SUICIDAL TENDENCIES (1982–94). Mike Muir (vocals), Grant Estes (guitar), Louiche Mayorga (bass), Mike Clark (guitar), Amery Smith (drums).
Suicidal Tendencies were/are one of the earliest hardcore punk bands to crossover to a heavy metal style and one of the few to so ardently embrace heavy metal and remain true to the overall metal sound well after the punk revival of the early nineties. The band was started as an allegedly gang-affiliated hardcore band from Venice Beach and put out what many consider to be one of the best hardcore albums of all time, Suicidal Tendencies, released in 1983, which contained the classic tracks “I Shot Reagan,” “I Saw Your Mommy,” and “Institutionalized,” which became popular due to a clever video that received MTV airplay. The song was later used in the classic punk film Repo Man.
But by the second record and after several personnel changes, the band, led by lead singer and visionary Mike Muir, had decided to go in a crossover direction and the next record, Join the Army, with its metalesque cover (which has strong
similarities to the art used on many Megaforce releases, including the first Storm Troopers of Death record) fit in nicely with the growing thrash movement. This album spawned a minor hit single with “Possessed to Skate.” The next record, How Will I Laugh, saw the band complete their transformation into a thrash metal band.
Subsequent records were increasingly hit and miss and the band floundered for many years with Muir seeming to lose interest at times. The most egregious example of this was a pointless remake of the first album. Eventually with the introduction of future Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, the band moved in a more funk direction, culminating in the Infectious Grooves side project with Muir, Trujillo, and Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, which improbably became as popular as Suicidal Tendencies in some parts of the world. At this writing the band is still touring both as Infectious Grooves and as Suicidal Tendencies.
Discography: Suicidal Tendencies (Frontier, 1983); Join the Army (Caroline, 1987); How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today? (Epic, 1988).