This Is Hardcore: Suicidal Tendencies – Suicidal Tendencies
Gallows guitarist Lags picks his essential hardcore and punk releases – every Thursday on TeamRock
Punk and hardcore bands are destined to spontaneously combust at any moment, especially if their scene is knee-deep in chaos and violence.
Suicidal Tendencies began life in the early 1980s in the then-insalubrious streets of Venice Beach. Shortly after the formation, their reputation began to spread quicker than their music. With tales of gang affiliation and the wildest live show on the West Coast, the name Suicidal Tendencies soon became synonymous with low-life hooliganism and public disturbances.
Behind the mayhem, singer Mike Muir and his streetwise band were rewriting the formula; their unique style of metal-infused gritty hardcore would eventually birth to a whole new genre.
Despite being over three decades old, their 1983 debut still dishes out more attitude than many of today’s hardcore equivalents. All 12 tracks stand out as landmarks in punk history, laced with humour, packed with aggression and, most importantly, a fearless approach to songwriting, straight from the street. I Shot the Devil opens with the line “I shot Reagan”, a provocative declaration of disdain towards the American government. Elsewhere, the lyrics to Two Sided Politics read like an anthem for outcasts across the United States: “I’m not anti-society, society’s anti-me/ And I’m not anti-religion, religion is anti-me/And I’m not anti-tradition, tradition is anti-me/And I’m not anti-anything, I just wanna be free”.