After Bassist's Death, Suicidal Tendencies Singer Talks Life

There are three bands about to come through Phoenix that have, collectively, been writing, recording, playing and influencing heavy metal for around 100 years. One. Hundred. Years.

You might think, yeah, okay; that's impressive. What if I also said that, collectively, these bands have released more than 30 studio albums, sold more than 10 million copies, have five Grammys nominations, helped pioneer thrash metal as one of the Big 4 Acts, and have been dubbed the "fathers of crossover thrash."

Well, any true metalhead has probably correctly guessed; I'm talking about Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Exodus.

See also: 10 Underrated Punk Bands that Should Be Considered Classics

When this trio of thrash legends played a handful of dates this past May, critics and fans alike had some massive praise, including the bold statement "the best show in years I've been blessed to witness." And this Saturday, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus are coming through Phoenix to play Comerica Theatre, one of the 17 stops on the national tour. None of these bands really need an introduction, but all three are working through new music and big challenges.

Slayer's follow-up to 2011's Grammy-winning World Painted Blood is due out in 2015, and the band is in full work mode. It's causing some anticipation. First off, it's the first record the band is releasing on their own record label, the first after founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman's death, and the first with drummer Paul Bostaph, who hasn't recorded with the band since 2001.

Vocalist Steve Souza is back in Exodus, one of the Bay Area thrash pioneers, after Rob Dukes left this summer after a decade. The band's new album, Blood In, Blood Out, released in October. Plus, Gary Holt is working as the main shredder for both Slayer and Exodus on this tour.

Thrash-punk outfit Suicidal Tendencies rounds out the bill, still reeling from losing their bassist of almost four years Tim "Rawbiz" Williams, who passed away in late August. However, the band is still running on the adrenaline from their success of 13, which came out a year-and-a-half ago. It was the act's first album in 13 years, full of fresh new material -- however, fans can rest assured that there the band will play lots of favorites such as "Institutionalized" and "Possessed to Skate."

Up On the Sun talked with Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies, one of the band's first interviews since Williams' passing, about seeing multiple generations of fans at his shows, and how a band member passing will affect Suicidal Tendencies going forward.

What can fans expect from the show?

Mike Muir: I think it's a great bill. Each band is a little bit different but they go well together. Probably ST is the most different. When people go there I think they are surprised a lot. We've got our typical crowd, but when we did these shows before with Slayer, a few hours before the show you just see this huge crowd. And you know, not many people wearing Suicidal Tendency shirts. We're used to seeing a ton of our stuff in the crowd! But it's cool, you're talking to people and hanging out, and these fans are like, "I haven't seen you in 20 years!" And afterwards they say, "I'm gonna kick my own ass; I haven't seen you for 20 years!" It was fun so this tour should be great.

Last time we talked, you mentioned how odd it was to go to your shows and see your older fans with their own children at the shows.


You like reminding those older fans what they were capable of when they were younger.

You know, it comes full circle. People will say the first concert they ever went to in their life was a Suicidal show, so they want their kid's first show to be a Suicidal show. It goes from them sneaking out or lying to go to the show, to them bringing their own kids. Kinda cool!

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise

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