Suicidal Tendencies’s self titled debut studio album was released forty years ago on July 5, 1983. The hit single “Institutionalized” spoke for a generation of disaffected teens like me (then 16) who saw a screwed up world of boomers saying “you’re the problem” despite them being the ones in charge. We went to their schools, their churches, their institutions of learning. So how could they say we were “crazy”?
The video is legendary, with cameos from Mary Woronov (queen of the B-Movies) as Mike Muir’s “mother”, and Jack Nance (lead actor in “Eraserhead”) as his “father”. It’s more than funny, it was relatable for many people, even those who didn’t like this sort of music.
The album “Suicidal Tendencies” had a massive influence on the record industry. It sold over 100,000 copies in the first year, proving that bands could be successful on independent labels and didn’t need major labels, which many bands and labels benefitted from over the next 20 years.
“ST” was an album that bridged the gap between Punk Rock and Heavy Metal, and heavily influenced Thrash Metal and other genres and bands. And it wasn’t just musical influence. Suicidal Tendencies’ members are Latino and Black, which (like Bad Brains) took them far beyond the mostly white Punk Rock audience. Cypress Hill quoted and sampled “Institutionalized” in their hit song “How I Could Just Kill a Man”. Seeing people like yourself and hearing people say things that you think and feel is life changing.
The entire album can be heard on this youtube playlist. The entire album is great. Another notable song on the album is “I Shot The Devil”, which was (allegedly) renamed from “I Shot Reagan” after being contacted by the FBI.