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Mike Muir Suicidal Tendencies - Interview
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Suicidal Tendencies

Suicidal Tendencies has been a band that I have listened to since I was kid, one of the very first punk/thrash bands I ever got into. Speaking to Mike Muir was a dream come true much in the same way that having drumming legend Dave Lombardo in the band has been for Mike. During our conversation I found that we had much in common as far as politics were concerned which can be a very touchy subject for some people and their latest album "World Gone Mad" touches on the craziness of the world as we know it right now. We talk new album, politics and more just as Mike was getting off stage in Detroit while on tour with Megadeth.



Andrew: So I hear you just got off the stage from a show tonight.

Mike: Yeah we are in beautiful Detroit, Michigan.

Andrew: How was the show?

Mike: Oh the show was great! The whole tour has been a lot of fun, it's actually very nice to be able to say that. Basically since we've been doing the new record and made some changes in the band it's basically been the first time ever I've had fun in the band so things have been really good. We're finishing up some dates right now with Megadeth and then we do our own headlining shows on the way back so it's all good.

Andrew: How are the Megadeth guys and the rest of the bands treating you? It's a stellar lineup that you guys are on.

Mike: Yeah Dave (Mustaine) is always very nice. We had one situation a long time ago but I've been friends with them the last 24 years or so, we toured with them in 1992, we did the Clash Of The Titans in Europe and there was some situation but we toured with them in 1992 in the States and I think Dave tries really hard to be a good person and I appreciate the way that he is. I think that sometimes he can be funny but he's actually got a good heart, he does care so it's good.

Andrew: OK cool! Well you're on tour to promote your new album "World Gone Mad", the title sounds like a reflection of how the world is at the moment. Is that a fair assumption or is it referencing something else?

Mike: No it's definitely talking about the world, I think it's the whole world. It's not breaking down into geographical things, different places with different things going on and it's not just about certain situations where a lot of people name 10 things that's crazy in the world and people go this, this and that. I think one of the saddest things is nobody can see what's going on amongst themselves and we kinda get immune to all the other things and we're able to see in general problems that other people do really well but we don't see how we contribute to certain things. And that's called honesty and I think most people don't want to be honest, they want excuses and they want to say that's fucked up and that's fucked up so I don't need to do anything and with Suicidal [Tendencies], we have a different approach. It's because so many people are accepting things are fucked up, that's why it's really fucked up. So to put it in your face so that you know what? You do something about it because you can't really ignore this shit anymore.

Andrew: On your travels around the world and going to different countries, what is the one thing that everyone seems to have that one connecting line to?

Mike: Well I think unfortunately, taking a leap from that, the elections in America which are kind of sadly a joke and I think a lot of times that takes a lot of pressure off of people in other places around the world because they look at America and like to kick America and that type of thing and 'Look what's going on here, it's pathetic'. And it takes a lot of pressure off of people I think and it diverts people from looking at what's going on in their countries and yeah America is fucked up the way the situation is but I've been all around the world and even when I lived in Australia, I mean it's weird because I wasn't born there but I felt I loved Australia more than a lot of people that live there! You know, the stereotypical Australian, 'Oh I love Australia', this and that but there's certain things where I go, 'Wow this ain't right' [laughs]. I think they have the ability to overlook things, Australia has the ability to be a very powerful country. Not in the sense of war and this and that but to really as far as having that much space and resources to influence the world to show them how it can be done. The bigger you get I think it gets more difficult and I saw one by one politicians sell themselves out and it was sad while I was there because I do love the country. It happens everywhere, if it happens to Peter Garrett it can happen to anyone.

Andrew: It's interesting to hear your perspective on Australia because I feel the same way as well and being that I've lived here all my life, I have tried to discuss with other people and they don't quite see it the same way so it's interesting you brought it up in that respect.

Mike: Well I think one of the things that people don't realize is they get away with things they won't be able to if there was more people there but you only get away with things so long before it comes back. I think generally Australians are really good people who have good morals but there are certain people in power that were going to do things that were very positive and then they sold out for the Chinese money as far as I'm concerned and you have no moral right to do things. I was just talking to someone that said everybody needs to believe in something and I think someone that is a true leader, someone that makes people believe in themselves and not get them to follow behind but to really put a focus on and put a positive light on a direction in giving people the kind of leeway and the go and stuff. But I understand that politics to me is not about progress, it's about maintaining power. I have this argument many times with my father in- law, I don't believe in mandatory voting. I really don't and what good does it do, you get fined if you don't vote so you just vote for somebody. You should vote for somebody because it's somebody you actually believe in, because they actually say something that makes sense. The problem is around the world, most people vote for someone not because they believe in it, because they think oh they're going to get you this and that like Bernie Sanders. You have free school, you have free this and that, people are like, 'I like him!' and I'm like, 'Why? Because he said nothing and you're going to have this for free? How does that happen?' [laughs] You know what I mean? It's like a credit card, OK somebody pays! It's when someone has an actual plan that makes sense further down the line that's really important, that's called somebody just catering, pandering. Politics is all about staying in power, it's not about making change. It's not about what's in the best interest for people and you know, if you can't breathe and you don't have water and you can't drink and stuff like that, somethings wrong. And that's over simplified I know but I think politics doesn't motivate anyone to be a better person, it doesn't challenge you to be the best person you can be. It doesn't challenge you to be creative, it's basically trying to control you and say that you don't matter. And once again it's over simplified again when you get into a 5 minute conversation, it's easy to attack what I say but if we had an hour or something it would be really easy to express in that amount of time. But I think in general I don't like where politics comes from and I very rarely have ever seen anybody that I actually sit there and go, 'You know what? This is a good person'. They put on the suit and I don't want to bash Peter Garrett but I saw when I was watching a TV show and he got up there and he played the party line and I said, 'You know what? If Peter Garrett was young and he wasn't in that a suit, he would call bullshit'. And it's really unfortunate that people get into power and then they play the line. But like I said I love Australia, our family is going back there for Christmas and New Year and it's really important what happens. My kids were born there so I care about it a lot.

Andrew: I just want to go back to what you said about mandatory voting because I have been a huge advocate on the opposition of mandatory voting and I absolutely hate it and think it's disgusting the way this country forces it's own citizens to vote. It's one of the few countries that do it and I still can't believe that people in this very country actually support it!

Mike: Oh no they force you to do that in China, they force you to do that in Iran! Communist and Fascist and states like that.

Andrew: Yeah Exactly!

Mike: I think the reality of it in my point of argument is it enables the possibility that if so many people don't vote, it makes an opportunity for somebody to come out there and actually has some common sense, has a chance to win because you know what? I've never registered, I said if I will vote...I'm not going to vote for a party, I'm going to vote for a person. Someone I believe in and if I voted for them then I will hold them accountable and I have not heard anybody say anything in all my years I've been able to vote where I go, 'You know what? I believe in this person'. Believing in a person means that I think they are going to do what they think is right, they're not going to make a decision based on who is giving them campaign donations, what the majority of people want but morally what they think is the best thing to do for people in the short and long term and they will research and get a complete spectrum of opinion so they can have the intelligence to formulate a right decision. And also where there is problems to hire people to try and deal with situations and go, 'How do we take care of this?', and make sure they're solutions that are actual solutions and not the old joke in America and put some duct tape on it. So I think that's why it's important people shouldn't have to vote, it's sad when people go, 'Hey just vote for me'. To me it's wrong and I know a lot of people don't agree with that so we can agree to disagree.

Andrew: Yeah it is one of those things! Politics is one of those subjects that people get very divided on, it's crazy how people can be very passionate about it.

Mike: Usually they're divided because they go on party lines and they will not deviate and they make excuses, if they're party is in power it's like, 'Well yeah it's because!', and if they're party is not in power then it sucks because of the other party and I don't believe in that. No matter where you are in the world, no matter what system you have, there's a lot of things that are just common sense that don't get done because the one party doesn't want it to happen while the other party is in power so they get credit for it and they won't get credit for it. So politics is like a tug of war, noone is pulling for the common good of the people, they're using the people as pawns. Noone wants to get credit for anything, they want to make sure that other people don't get any credit so it's really sad. And one day when I'm in Australia and I run for office, I'm going to piss people off [laughs].

Andrew: [laughs] I would love to see that happen, I really would! Just getting away from the politics side of things, I want to ask you about working with Dave Lombardo, the legendary drummer from Slayer and many other acts. What was it like working with such a great drummer like that?

Mike: Well first of all I have to say that obviously I'm a huge Dave Lombardo fan and I've always known him but it's always been cordial or whatever. we've toured with him in Europe on the Clash Of The Titans in 1990 and seen him at several festivals and he's always very pleasant but it was a very difficult thing for me to call him up and ask if he would play in the band because I have so much respect for him and I didnt want to put him on the spot. I felt like I was a 12 year old kid asking a girl who sat next to me to go to the dance like, 'Just together but not together-together!'

Andrew: [laughs]

Mike: So I was pacing around the room, I was in Germany and he was about to get on a boat to play the 70,000 tons of metal and I was kind of like, 'Dave I don't want to offend you, I've known you a long time. It's coming from a good place, I just need a drummer! I understand if it isn't and I don't want to offend you but would you ever think of playing with Suicidal?', and he says, 'Fuck yeah!' And I was like, 'Alright then!' So I was quite relieved and the thing about Dave is he is literally a legend, he has influenced countless people and so many people say, 'Oh dude I started drumming because of Dave' and that type of situation but he has a really incredible work ethic and he sits there and goes, 'Any night there's a lot of people that come to see him play, love the way he plays and, I don't want to disappoint them.' He gets up there and he bashes the drums and one of things I've learned playing with him when we rehearse and play different things, he is an amazing drummer period. We'll play different styles of music and some people can only do 1 thing, they're a 1 trick pony, Dave is an amazing drummer and a lot of times and a lot of times we'll go, 'Man people don't know you can do that'. And he goes, 'Dude I'm Cuban man!' So it's been a lot of fun and [he's a really great person so I say it literally, every night I got a smile on my face and we'll be playing and there will be a couple of times he will just do something and I'll be like, 'Wow that's just gnarly'. So there's no other person I would rather be up on stage with so I feel very lucky and everybody in the band does and like I said, he's a great person and you would think someone that's been around as long would be a little bit jaded or a little egotistical or this and that but Dave is a humble guy and is really fun to be with.

Andrew: Very cool! I'm hoping that we get to see Dave with you guys down in Australia for a tour, is that something that is in the works maybe for next year?

Mike: Yeah definitely! We are trying to find a spot, I know I'm going there in December with the family and stuff for Christmas and New Year's so I'm already talking to a bunch of people but our schedule is pretty full up because after we get back from Australia then we go to headline the Persistence tour in Europe in January to February and then we go straight out to the States February to March and then we go to France for 3 weeks in April and then we're back in May in the States and then we're back in Europe in the summer time. So we're trying to fit a slot in there, I would like to play a lot of shows there so it might be one where we can only go an do a few shows fitted in and then hopefully come back. I've talked about it a lot, I want to go in and do a crazy Australia tour where we get the caravans and all that, the Winnebago's and all that and get a bunch of skaters and surfers and just drive around and go do Darwin and all the little places and crazy places and obscure little bars and do that for a while. I think that would be a lot of fun and have a good couple of camera crews and just have an amazing time.

Andrew: Absolutely, look forward to it! We saw you the last couple of times and the shows were just absolutely crazy so we definitely want to have you back. So anyway thanks for your time today, really appreciate it and hopefully we will see you next year!

Mike: No worries! Yeah definitely, thank you man, really appreciate it! Have a great day!

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on October 10th 2016