Suicidal Tendencies' inclusion on the Clash Of The Titans bill had been questioned from the very start.
They were accused by many, including Dave Mustaine, of not being professional or famous enough to survive such a show! After all, they would be playing on the same bill Testament, Megadeth and Slayer. Despite the predictions, Mike Muir and friends proved they could do it. They had no problems competing with the other great bands and opening the dates. In fact Testament, who went on stage after them, had some difficulties keeping the crowd going. But the tour didn’t go quite as well for the band as expected when we met up with Muir.
MH: Let’s start with this tour. How have things been going for you?
Mike Muir: It’s had its good and its bad sides like everything. Our position during these festivals is quite unlucky as we open the shows and only play a total of 30 minutes on stage.
MH: Does that mean that you aren’t happy with the conditions?
Mike: Of course we understand that we’re not in the position to make any high demands. But there are quite a few things that get on our nerves. It’s well known that a certain band were dead against having us on the tour in the first place, and they have been trying all the time to throw us off the tour. Those are the additional problems we’ve had to cope with.
MH: Have you had any trouble with any of the other bands?
Mike: We haven’t had any problems with Slayer, they’re really cool. The same applies to the crew.
MH: And what about Megadeth?
Mike: We don’t see them and I’m very pleased about that.
MH: It’s been said that Dave Mustaine isn’t particularly happy about you being on the tour as well.
Mike: I’m not surprised, after all we sell more T-shirts. Oh well, I can understand that. He’s from the old school, and we’re from the new school. That seems to worry him. But so what? I told him to his face that I am ready and waiting if he wants to end the argument with his fists.
MH: Your new LP Lights Camera Revolution has been doing really well in the States. Did you count on that?
Mike: That all depends. You mustn’t forget that we didn’t start as a heavy metal band, and our audience in the States is very diverse. We’ve been playing mainly in front of metal fans on this tour and many hadn’t heard us yet. But as far as I’ve heard, lots of people are saying that Suicidal are the surprise of the tour. We still have to fight against the ignorance factor. It’s easier in the States. We see more results in what we do over there.
MH: Were you touring the States up until now?
Mike: Yes, we did a headliner tour of the States and it ended in New York. We then flew straight to Europe. The US tour was completely different - we had our normal complete playing time as well as light and sound, and now we’ve been allocated a mere 30 minutes during which we can only introduce a few songs. That’s a big problem because each of our LPs to date sounds different, and it’s pretty hard to achieve a balance. There are bands who play for one-and-a-half hours and who sound exactly the same from start to finish, but that’s not really the case with us. We would have loved to play longer. When we return we’ll definitely go on tour again, probably with 24-7 Spyz.
MH: Will you be returning to Europe to play a headliner tour for the whole playing time?
Mike: I can’t say anything to that yet. Our records sell well here and the promoters have shown an interest as well. It all depends what happens behind the scenes. But there is a distinct possibility.
MH: The whole subject of censorship seems to have been blown up again in the States - and not just there. The reason was the court case against Judas Priest (the subliminal message trial in the summer of 1990). How do you feel about that?
Mike: I think it’s very sad that Judas Priest’s name is mentioned again and again in this context. I know that the case wouldn’t have had to go to court. The only reason that the trial even took place was because Judas Priest and CBS wanted it to. The reason is obvious: everyone knows that the last two Priest LPs weren’t very successful and this court case was the best publicity one can imagine. After that the name Judas Priest could be read and heard all over the place, and the release of the new album [Painkiller] was timed perfectly.
MH: Do you really think it was all a publicity gag?
Mike: I know because we’re on CBS as well.
MH: What about working with [former Anthrax managers] Johnny and Marsha Zazula who have taken over your management?
Mike: Well to be honest, we’ve split up again. We only worked together for four months but that was enough. I don’t really want to say anything else on that subject. We mutually agreed to split, that’s it. When we go back to the States, we’ll have to look for a new management again.
Suicidal Tendencies released their album Join The Army on June 9, 1987.
This feature was originally published in the September 1990 issue of Metal Hammer.
A Suicidal track is included in our Essential Thrash List. Which one? Find out here.