Bryan Reesman of GRAMMY.com recently conducted an interview with vocalist Mike Muir of the Venice Beach, California thrash/punk band SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
GRAMMY.com: You recently turned 50 and are still roaring withSUICIDAL TENDENCIES. How do you stay in touch with the angry young man inside after all these years?
Mike: I see what happened to a lot of friends that I grew up with. My dad always [told me not to] get caught in other people’s definitions. People use definitions of success or happiness but it’s their definition and doesn’t apply to you. The only people who try to fit in are the ones [who] can’t stand out. There are too many people who are too scared in life and give too much power to fear. We make fear this unwavering thing, rather than use it for what it is, which is to [prepare you] for a situation so you go about it in the best and smartest way. Some people just talk about how hard things are. My dad said you see the things that are fucked up and you have a responsibility to try to do something about it.
GRAMMY.com: Why release a new album now?
Mike: We’ve been touring at least a couple of months [per year] for the last six years, and among other things, I had a couple of back surgeries. We didn’t want to put out a record afterwards and make it look like we were throwing out our last baseball, the athlete going for the last hurrah before he falls apart. We wanted to get out there and gain a little new ground. Our [fan] base is pretty strong. Obviously, a record helps out a lot, and on this tour we’re seeing a lot of people excited to come, not to be nostalgic but as more of a resurgence. We’ve got a lot of families coming. A lot of people saying that their first show they saw was 20 years ago, and they’re bringing their kids there for their first show. We never used to hear that before. At our first show in San Francisco, this girl came up and asked us to sign something for her mom. Then she said, “I love you too, but my mom’s loved you longer!” We were all laughing.
GRAMMY.com: After spending so much time in this band, what are the biggest life lessons that you’ve learned?
Mike: Back when we started, my dad said a lot of times music is probably one of the most misused things, next to drugs. A lot of people use music as an escape from their life. The way you use it effectively is if it motivates you to live a better life. A lot of people nowadays get lost in reality TV [shows], where everybody thinks there are cameras on them all the time and live their lives that way, and they do things not for themselves but for how it will look. If the angle’s not right, they’ll have to do it again. Everything is so staged now, and I think that’s unfortunate. We try not to be staged [or do] it for [a] reaction. I think we’re effective because people know we’re doing it [because we believe in it], and I think that’s a lot more important.
Read the entire interview from GRAMMY.com.