Suicidal Tendencies Are Still Cyco Punk and Loving It

Suicidal Tendencies‘ discography gets confusing very quickly. Our own Greg Pratt wrote about that here, if you’d like to dig in deeper, but their new album Still Cyco Punk After All These Years (a play on a different re-recorded album) will do just fine as an example. Originally recorded as a Cyco Miko—one of frontman Mike Muir’s side projects—album called  Lost My Brain! (Once Again), Muir and his bandmates in Suicidal Tendencies decided to give the album, which is now 23 years old, a new coat of paint, ST style.

To understand why the legendary thrash punks went this route for their latest full-length and what’s up with their Converse collab, Decibel hopped on the phone with longtime guitarist Dean Pleasants. The interview, edited for length and clarity, can be read below. Still Cyco Punk is out now.

The new album Still Cyco Punk After All These Years is a rerecording of a Cyco Miko album from 1995?
It sure is. It’s a rerecord, but with a new twist on it and it’s raging, it’s crazy, it’s psycho punk. It’s with the new lineup, me, Mike, Dave [Lombardo, ex-Slayer] and Ra [Díaz, bass]. Dave Lombardo really puts that thing on it, raging crossover thrash, you know he’s such a great drummer.

Mike changed up some of the lyrics and made it more how he feels right now. I really, really dig it.

So it’s more of a reimagining than a straight rerecording.
Some of the fans know, some don’t, Mike had Cyco Miko, Infectious Grooves, Suicidal, so we have all these different things to say and different ways of conveying ourselves musically. Lots to pull from.

Where did the idea to reinvent this Cyco Miko album come from? That album is 23 years old now, so where did the idea to pull that one out of the archives come from?
Mike had been talking about it before; we’d been talking about doing a punk record again because we really enjoyed doing Freedumb. That was the first Suicidal Record I played on, it really kinda set me up as “now you’re in Suicidal, this is Dean’s mark, I helped write songs with Mike…”

I had toured with Cyco Miko and said “Oh, I love those songs” and Mike had mentioned them too and he said “We should just do a straight punk rock record. There’s a lot of anniversaries of records, but this one is really cool.

Does it feel different since you’re putting a different spin on a record, rather than writing something from scratch? Is there more pressure to keep it a certain way or do you not feel that?
I don’t really think too much. Mike and all of us in the studio, it’s really great because the reason we’re all there is because Mike loves what everybody does. He wants each person to shine at what they do, so he does push you to get the best out of you which is great.

We all have this chemistry, and like I said, in the studio Mike always wants everybody to do their best so he challenges you but on your terms.

To go along with the release of the album, Suicidal Tendencies is collaborating with Converse for both shoes and a clothing line.
It went really well. I got my converse at home and I love them. The response was amazing on the first day. Everything was almost sold out.

Did Suicidal Tendencies have a lot of say in what the shoes and what that apparel would look like?
Mike showed us the direction it was going, but I think it was more with him. We had did one a long time ago with Vans, with Converse it was more… it was cool for me because I actually wore Converse as a kid.

When I was a kid, I used to cut grass to make money to buy Chuck Taylors. In the seventh grade, my mom was like “You want some Converse? Go cut some grass or wash somebody’s car, save some money.” And whatever school I went to, I’d buy the colors of my school and I’d double lace them with the white or the red, and my high school was green and orange, so I had orange and green laces in my Converse. Getting them now, I feel like a kid.