Interview about suicidal tendencies
TIS= The Independent Spiritualist
DP = Dean Pleasants
ME = Eric Moore
TIS: This is a really nostalgic tour that you have organized here. You have the Cro-Mags, DRI, Underdog… all of whom, along with you, are legends of hardcore! How has the tour experience been for you so far?
DP: He’s been a really cool guy. Somewhat blurry, as tours often are, but a lot of fun. We call the bus we’re on “the submarine”, we dive underwater and go out at concerts. Every day there is a different crowd of people, but it is always fun. We’re playing stuff from the No Mercy album, as well as Suicidal Army and other older stuff, so the crowd really enjoys it, and so do we. We’re really getting into our niche right now, which is usually what happens, and then it’s over. We all got together and it’s been so much fun.
TIS: Is it me, or do you guys tend to stay away from touring with a lot of the new “punk/hardcore” bands?
DP: Not really, we just do what works for us. We did some shows recently with Deftones.
EM: Yeah, and we toured with Lamb of God a while ago. We tour with a lot of the new bands and then we crush them haha.
DP: We did a few festivals in Europe and it was such a diverse lineup. We did a show with Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Kiss. It was crazy.
EM: Yes, believe me, it is diverse. Suicide is very diverse.
TIS: Did you guys ever skate?
DP: Oh yeah, absolutely.
EM: Dean still skates. Your board is right there. I also skated when I was skinny. Like all the time. I fell and broke my lip and shit, but I always got back up.
TIS: Haha, great. So what boards did you grow up on?
DP: Well, when I was a kid, my first board was this little polyurethane plastic thing when they first came out. That was before it was skating bowls and stuff. Now I’m skating a Pep board with monster wheels and Indy trucks. I can show you.
TIS: Yeah, that would be awesome if you don’t mind.
DP: Not at all!
EM: I always had the man at the Wal-Mart boards. I had the Walmart life board. I was telling my mom I wanted the one that folds on both sides and she was like, “No! You’re going to buy this $10 board and you’re going to like it,” and I’m like, ok, fine, I’ll ride some BMX bikes. Because when you grow up as a thug, you would only be stealing what you wanted.
DP: So here is my board. It definitely worked on this tour and it’s definitely a cruiser. The guys at Rip City (Santa Monica, CA) hooked this up for me. I told them I played in a band with Jim’s brother and they clicked right away.
EM: Yeah, the only reason he’s skating a Pep board is because Pep is our boy from home.
DP: Yeah. I really like sailing, so on this thing, it’s like two kicks and you can go forever, and it’s fast. Before this board, I skated at Dogtown’s and also owned a Jesse from Santa Monica Airlines.
TIS: Rad. So Sucidal, particularly Mike Muir, has been singled out for having issues with Rage Against The Machine. In fact, he wrote a song called Do What I Tell You, which is a parody of the lyrics to the song Killing In The Name by Rage. Is something still ongoing?
DP: Honestly, I don’t know much about it. In fact, we just came from South America, where we played with Rage.
EM: Yes, we play with them. We were just three bands, us, The Mars Volta & Rage.
DP: Yeah, and that was pretty cool, so I don’t want to say anything bad about them.
EM: But we really don’t have anything bad to say anyway.
DP: They put on a great show. It was crazy. There were 50,000 people going crazy. I mean, we all put on a good show, but Rage PUT ON A GOOD SHOW.
EM: Yeah, Rage was killing it.
IT: Great. So is it safe to say you don’t play that song anymore, or at least you didn’t then?
DP: We definitely didn’t play it there.
EM: It was really a fight between people, not between gangs. It wasn’t like we had to kick their ass, or that they had to come after us.
DP: It was a war of words that Mike was involved in. What happened was the bands were on tour together, and somebody was on the phone, and somebody pushed somebody, and it was all really Tom Foolery. Then they said something about Mike in an interview and that the band was old or something funny. Mike asked us if we would mind if he wrote a song about them. I really didn’t want to get involved. I wasn’t mad at those guys. So he wrote Do what you say, I was like, okay, he really is mad at them.
So we went to South America, where we had been offered two festivals, one in Chile and the other in São Paulo. Rage’s manager said, well, I don’t know if they want you guys to come, but he asked you and he had long forgotten. And the Brazilians said they wanted Suicidal to come, so we went. We got there and saw Tom and Zack and said hello and everything was fine.
TIS: Right on. What’s the word on the new album? Is there a tentative release date?
DP: Well, we wanted to release the No Mercy/Suicidal Army album to tour because Mike had a vision to do the albums again and show people a harder side of Suicidal. We usually play three or four of the songs in our set. As for the new record, it’s really based on the current moment because of the way the industry and distribution are. We really want to go out there right now and rename the people who were with us before, as well as show the new generation of kids who we are before we put out a record. We don’t want to release something that isn’t going to be heard. That is very important to all of us. When you put your heart and soul into something, you want it to be heard. And we go from this US tour to Europe and South America and so on.
TIS: Yeah, my friend Randy was saying on the road how much he loved the new No Mercy recordings and what they did with them.
EM: Yeah man, that’s something new, hard and fast.
DP: It’s a throwback to the way they recorded a long time ago. I was originally on Infectious Grooves, before Suicidal, and we were used to doing things a certain way, a lot of jamming and writing, but there was a formula for Suicidal that made it sound that way. And we went back to that formula. Mike was doing the hard beats and I was doing the solos, and the drummer and bassist were doing their thing. It really makes it a different kind of recording. And that’s what we did with No Mercy. When you listen to it, you can hear everyone doing what they do best.
TIS: You mentioned Infectious Grooves. You will play your first show in the United States in 10 years on November 23rd. Can you talk a little about that?
EM: Yeah man, it’s going to be a great show. We’re playing at The House of Blues in Hollywood.
DP: Infectious was able to play in Chile with RATM and The Mars Volta, and we had never played there before. However, we have done some tours in France, Europe and Australia. Infectious’ first tour was opening for Ozzy.
TIS: Yes, I remember. Would I go out and sing Therapy with you?
DP: Yes, and in fact, when he shot the video with us, he had a broken leg. We were in Chicago and I will never forget it. Anyone can say what they want about Ozzy, but he’s the best guy, he really is.
TIS: So is there any truth to the Suicidal/LA Sureno Venice 13 gang rumors? You can nod once to say yes and twice to say no if you wish.
EM: Hahaha, oh man.
DP: Haha, well there are a lot of gangs that say Suicidal but I’m not a gang member myself.
EM: I wear red, so… (laughs).
DP: We have a lot of people that are in the band that are also into other things that may not be nice. When we play Ventura, we have Hell’s Angels at our shows all the time. We have a lot of 1% biker gangs that are in Suicidal. They never really cause problems at shows, but they are there. When we hit Ventura, the entire street is lined with Hells Angels.
TIS: Crazy sounds.
EM: It’s weird.
DP: Yeah, it’s crazy. Many people like our music and for us it is an honor. There are a lot of people in prison who like our music and say it helps them through the day, so that’s great. For us, the most important thing is to touch someone. If you can help someone during the day when they are going through a difficult time, that means something. So as for the gang thing, I don’t know. It’s crazy and people are definitely doing their thing.
TIS: Great guys. Thanks for your time.