I am a huge Suicidal Tendencies fan. So, let it be clear that nothing I’m about to say is meant to disparage the band, but it still needs to be said: ST are a very hard band to love sometimes. Mainly because every time a new album has come out in the past 15 years or so I’ve had to pull up various websites, cross-reference the spreadsheets I’ve been painstakingly working on, and consult several friends to try to figure out what exactly is happening on the album in question. Re-recordings of old ST songs? Re-recordings of songs of bands related to ST? Is it even an ST album? Sometimes the answers just leave me more confused.
Luckily, the band always provides a great soundtrack—be it straight-up punk or epic thrash—to my head-scratching and inevitable tears of confusion. They’ve done it again with their new record, Still Cyco Punk After All These Years, which is a re-recording of… well, we’ll get to that shortly.
Here are five times Suicidal Tendencies were a bunch of suicyco muthafuckas who probably actually really enjoyed doing weird, confusing things that threw everyone for a loop.
The chaos started early: in 1989, the band put out the excellent Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit… Déjà Vu album, and it was presented to the buying public as a collection of two previously released EPs. But it’s not: neither Controlled nor Feel Like Shit exist as standalone releases (Wikipedia calls them “fictional” EPs, which I like, although it does nothing for my stress levels). To confuse matters further, this nine-song album contains four covers of No Mercy songs (guitarist Mike Clark’s pre-ST band) and a cover of a Los Cycos song (one of vocalist Mike Muir’s side bands). There are also two versions of the almost-title-track of the band’s previous album, How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today, on this album. I have no idea what it all adds up to, but Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit… Déjà Vu still rules.
Controlled hinted at the confusion to come, but the band didn’t fully start their trolling campaign of chaos until 1997’s Friends & Family, Volume 1. This album was a stunner when it dropped, it being a collection of bands related to ST in some way, a concept for a release that was indeed quite novel. So we’ve got ST, Infectious Grooves, Cyco Miko, The Funeral Party (no idea), Creeper (featuring Clark) and Musical Heroin (no idea). But don’t sweat it if you missed this one: ST re-recorded two songs here for their next album, Freedumb, and the Cyco Miko song “Big Fat Baby” is a re-recording of the title track from Cyco Miko’s 1995 release Lost My Brain (Once Again), which Suicidal Tendencies recently re-recorded most of as their new album. Simple. Oh, and there’s also Friends & Family, Volume 2, from 2001, featuring ST, Infectious Grooves, Jeremiah Weed and the Bad Seed (no idea), No Mercy Fool! (presumably, No Mercy), Missile Girl Scoot (no idea), Zen Vodou (look, I’ve been busy, I haven’t had time to figure all this stuff out), Creeper and The Funeral Party. My Head also have a couple songs here; the band had an Excel connection and also had a song on Infectious Groove’s 2000 EP Pneumonia, which came with their Borracho album and consisted of five bands who aren’t Infectious Grooves but who are ST-related. Right.
In 2010, ST released one of many albums that contain slashes, exclamation points, and ellipses in its title, No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family, which consisted of re-recordings of songs from their second album, Join the Army, and re-recordings of more No Mercy songs, some of which had been previously released on the 2008 compilation album, Year of the Cycos. Speaking of which….
Right, Year of the Cycos. This comp pulls together songs from a bunch of Muir projects, including ST, Infectious Grooves, No Mercy, and Cyco Miko. Some of them are original recordings and some, because why the hell not, are re-recordings. That actually sounds pretty damn simple compared to some of the ground we’ve covered so far. (Shout out to the 2011 Cyco Miko album The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour, Part One, which consisted of live versions of previously unreleased ST, Infectious Grooves and Cyco Miko songs.)
Which brings us to today: the band just released Still Cyco Punk After All These Years, an album that continues the confusion well: it’s a re-recording of almost an entire Cyco Miko album. Yup, almost: on this release, ST tackles most of Cyco Miko’s aforementioned 1995 release Lost My Brain (Once Again). But not all of it. Mike Muir, may you never stop the madness.