Interview with Mike Clark
When speaking to Suicidal Tendencies guitarist Mike Clark recently on the phone, we touched on a number of subjects from the legacy the California crossover crew carries to the groundbreaking unitís latest release entitled NO MERCY FOOL! /THE SUICIDAL FAM
Tell us about the just released album NO MERCY FOOL! / THE SUICIDAL FAMILY
Itís a mix of re-recordings of the No Mercy project I did with Mike Muir on vocals from back in the day with some re-recordings of songs from the JOIN THE ARMY album. We kind of just merged the two together since they were in the same era, basically 1987, but we also got a brand new album with all new stuff, all new material coming out soon too.
What has it been like to work with Mike Muir all of these years?
Mike is an intense guy, an excellent frontman and heís a perfectionist, but not in a bad way. Heís very supportive and inspirational, and once heís in your corner, his intensity and pushing you to be your best is very motivational. We know each other since weíre little kids, and itís great to be working with him all of these years.
Comment on the legacy of Suicidal Tendencies. Iíll be walking around Venice somewhere and see some skaters rocking some ST gear and they wonít even know Iím in the bandÖitís really cool to see kids skating around wearing your stuff, Iím not going to lie. It makes you proud to know that you are a part of something that means something to them.
Who are some of your influences guitar-wise?
Chuck Berry, for starters. My mom used to bring home his records when I was young. Also, a lot of the Delta blues players were big on me growing up, but then I heard Jimi Hendrix and knew that he was the guy. Of course, thereís others like Jimmy Page and Tony Iommi, too.
What are you currently listening to when home or out and about?
It all depends, sometimes itís Hendrix and Black Sabbath, sometimes Slayer, depending on the mood Iím in and whateverís in reach.
Talk about the gear that you use.
I used to be with Jackson Guitars but was unhappy with them because they were too big for me to really get the small changes I want done so Iíve been using Fernandes guitars and Iím so happy with them because if I need a spec changed or something upgraded, I can speak to someone one on one and get the modification taken care of. I also used Peavey equipment because I love the way the 5150 amps sound. Iím a simple player and I use just the basics, no frills style of plug in, play and let it rip, and this gear lets my fingers do the talking and get the tones I want.
Do you still keep in contact with former members of ST?
Yeah, all the timeÖin fact, I ran into Louie the other day and just spoke to Rocky on the phone. Suicidal is a family, and weíve remained close through the years. When one of us needs help or puts the call out, weíre there to help our brothers.
What have you not accomplished yet thatís still on the to-do list?
I donít know, maybe play on a beach in Malaysia? Actually, Iíd love to play Madison Square Garden.
What do you do when youíre not in ST?
I love to surf. I play in a few other musical projects around the neighborhood around here in addition to Suicidal and that keeps me busy. I actually also like to work, and I enjoy doing carpentry and stuff like that.
Has the California scene changed since you started?
Well, there are a lot less places to play for starters and the gentrification of the area with decibel meters and curfews really changed things up, but there are still a few good places to play, but itís nothing like it used to be.
What can we expect from the Suicidal Tendencies live show this time around?
Weíve changed the set list quite a bit this time, so youíre gonna hear some stuff you havenít heard in a while delivered with the intensity that comes what you expect with a Suicidal Tendencies show.
Check out Suicidal Tendencies on the road this fall and on the web at www.myspace.com/suicidaltendencies