How the idea of creating STill Cyco Punk After All These Years came out? Re-inventing your solo album (Lost my brain! (once again) ) and taking “almost” the name of an old album isn’t something common!
Basically, because when I originally did it was 1995 and I was with completely different people it was more on me getting an opportunity to get away from what was going on with Suicidal at the time and basically I was just going: “Hey, when I was sixteen if I was doing a record again what would I do?”. Not having neither the pressure of whatever, worried about people. Just like to do what I liked and a ton of things.
We played some of the songs and now with the way the band is, twenty some years later, having Dave Lombardo, and different things like that we’re going: “you know what? The essence of “VOLLADO SONGS” I still love them. Lyrically I think they’re even more so applicable today than a lot of songs that are older. You know, you listen back, not as an artist, but when you were a kid, when your friends play it and you listen to it and you hear the words are like: “These are the dumbest f****** words I ever heard” you know? And stuff… And you can only get away with that back then, but hilariously I think that a lot of people will still relate to with their sixteen or older and musically try to use a little bit different approach rather than a lot of people trying to make the music sound like it was old. I call it sound bad. We wanted to make it sound new and fresh and what we would do if we were up new punk band and that kind of things, trying not to fit in but to stand out.
And kinda like the first record when it came out all the punk rockers hated it and all the magazines said it sucked, you know. Later on, we became a punk classic, but at the time: “Oh, you can’t do that!”, and so we wanted to do something that sounded more 2020 rather than 1980 you know?
A question that is a consequence and it’s not written: how did you actually start to distribute your music? Considering that you were without internet when you started.
You know, there used to be something called the record store back in the day. But, you know, when punk rock bands back then, there is a couple there, they brag about selling 2,000, 5,000 copies, and so to me the irony is that, you didn’t do it to make sell records, because there is such a small audience, and now when there’s so few people buying records, people are so upset and I go, it’s an opportunity to do what you want, you don’t have to worry about working for anybody else, you know.
When you want to sell a lot of records, people have to like it. You have to do what they like and stuff, you know? So easily people put a lot of sugar in it, and we’re not a sugar band. We’re more a bitter, hard-hitting and spicy and core taste kind of thing. And it makes actually easier to do something, because there is no excuse not to do what you want to do. There is no reason to hear something and go: “fuck I’d love this to be like, but what is Bobby, Johnny and Ted are going to say?”, it doesn’t matter. And we’ve never been like that and I think it’s great. And so, it’s funny because now with the internet basically anybody can have a song for free and this and that. Do what you love.
This is also something that you mentioned on the stage before…
Definitely, there is a way to go about things and staff and my dad goes: “the sure way to be miserable is try to make everybody else happy”, because everybody is going to tell you what to do. You’ll be spinning around, and it’s not a matter of putting yourself in front of someone else, but it’s knowing what’s important and knowing what you get out of it and hoping that there are people getting out of it what you get out of it and enjoy it for the same reason. Some people like some of our songs and they’re like: "[gibberish]”. I can’t give a damn. Some others say: “You know what? Things are hard, I’ll listen to it…” I go: “I’m f****** gonna do this”, that’s the biggest compliment you can get.
So we kinda know what we hope to get across, we know that there was very few music that really hit us in our mind, not just in the ears, and so that’s the kind of thing that you want, someone that can compliment saying: “that song really helps me out, it gives me power” and I say that’s great, that’s the biggest compliment you can have.
Mike, we know that you’re the main composer of the band. Do you prefer touring/performing live or composing?
Oh, if it was up to me I would be in the studio 26 hours a day, but the problem is I would never put out the music and a lot of times our friends that come from other places, we bring them to the studio, we start playing and they’re like: “what’s this? What’s this? I never heard this! Why is it not coming out?”. They’re confusing us. They love it and stuff.
We have well over 1,000 songs with different things recorded and basically I am not concerned about putting it out for other people to like it. When I was younger I used to write songs and record them on the cassette and send them to people, you know. Just because it was a personal thing and something that I felt. So now it is more important to do something, but honestly, I have a family with three kids, I want to spend time with them, which is more difficult on the road, because you’re not there. I’m flying back the day of my middle son’s birthday and there are certain things that you try to work out and when you leave it’s always: “dad, when are you coming back?” and you get on the phone and: “Are you coming home tomorrow?” so that makes it more difficult.
But obviously when I’m on the stage I love to be in a position to do this because I never thought I would be able to do this 30 something years later you know?
The next question would be: what do you miss the most, but maybe let’s say, family…
Definitely, my kids and stuff. And that’s one of the best things too because next Sunday I’ll get home and my wife says I come home to the hero’s welcome and I have three kids around me and hold on to me and stuff, so that’s the most amazing feeling.
And you know we just played a Canadian tour, my oldest son is fourteen, he went there for the whole tour. He’s now in an age, and last year when spring break was in we played thirteen shows in France and he was able to go to half of them and he’s able to see what it is. He understands, a lot of his friends like the band and he understands that I’m doing something that’s important and I’m not here because I don’t want to be with them and he knows the difference between what we’re doing and maybe some other bands and the people that are involved and what we’re trying to get across. So, it’s not like: “daddy can’t grow up…” so he knows it’s not easy. He knows that things are going to happen every day, the storm or the power or this or that.
A couple of days ago we were flying from Spain to Birmingham and our flight was cancelled, so we tried to scramble to fly somewhere else to get to there, you know, so it’s never easy and people say: “oh, that’s great you get to see it…” and I’m like: “well, we’ve been here six days and everyday we’re flying and everyday we’re driving after a show, we go here and we drive straight to Germany right afterwards, so we don’t really see a lot. We see the side of the tour bus and we’re not in that position where we have days off and it’s a holiday, but it’s important for us and there is a purpose and as long as we feel like we’re accomplishing something and getting across to people, hopefully we will be able to continue to tour.
Last two questions: Suicidal Tendencies turn 38 this year, do you have any suggestions for people who want to start their career in music industry?
Yes, don’t! It’s funny because people ask about my kids and they say: “oh, they’re going to be in music?” and I say: “I sure hope not”.
My dad played American Football and when I was a big kid his friends were saying: “oh, he’s going to be a football player…” and he was saying: “I don’t know, hopefully he will find what he wants to do!”
Music is a lot different, it’s a lot harder and I think that a lot of people now, especially in America, everybody wants to be this or this, and everybody doesn’t want to work. They want to be these poor people where everybody can tell people what to do and be an a****** and it’s not something they feel in their heart and I think that a lot of people sometimes they experience this with friends, parents or whatever and they say: “oh, my kids what to do music can you do this thing and they get there” and they f****** hate it because it’s work.
But you want to play in front of 100,000 people and not do any work just go out there and be [inaudible]? It doesn’t happen.
is this the thing that changed the most in music industry?
Well anybody can do music today. When we did it, my best friend said: “you don’t think anybody is gonna like this kind of music?” and I said: “I don’t care if anyone likes it, I like it.” And you get to the point where you talk to people and: “oh, I want this, and I want this…” and I go: “do you like what you’re doing? So, what’s the problem?”, “well, I need other people to like it!”, “why do you need other people to like it?”, you know what I mean? “well, I want to be it, I want this and want that” and I go: “dude, do you want to be a f****** rock star? A*****! I’m not the one to talk to…”, so you know what, you want to do something? You do it.
Now if you want to be rich and famous and worshipped, don’t talk to me about it, you know? Talk to the devil, someone else or something.
Do what you want to do and if it’s something that you feel in your heart… Most people want to feel it in the bank account or you know, something else. So, I’m the wrong person to ask because I do things the wrong way, that’s why I’m still here. If I did things the right way I would’ve never been here.