I was always obsessed with music. As I’ve stated many times in various articles, I grew up around it and probably listened to just as much then as I do now. The obsession had a lot to do with exploration. Whether it was radio, satellite, or rummaging through collections of elders, I listened to anything and everything! Nothing was more exciting than my discovery of punk. Most notably, the self-titled debut from Suicidal Tendencies.
At ten years old, I wasn’t sure what I was listening to but I liked it!
It’s an album on non-stop abrasiveness. The kind that probably went over my ten-year-old head, but it was nothing like anything I have ever heard! Mike Muir’s lyrics are over the top and anything but wholesome. I’d already been exposed to thrash metal bands like Slayer and horror punk of Danzig-era Misfits but this was different. Slayer was metal so I understood what came along with that package. I also thought the Misfits were making fun of goth culture. With Suicidal Tendencies, the tape I had was dubbed. Without a cover or a picture of the band, I had no idea if it was serious or not!
Suicidal Tendencies had the abrasive attitude of metal combined with punk wit.
Without the safety net of knowing what to expect, I think it made me pay closer attention to the songs. It’s hard to explain the lyrics and vocal delivery. It’s not really singing, but not really screaming. More like a spoken word but miles away from hip-hop. Basically, it’s passionate (and sometimes humorous) rants with a metal influenced punk soundtrack. With songs about everything from everything that sucks about society, to depression, and even horror, Suicidal Tendencies really struck a chord with me. Even though it was a scene I was probably too young to appreciate.
I recently purchased this album on vinyl in Barnes & Noble of all places. There’s something sad and hilarious about that statement isn’t there? A gritty, anti-establishment album pressed on bright neon vinyl for $25 at the same place that held autograph signings for Fifty Shades of Grey. Does that mean punk rock is officially dead or just adapting to the modern climate? I can’t help but wonder if there will ever be another ten-year-old who will stumble across this album just as I did, and discover this entire world of abrasive expression? In 2017 does it really even matter?