Suicidal Tendencies started in 1982 with Mike Muir (vocals), Louichie Mayorga (bass), Grant Estes (guitar) and Amery Smith (drums). Despite being voted "worst band and biggest assholes" in a Flipside Magazine poll, they pressed on with their career.
Signing to the small 'Frontier' label, they debuted in 1984 with the self-titled Suicidal Tendencies, featuring vague skater-Punk Hardcore sounds with political lyrics. With tracks like Institutionalized, it proved to be a promising start and highlighted their 'Treudeau Salute' (middle finger) to the "American Dream", complete with a surreal video. When Ralph Herrera and Rocky George replaced Amery and Estes respectively, they were ready to sign to 'Virgin' and release the follow-up Join The Army (1987). This album showed Muir coming on like a skater Metal-Punk godfather to assist greatly to the band (and this album's) success with tracks (gone single) like Possessed To Skate and War Inside My Head. Tracks like A Little Each Day added emotion to the bravado. The following year Mike Clark joined on rhythm guitar, while Bob Heathcote replaced Mayorga on bass.
How Will I Laugh Tomorrow... When I Can't Even Smile Today (1988) continued with the emotional lyrics of depression and anxiety. "Stymee" temporarily sat in on bass for Controlled By Hatred/Feel Like Shit...Deja Vu (1989), an EP which saw a more Metallic sound enter their music, mixed with ample doses of Funk and Nu-Metal. That Rap and Funk sound would be pushed farther on the highly acclaimed Lights...Camera...Revolution (1990). With tracks like Send Me Your Money (a stand against TV evangelism), the album was a more commercial affair and its charting of 59 in the U.K. reflected its success. It also landed them a supporting slot on the Clash Of The Titans tour alongside Slayer, Testament and Megadeth, bands that weren't exactly of similar style.
As their records became more known, so did their reputation (at least the perception with the people in power); the PMRC blamed them for teenage suicides, while the California Police refused them venue permits fearing they were a street gang.
Robert Trujillo (ex-Ozzy Osbourne) took over bass duties at the same time that Muir was experimenting with his side project, Infectious Grooves, releasing the albums The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move It's The Infections Groove (1991), Sarsippius' Ark (1993), Groove Family Cyco (1994) and Mas Borracho (2000) with himself and Trujillo, as well as Stephen Perkins (ex-Jane's Addiction; drums), Adam Siegal and Dean Pleasants (guitar), with John Feese replacing Perkins after the first release.
When Suicidal recorded again, Josh Freese was on the drum kit. They were as angry as ever with The Art Of Rebellion (1992), Still Cyco After All These Years (1993) and Suicidal For Life (1994) resulting. Suicidal For Life also featured Jimmy DeGrasso (ex-MD.45/ex-Megadeth/ex-Y & T) on drums. Back in 1992, Muir made an appearance in the TV show Miami Vice. They broke up shortly after. But Muir couldn't keep his revolution quiet and after the "best of..." compilation Prime Cuts (1997) and Friends & Family (1998) they reformed featuring the line-up of Dean Pleasants (ex-Infectious Grooves) and Mike Clark (guitar both), Josh Paul (bass), Brooks Wackerman (ex-Infectious Grooves; drums) and Mike Muir (vocals).
The new lot of albums that followed received considerably less than critical acclaim with 6 The Hard Way (1999), Freedumb (1999) and Free Your Soul And Save My Mind (2000) succeeding in showing the band short in inspiration. But after the release of the Friends & Family 2 in 2002, the line-up had changed to feature Steve Brunner (bass) and Ron Brunner Jr. (drums).