Suicidal Tendencies - Mike Muir

Sometimes conducting interviews can be a tedious task, simply because the interviewee responds in an expected way saying all the things the fans would like to hear. On the other side of the spectrum, there are interviews that turn into the most interesting discussions where you get a clear view of how the musician you love thinks and then you appreciate them even more. This is exactly the talk with Mike Muir went down and made the 15 minutes METAL KAOZ spent with him feel like a drop in the ocean; once again, it was a pleasure and an honor talking to him. Check what we managed to squeeze in the time we had.

Suicidal Tendencies - Mike Muir

Hello Mike, it’s a real pleasure to have you back in METAL KAOZ! First of all, when did you decide to write the new album? Because the last time we spoke, you didn’t feel so strong about going back to the studio.
Basically lot of things were happening; I gave Dean a call and I said if we were going to consider doing a record, like “we gonna do it now or just put it off”. And I said “if we are, then I’ll put time in rehearsal or come in and bring in a couple of people and see how it goes” and if it goes ok, we’ll come back the next day keep writing, and then if we’re happy with that, then we’ll go and record with the drums in the studio, and if we’re happy with that, we continue going but if in any point I’m not, we’re gonna shut it down.

Oh my, that’s stressful, man!
Yeah, and I said “so, with that in mind (laughs), do you wanna do it? Take your time and think about it. There are no guarantees and probably it won’t happen.” And Dean said “let’s give it a shot”. So we called Ra, made a couple of things while in there, on a Friday went in, went well, went in the next day, came back the next week and everything was really good, so then we said “ok let’s go on and try to record” and recorded and that went well and it was in between touring and everything. So, we kind of continued on and really embraced the process and really enjoyed it and kind of everything that we thought would be a road block, we drove right through it and everything worked out fine. So there was a point we I said “you know what? This is something that we felt really strongly about, really happy about".

And it came out fantastic, man!

Did you all write the music? Because in the album credits it’s your name only.
Dean did write one of the songs. I went in there and I told Dean - it’s funny because if we’ll talk about it’s out of context, we’re talking about it the other day, people are getting tired, I don’t pick a guitar and let’s some writing songs. When I was living in Australia my family there, my wife’s dad said “oh, we should give him a guitar so he doesn’t feel lonely” and I was like “no, don’t give me a guitar because that’s how I’m gonna feel homesick and stuff” (laughs). So, it was one day basically just went there and I think with everything going on I feel it was a good time and probably the only time but we actually recorded more songs and we got to a point when we got some songs and stuff doing it, but it’s easier for me to write the music because I don’t write lyrics. People are writing things in a piece of paper and say here is a song, and I’m like “no, that’s a poem or just a writing, but not a song”, and some people will go like “I’m writing and I wanna put this title and make it fit to the music” but I’ve never done that.

So, you write the lyrics afterwards?
Yeah, that stuff in music when I play the guitar kind of like...

[interrupting] Because reading to your lyrics seems to me that there are stuff that you want to get out from your system.
That goes back to the first record. You know, you have “Institutionalized”, you can’t put those lyrics, like “I Saw Your Mommy”, and wanna work. And “Subliminal” won’t work with “Won’t Fall In Love Today”. There is a feeling and stuff. So when you write with the guitar, you can key in a little bit, put that together so kind of like start singing and stuff. So writing is the very last process I used to do when I was younger - just do the riffs and blast it and sing along and do like that so.

It’s so strange, because to me, what I love in SUICIDAL is the lyrics, man. The lyrics really speak to me. And I was really amazed about songs like “Clap Like Ozzy”; at first, I was thinking “ok, it’s messed up, Mike is telling a joke”, and when I actually read the lyrics, I was like “no, he’s saying something like live your life”.
The thing is even like going back to the first record, like in “I Saw Your Mommy”, people will always say or judge something that half the time don’t know what they’re judging. They were like “that’s hysterical, you should be a comedian” or “you should be locked up”, but those are actually everything that was taken from the news and from the LA Times, things that happened. And one time my dad was walking a couple of blocks from our house and there was a lady just in the street and she was dead, just laying there. So everything happening at that time, a lot of matricide / patricide people that killed their parents and stuff, so it was all over in the news – I just put it in a different story. So when the news says it, it’s ok, but I say it, I’m sick. So, a lot of times when people are judging you they’re actually judging themselves. It always happens, like “that’s funny, that’s dumb, this and that”. But the whole purpose of the song [“Clap Like Ozzy”] is, to me, the perfect way to start up because it’s kind of coming to the point where, you know, when I was a kid, the first music that really made an impression on me was BLACK SABBATH. And one of the first when I sat in front of our old VHS, my brother showing me was an ‘Ozzfest’ festival in USA and it was like all these huge bands. They had BLACK SABBATH and all those other bands when they were posing and all the theatrics and he was just like [claps hands], and you’re sitting there go “this is just a fucking normal dude that’s doing his thing”. And that’s when I got into Punk Rock; to me was like SEX PISTOLS, Johnny Lydon or Johnny Rotten, whatever you want to call him, he wasn’t saying “rip your clothes and be like that”, but he was saying: “it doesn’t matter how you’re dressed, just do your thing”. To me, it’s like why copy what someone else does? If Ozzy tried to be somebody else, he wouldn’t be in it, and it’s not just music, music is an example. It could be anything. People need to do their thing because if people that do things you appreciate, tried to be somebody else then you wouldn’t appreciate them. And the stuff that you don’t appreciate is all the people that what I call generic regurgitated, where all sounds the same - you don’t know who it is. You hear Ozzy, you know who it is.

And especially nowadays where we have the internet and that Fake-book that you’re talking about, in the lyrics again; I mean, everyone is trying to be one thing.
It’s a façade; you go to Universal Studios and you take the tour and see Paris and in the next block you’re seeing Ancient Rome and this and that, but if you go on the other side, there’s 2x4 holding these up. So, for movies, it looks great, serves a purpose, but for life, it doesn’t do anything. And that’s what a lot of people are; it’s for the reaction rather for the purpose. That’s more important is how the picture looks like and who likes it and who responds and who doesn’t and that really has nothing to do with anything. And still, with Ozzy, from being the little kid to “wow, we actually had him singing a song which I’d never would have thought it would happen” and thinking “wow, with INFECTIOUS GROOVES, we toured with them – it was the ‘No More Tours’ thing, when he’s supposed to be retired”, and as I said it at that time I thought he was old, but he’s a lot younger than I am right now. But you look around and people don’t have an understanding of life; people can’t define what life is. You can say medically your heart’s beating, this and that, but are you living? It’s like what my dad said: “you can hear and then you listen”, you hear things but when you listen, you take it in and it does things and stuff. To me, it was like you don’t have a choice. I was doing an interview and talking about the things going on in the studio came out before went on tour and stepped out of where we practice and then you hear “bam”, and I hear one car and then it was that big thing [clapping hands], and I was like “wow” and then I heard all the screaming and  commotion and I ran out there and there was a girl like 16 or something riding on a bike coming home fro school has gotten hit by a car heads split open and stuff and everybody’s trying to help, calling the paramedics, but it was like any other day, she’s in the hospital, I dunno how bad she was hurt, that will never know, but you never expect it to happen. There’s never a good time to have a flat tire or stuff like that. There’s never a good time for bad things to happen but they happen. It’s life, you can’t control it and you can’t try to act like you can control it. We magnify things to the bad where we’re sitting at, but don’t know how bad it is. The irony is that a lot of people that you’re running into that have had really, really bad things happening. They have no control over cancer and things like that but they have such a good attitude.

That’s crazy, right? To me, that’s crazy.
I met people on this tour like three - two of them had brain cancer and someone else had leukemia. And he had such a different attitude and atmosphere about them. And then you meet someone else who’s like “fuck, man, life - fuck Donald Trump and fucking Hillary Clinton and this and that, and we don’t have the ability to learn. We have the ability to judge but not the ability to go beyond that stuff. My dad always says when things are bad, there’s an opportunity there. When something’s getting burned out, you have a clean slate.

Sure, but at that moment, that’s bad.
Yeah, I mean Dean’s sister got killed in a fire. But where there is an opportunity to learn stuff like with the whole politics and stuff. I hate both of them, it’s just amazing that’s that. But to me the whole point is that some people are gonna use that as an excuse. And you’re gonna give up the next 4 years, Hillary’s gonna win, but you know you gonna give up the next 4 years to be better. I say “fuck them”, I’m not giving them any vow. My dad said, and that’s a long time ago, when you get up in the morning, has no difference who’s the president, who’s this and that - what you’ll do with your time has nothing to do with it. And if you don’t like someone, you should be the complete opposite. Make them irrelevant, you know.

You know, you could make an excuse and go “oh, look at this country”. But it’s amazing how we’ll see the stuff that like Hillary and even with Trump and be like “can’t you believe he did that?” I said a long time ago, this is the greatest opportunity, my oldest son is 12 and we sat there and I was like “see? Anything you do will come back”. Think about what you do, don’t do little stupid things. And in the same sense, people talk “oh man, Trump did this and that was a long time ago”, but didn’t he do the same fucking thing? It’s so easy to see the other people and don’t sit there and go like “that’s fucking wrong”. The whole situation is just so sad and you know that someone is gonna react, on the left, they’re gonna react a certain way and if they’re on the right, and if it’s the other way, they’re gonna make excuses for something that Hillary did which is fucking crazy. If she was a republican, they won’t be talking shit. Can you believe this shit? Or what happened with the Clinton foundation? It’s unbelievable! Fucking criminally crooked.

What pisses me off is that the one is pointing to the bad things of the other. No one is saying something positive.

But anyway, we don’t have much time, even if we’d love to sit and talk to you all the evening. So, after this tour, you’ll go to Europe, and then?
We’ll go to Mexico first. We’ll go there to do a festival and then do six shows and then go back to Australia just for the family for Christmas and New Year’s and then we’ll go to Europe in January, the ‘Persistence’ tour, headlining that which will go back to February then come back to the States. So this one [US tour] happened because we had the MEGADETH thing so that one will be set up a little bit better, headlining and stuff, so excited about that. That’s for March. Then end of March / April, we’ll go to France for like three weeks and then in May we’ll go back and so some festivals for the States and then in June, go back to Europe. Then we’ll see how it goes and stuff.

Awesome! Do you have in mind to work on another album?
No. We recorded extra songs and we have some other songs originally we’re talking about putting out an EP when the inauguration happens. Before, it’s basically I don’t like to get political – people say I’m political, but I say I’m not political but it’s a little more be perceived that way. Basically it’s me, being anti-politics - I think that we have a tendency to create demons. When you’re a little kid there is the boogie man, you know. No one’s there, you do this yourself. But you’re getting older and you use your intelligence and be like “oh man, there is this and that” and you seat and create this bubble that you know, life is not fair, and so you create this life which is completely ridiculous, so it’s easy to put someone else’s face on the fear that you have. And it’s really sad. You look around and I was talking about that in America we used to have “Married With Children” and I sit there and it’s like I go “this is a great learning thing; everybody laughs at Al Bundy watching him talking about 25 years ago when he was the star quarterback in High School that was his best time in life. Don’t be a fucking Al Bundy; it’s never too late to go and try to find your dream again.

And that’s the best way to end the interview, Mike.
Yeah. Thank you, guys.