This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
With yet another run of shows set to wrap on Saturday, Suicidal Tendencies vocalist "Cyco" Mike Muir, who formed the crossover thrash band back in 1980, has become a bit philosophical.
"My deal with the record is, 'You know what? Let's just say that this might be the last one. You never know what's going to happen.' So I feel very comfortable if that's the final chapter, that's great," Muir said. "When you enjoy what you're doing, you wanna keep doing it, but I've got three kids, too. And everybody has things going on. The last few years, we've been gone a lot, to the point where my youngest kid, when I get up to go to the store, is like, 'Dada! Where you going?!' It's like, 'You can let go of my leg, I'm just going to get some milk. It's OK.' You gotta listen to your family, you know? That's really important. But so far, they're really supportive, and they know what I'm doing. They go to a lot of the shows and they see it firsthand. And so they know that Daddy wants to be at home, but there's a lot of people who appreciate what he's doing. And they like it too, so that's good."
So, perhaps, it was merely Muir's self-acknowledged fatalism about his place in the music world rearing its ugly head again.
Because, if anything, Suicidal's recent actions seem indicative of the band's continued existence into the future, even if there's an extended run to the store for milk in the imminent offing.
For one thing, after going 13 years without releasing any original material, S.T. broke the streak by issuing the album "13" in 2013, then followed up with "World Gone Mad" last year.
Then there is the matter of the new lineup. Having a new lineup is, itself, nothing new for Suicidal, whose list of past members is far longer than its discography. As for the current iteration, though, lead guitarist Dean Pleasants, who joined up in 1996, remains; two years of being a roadie for the group did not dissuade Jeff Pogan from agreeing to become their rhythm guitarist; and Ra Diaz emigrated from his native Chile to Mexico and then again to the States based on nothing more than a dream of one day playing bass for his all-time favorite group.
There's also some newbie on drums named Dave Lombardo, who previously played for some metal band named Slayer.
Ohhhhhh … that Dave Lombardo from that Slayer.
OK, that moves the needle, with Muir calling Lombardo's addition "literally … just a power-kick in the butt."
"Dave's a little different than me. I think every show might be the last one, not in a defeatist type of way, but I take that approach; I learned a long time ago there's no five-year plans. … But we take it tour by tour, and I think that's a good approach. Dave's kinda like, 'I'm gonna be playing drums 'til I'm 85.' That's how he lives his life," Muir added. "And it's different, but it's a similar kind of approach. I think that every show is very important. And his whole thing, as a truly legendary drummer, people are gonna see him play, and he wants to be there and blow people away. We've kinda intersected at a great point, where we're here to blow people away rather than be nostalgic."
For what it's worth, Muir has never been particularly interested in repeating the past, living up to labels, or following convention. Suicidal Tendencies' style is generally dubbed "crossover thrash," a mix of thrash metal and hardcore punk. "Well," the singer notes, "there was nothing called 'thrash' when we started. There was nothing called 'crossover' when we started. There was punk and metal, and both of 'em didn't like us!"
Given that, Muir ultimately decided "the best thing that happens is when people set their own trail."
"World Gone Mad" is proof that he practices what he preaches. Crossover thrash music is generally not known, after all, for featuring 7-plus-minute tracks (such as "Still Dying to Live"), or Van Halen-style guitar histrionics ("Happy Never After"), let alone taking gentle, acoustic turns ("This World").
"I think the band's incredible right now and that's why we're having fun. … Personally, I always try to move forward and try different things, and not push the boundaries just to get a reaction, but push the boundaries of what you like and try different things," Muir said. "I think that's something that, at the time, a lot of people don't appreciate and have a hard time grasping, but in the long run, it does [serve] you a lot better. That's probably the main reason why we're still here."
For however much longer that remains the case, anyway.
With Havok, Andrew Boss
When • Saturday, doors at 7 p.m.
Where • The Complex (Rockwell), 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $25 advance, $28 day of; Smith's Tix