Suicidal Tendencies "The Slam City Tour"

Suicidal Tendencies

Judging from their name, Suicidal Tendencies were never afraid of a little controversy. Formed in Venice, CA, during the early '80s, the group's leader from the beginning was outspoken vocalist Mike Muir. The outfit specialized in vicious hardcore early on -- building a huge following among skateboarders, lending a major hand in the creation of skatepunk -- before turning their focus eventually to thrash metal. Early on, the group (whose original lineup included Muir, guitarist Grant Estes, bassist Louiche Mayorga, and drummer Amery Smith) found it increasingly difficult to book shows, due to rumors of its members' affiliation with local gangs and consistent violence at their performances. The underground buzz regarding Suicidal Tendencies grew too loud for labels to ignore though, as the quartet signed on with the indie label Frontier; issuing Muir and company's classic self-titled debut in 1983. The album quickly became the best-selling hardcore album up to that point; its best-known track, "Institutionalized," was one of the first hardcore punk videos to receive substantial airplay on MTV, and was eventually used in the Emilio Estevez cult classic movie Repo Man, as well as in an episode for the hit TV show Miami Vice (for which the group made a cameo appearance).

Muir formed a new version of Suicidal Tendencies in the late '90s (with Clark being the only other familiar face), resulting in such further studio releases as 1999's Freedumb and 2000's Free Your Soul and Save My Mind. Muir and Trujillo joined forces once more for a fourth Infectious Grooves studio release in 2000, Mas Borracho; while another Cyco Miko release surfaced, Schizophrenic Born Again Problem Child, along with a follow-up up to their earlier compilation, Friends & Family, Vol. 2. Now the band will be back with their brand new album for 2009.......

Sick Of It All

Formed by brothers Lou and Pete Koller in the mid-'80s, Sick of It All became a seminal band in the New York City hardcore scene. While remaining true to their roots and without compromising their style, Sick of It All progressed from an indie band with a strong live following to a major-label act touring with the likes of Helmet and Rancid. Sick of It All remained a vital influence on the hardcore scene. They released Built to Last in early 1997 to critical acclaim and an expanding audience.

The brothers came up with the band's bluntly expressive name in their parents' basement in 1984. SOIA's original lineup -- with Lou on vocals, Pete on guitar, Rich Cipriano on bass, and Arman Majidi on drums -- released an initial self-titled EP in 1987 on the independent Revelation label. After playing N.Y.C. clubs like CBGB and building a strong local following, SOIA released, on the Combat label, their first album, Blood Sweat & No Tears, a collection of 19 songs of intense energy, 17 of which clocked in at less than two minutes. Following the release of the album, SOIA embarked on their first national tour. Majidi left during the tour to work with Rest in Pieces and was replaced by Max Capshaw. Majidi rejoined to record the We Stand Alone EP, which was released in early 1991 on the Relativity label. Neither Majidi nor Cipriano played with the Koller brothers on the tour preceding the release; Eddie Coen substituted on bass, plus E.K. on drums.

SOIA recorded and released Just Look Around for Relativity in 1992 with the original lineup intact, and then Cipriano left for good prior to an international tour that brought SOIA to Europe and Japan. Craig Setari came on to play bass and to establish the lineup that remained intact into the new millennium. Just Look Around was instrumental in revitalizing the declining N.Y.C. hardcore scene. SOIA left the Relativity label after the release of the album, citing dissatisfaction with the efforts of the indie label. They released Scratch the Surface in 1994 on the Eastwest label, facing accusations of selling out from fans and industry members.

Two releases in 1995 on the Lost & Found label -- a live album entitled Live in a World Full of Hate and a collection of early recordings, Spreading the Hardcore Reality -- bridged the gap between the releases of Scratch the Surface and Built to Last, which was released on the Elektra label. During that time, SOIA continued to tour extensively, including visits to South and Central America.

SOIA have suffered from associations with violence. Frequent fights at early shows gave them the unwanted and unfounded image of condoning violence. The bandmembers have attempted to disassociate the group from the violent acts of their fans. In the early '90s, Wayne Lo, a Massachusetts prep student, shot and killed several classmates while wearing a Sick of It All T-shirt, and The New York Times granted space to the bandmembers to issue a statement of vindication, in which they explained how Lo had misinterpreted their lyrics. Rolling Stone also ran an editorial in defense of the band. "Goatless," a song on Scratch the Surface, is inspired by the episode.

SOIA's steady progression has been colored by numerous accusations of selling out. The band once debated the pseudo-anarchist band Born Against live on N.Y.U. radio about that very subject. The band generally dismisses any such accusations. Only in recent years have the members of the group been able to give up their "day jobs." They are not overly concerned about their image, and in fact have stated in interviews that they have no image. They are more concerned about writing music inspired by real events in their own lives, and performing it with more emphasis on impact and energy than on melody.

Still going strong into the new millennium, Sick of It All returned with their second release on Fat Wreck Chords, Yours Truly, in the fall of 2000. Next came the band documentary video The Story So Far in 2001, their contribution to Fat's Live in a Dive series (2002), the studio album Life on the Ropes (2003), and the B-sides collection Outtakes for the Outcast (2004). Marking 20 years together in 2006, they began the year in the U.K. with Dropkick Murphys before their ninth full-length, Death to Tyrants, dropped in April on Abacus. The band spent the next four years touring, and finally returned with its ninth album, Based on a True Story, in April of 2010. The following year, Sick of It All celebrated their 25th anniversary with Nonstop, which featured the band re-recording some of its classic songs with producer Tue Madsen at the helm in the studio.

Waking The Dead



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