Back in 1983, hardcore-punk was turned on its head by a ragtag bunch of Californian bandana enthusiasts named Suicidal Tendencies releasing their debut album. Led by Mike Muir (aka Cyco Myko), Suicidal went on to fuse the worlds of punk, thrash and skate with a biting social commentary, inspiring countless musicians in the process.
Here, Josh Bowles from posi-hardcore Londoners Cope (opens in new tab) picks his all-time top ten Suicidal Tendencies tracks from the various eras of ST.
1. Ain't Gonna Take It
"This one’s my favourite, 'cause it’s just such an anthem – especially in the current political climate. You can blast this when you’re in a bad mood and it just takes the edge off. The bass tone in this track and the rest of the Freedumb album is just so tasty. It’s one of the reasons I dig this band so much."
2. Get Whacked
"The chorus in this gets me every time. It’s a massive finger to anyone you don’t agree or get on with. My take on this track is that they’re taking pop shots at all the dummies in power right now, and that’s more than okay with me. We need to call them out on their shit. Lets go, it’s whack time!"
3. Master Of No Mercy
"This one’s from their Controlled By Hate album, which I think was their second offering after they’d gone in a more crossover direction. I just love the riff the whole way through – I’m a massive thrash head so crossover stuff like this is right up my street. The recording on this track and the rest of the album isn’t great, and Mike's vocals are barely audible, but that’s arguably secondary to its message. You could apply its lyrical content to Trump today, and this came out almost 30 years ago."
4. Cyco Vision
"I have very fond memories of seeing this live with my girlfriend and my mate at Download. It invokes an awesome image of Mike doing his jazz hand thing, and all three of us trying – and failing – to match it. It was also the second time I saw them, and usually I’m wary of getting my hopes up too high and being disappointed, but they absolutely killed it. Probably the best band of the weekend for me."
5. Send Me Your Money
"I’ve included this not just because it’s a banger, but because it just reflects the state of our government right now, or at least, this is how it feels. I’m broke all the time, so where’s my money going? Oh wait."
6. Pledge Your Allegiance
"Need I say anything on this? It’s another straight up anthem, and one every Cyco should bang. I’m pretty sure they play this live for every set, but don’t quote me on that! ST! ST!"
7. Free Your Soul... And Save My Mind
"I love this track as it reminds me of Sublime. It’s got that Cali funk to it which Sublime were so well known for. I also have some childhood memories of blasting Sublime with my brother, so this is a lovely throwback and a great take on that sound. I don’t know if that was their intention though, not that it matters."
8. We Call This Mutha Revenge
"Another crossover banger that speaks to my thrash soul! Again, the riff just takes over and I can’t help but bop my head. Whenever this song comes on and I’m on the tube or something, I’m totally that weirdo banging my head and making everyone around me uncomfortable. I don’t make eye contact though, so that’s something, right!?"
9. Gotta Kill Captain Stupid
"The world is filled with stupid people, and this is the song for those of us who have to put up with this stupidity on a daily basis. The lyrics are really playful, but there’s a serious message behind this and one that they creep in quite subtly."
10. Clap Like Ozzy
"Had to include one of their newer offerings. I like this track because it emulates the sort of vibe COPE go for, and that’s knowing that things are mega shit, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel and we can get through all this by sticking together."
Check out Cope's new video for Wounds below. They are playing Macbeth in London on July 7 supporting The Human Project.