Metallica has been making music for the last 30 years and as expansive as the bill is for their Orion Music + More festival at Atlantic City’s Bader Field, not many bands can say that. One band that can though is Suicidal Tendencies. The only permanent member of the band, Mike “Cyco Miko” Muir, has lead the charge for Suicidal Tendencies since 1981 as its singer. The thrash metal legends headlined the Damage Inc. stage Saturday night.
Cyco Miko is a busy guy, and one who travels with a big entourage. His crew all don Suicidal Tendencies apparel, and there is no question that they are dedicated to spreading the good word of thrash metal. Fortunately for metal fans across the globe, Cyco Miko took a few minutes to check in with Loudwire at Orion.
Why do you think the sound of Suicidal Tendencies has stood the test of time?
I think for us, when we started we didn’t really know what we were doing. We didn’t really set out and try to do something for other people. We stood there and did what we liked. We didn’t care what other people thought. After we did our first record, one of my good friends came up to me and said, “Yo, Mike, I got to talk to you. People aren’t going to like the album. It’s not music. You have an opportunity to make music that people can listen to on the radio.” But I didn’t think that was an opportunity because I didn’t like what I was hearing on the radio. Our barometer is not what people are going to think or how many records we can sell. We just want to be proud of what we make. That’s why it stands the test of time. We did records that we thought were really good.
How does it feel to be invited to Orion?
It’s much better to be here than not to be here. It’s always good to be invited to things and get offered stuff. We’re in the position now that we get offered a lot more stuff than we used to. We get to turn down a lot of things that we probably wouldn’t have before. We are like, “Will this be something we look back on in 10 or 20 years and think that it was awesome we did it? Will people think it’s cool?” And you know, with Robert [Trujillo, Metallica's bassist], it’s great to be playing with him. This is the first time we played with him since he’s been out of the band.
Do you and Robert stay in touch?
The funny thing is, his mom and cousin were on the same flight as ours coming here. I sent him a text message about it. It’s not like we’re on the road nine months together, but Robert is like a brother to me. He’s a very important person. It’s definitely exciting to be here with him.
Word on the street is you have some new music in the works.
We’ve always had new music in the works. Now it’s actually to the point that we have some that we’re ready to put out. Now is the time to put out a new record and we feel really, really good about it. There will definitely be a record out this year.
What can fans expect?
The way we look at it is that next year will be the 30th anniversary of our first record. When we look at a record, we don’t want to have it sound like 2012. We want it to sound awesome 25 years from now, so when a kid who wasn’t even born when we made it listens to it, he’s like, “Damn, that’s a cool record!” I just had a guy from a radio station tell me that some listeners have been requesting the new song ‘Institutionalized.’ The young listeners don’t realize that’s an old song! Something like this [Orion] is good for us, too, because a lot of people who wouldn’t have listened to us will check us out because they know Robert was in the band.
Any new music in the set?
Not really. We have a really short set, but we do have a new guitar player. He’s our first non-Californian in the band. He’s from New York, so there’s our East Coast connection. We could’ve waited and made his debut at a small show, but we thought we’d throw him an easy one like this. This will be his first show ever with us.
Are there any new bands out there that you’re excited about?
I haven’t really heard any new things, and I make a point to not listen to stuff when we’re in the studio. I get stacks of CDs. It’s like, I have three kids, I can’t listen to them. I’ve listened to hundreds of thousands of CDs from people who said I had to check them out, and then I realize I didn’t ever need to check them out. A lot of people want us to put their records out, and it’s like, we haven’t even put out a record in 13 years, we’re not going to put yours out! We have our priorities, man.