Mike Muir releases the damn near schizophrenic funk-folk-metal-punk hodgepodge The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour under the Cyco Miko moniker today, and to mark the occasion Decibel conducted a wide-ranging interview with the iconic Suicidal Tendencies/Infectious Grooves frontman. Topics include the recent “Big 4” shows, his longtime bandmate Robert Trujillo’s insane success as an extra in the Some Kind of Monster documentary, fatherhood, his upbringing and the Suicidal legacy, the roots of “Institutionalized,” the modern therapeutic culture versus his personal rantology, the thrash metal revival, and his old friends the PMRC, the Secret Service, and skull-cracking riot police. Along the way you’ll get a taste of the new record, some classic tracks, and a dissection of his borderline flamenco cover of Lights, Camera, Revolution‘s “Alone.”
Mike Muir Interview by shawnmacomber
After Jon Huntsman made an awkward Nirvana reference during a recent Republican debate, Reason magazine’s Damon Root suggested a new litmus test for winnowing out candidates. Listen above or download to your favorite portable device, and see if you believe that’s a viable alternative to the status quo.
A few tiny excerpts are posted below and after the jump to whet the appetite….
On his lack of a Big 4-esque payday:
If someone said you have to sell a million records or we’re going to kill your little brother, these aren’t the records we would make, you know what I mean? It’s not like the five-foot tall guy that can’t slam dunk saying it’s stupid. It’s just not really what I want to do.
On Sucidal’s battles with the PMRC:
In any war it’s the behind the scenes things that people never know about, that never get discussed that end up being the most effective. [The PMRC] called up CBS at the time and the head of sales got all scared. I was like, ‘Half the stores don’t carry our record anyhow. They can’t double not carry it because it says Feel Like Shit Déjà Vu, you know? But I do know this, when the PMRC got on TV telling people not to buy 2 Live Crew they sold millions of records. You know what? I’m different than Luther Campbell. I’ll get on TV and I’ll make sense. I know how to communicate so people in the Midwest will go, ‘You know what? I may not like the name of that band. I may not like the music. But that boy makes sense.’ They want to have a victim they’re going up against the wrong person. But the reality is I don’t want to sell records because some conservative person told them ‘Don’t buy this’ and be like cigarettes and alcohol with the kid outside a store trying to get people to buy it for them…I want people to buy our records for the same reason we bought the records we liked—because we heard it and we’re like, ‘Wow this is cool. This is better than other stuff.’ So they basically backed down and three years later our record went gold. But I know it went gold for the right reason. I have no doubt if we went out there and did a press release, ‘Oh PMRC is down on us, blah, blah, blah’ If we did all that stuff we would’ve sold millions right then. But that’s not the way it should be done and nothing I want to be a part of.
The “glory days” that never were:
A lot of my friends, we joke about the good old days, and I go, “Dude you were miserable then, you’re just more miserable now.” When you say good old days, you mean the less miserable days because you were younger then and didn’t have to pay bills…
…Years back we’d get a chuckle when younger people talk about, “There’s no freedom!” We’re like, “Dude, what are you talking about? It is so much easier now.” The only difference is there’s cameras around everywhere so you have to be careful about that stuff…
…It’s crazy. We used to be at punk rock shows and the riot police’d just be cracking heads…Back then it’d happen three times a week sometimes. People would sit there and if you said something they’d go, “Well look at you. You deserved it.” Now moms take their kids to get their haircut and put color in it for the first day of elementary school. Times have changed.
On hindsight being 20/20, especially for music critics:
Even with Suicidal, every record we did we took a whole bunch of flack because it wasn’t what our previous record was. Right to our very first one, where the punk magazines said it sucked, it was metal and the metal ones said it sucked it was punk. No one really accepted it. We didn’t really care. We went out and did our own thing. The second one we did, Join the Army, all the punk magazines that said the first one sucked [turned around and] said the first one was a classic and we’d turned our back on it…I think a lot of times people listen to things thinking of what they expect it to be or want it to be and there’s so many bands that basically keep doing the same thing over and over that its like putting icing on everything, you know what I mean? It has icing and sprinkles, that’s what kids are going to pick at a party or picnic. We’ve never really been worried about the façade or appearance. We’re more worried about the substance. I used to always say a great record should be like a crazy ass rollercoaster ride — instead of just going up and down and fast it does all these little turns and things you’re not expecting. It should be something that’s challenging and when you first hear it you shouldn’t be able to sing along with it in four seconds.
On those famous rants:
I don’t think they’re rants. I think they all make absolute perfect sense. There’s a lot of ways to go about it. Some people like to use nice little words, get a little poetry…This is just the way we talk to people where I’m from and that’s the way that I am. I’m not going to speak a different language for other people.
On what scares a Suicidal Maniac:
People are just too scared — too scared to stand up for themselves. And that’s scary all in itself.