lot of gangs that claim Suicidal but I myself am not a gang member.
EM: I wear red so…(laughter).
DP: We have a lot of people who are into the band that are also into other things that may not be savory. When we play in Ventura, we have Hell’s Angels at our shows all the time. We have a lot of 1% biker gangs that are into Suicidal. They never really cause trouble at the shows, but they’re there. When we play Ventura, the whole street is lined up with Hells Angels.
TIS: Sounds insane.
EM: It’s weird.
DP: Yeah, it’s crazy. So a lot of people like our music and for us, that’s an honor. There’s a lot of people in prison that like our music and they say it helps them through their day so that’s great. For us, it’s most important to touch somebody. If you can help someone through their day when they’re having a hard time, that means something. So as far as the gang thing, I don’t know. It’s crazy and people are definitely doing their thing.
TIS: Cool guys. Thanks for your time.
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