Mike Muir is often known for his thought provoking lyrics and his personal intensity. I had an opportunity to witness this first hand when I was graciously granted this interview.
CW: What do you think of the PMRC's supposed "voluntary" stickering of albums?
MM: Well, to be quite honest I really don't give a damn. I think that goes to the point where what does it really matter. I mean people's records they don't even bother with a sticker when they put it on. They put it on the cover, so then someone can peel it off. They want it on there and stuff, the people in bands. So I don't think it means anything.
CW: What do you think of the RIAA's ignoring of 30,000 signatures that were presented to them on petitions calling for the removal of the stickers?
MM: Well, as we all know, signatures don't mean anything. I mean it's the real world. It's not a point of what my opinion is. I think a lot of times the way I answer is the real world. When it gets down to it, the way they run things is the way they want it. I really think it's a situation honestly like I said, if you're in a band, I think maybe one out of five, or one out of ten want a sticker on their albums. It's like if you don't have a sticker, then there's something wrong. It's like it doesn't affect the real world, and all the legislation they try to pass that says if a record isn't stickered they wouldn't carry it has been defeated. So it doesn't really make a difference. It definitely doesn't make a difference to Suicidal Tendencies.
CW: As far as legislation goes, what do you think about people getting arrested for selling stickered albums to minors?
MM: Well, everytime it's happened, they've gotten off. I think it's a situation that brings to light the stupidity of it. People sit around saying, "Wow, this 16 year old chick got arrested cause she sold a record. Don't you think that's terrible?" And I say, "No! I think it's great." (Then they say, "How can you say that?" And I say, "Because for the first time a lot of people are going, "Wow, that's really dumb!" I think that's what has to happen. People have to go "that's really dumb, they're arresting some 16 year old kid that's working for minimum wage and happened to be working the counter when that happened." That's when the people who are older have to go, "Damn! That's dumb! That could be my kid!" That's not like selling drugs or something, that's really stupid. I think everytime, there have been a couple of cases where it's happened, it's a positive thing because it people look at it differently. Public sentiment is very important.
CW: Do you think parents should be the only ones able to censor what their kids listen to?
MM: Well, a parent's a parent ya know. Unfortunately they have the power to run their house the way they wanna run their house. They can run it negatively or positively. There's no law that says you have to be required to be a parent. The only requirement you need is that the male needs to have sperm, and the female has to get impregnated. So there is no test that you take, parents are going to be parents. It's different with every parent. It's their thing and you can't tell them what's right or wrong. Everybody has a different opinion. I think it's a situation that when you get down to it, it's like when people say, "What do you think about this censorship stuff?" I just laugh. I think it's funny. You look at, for instance, when George Michael did "I Want Your Sex," that was the first record that was ever banned that didn't go #1, it went #3. Every time one of these controversies where everybody is going to defend the artists in the last couple of years, whether it's 2 Live Crew, or whatever, they're selling way more records than they ever sold before. They're getting the best fucking advertising ever. Every news is holding up the record. How can that be censorship? Everybody knows about it! So it doesn't work, you know what I mean? It is even deeper than that and I think people realize that. When ST first got on CBS, at that time it was probably less than 20% of the stores would even carry our records because of our name. That's their right! That's their business. That's fine, but when people kept going in and asking for the record, they're losing money, and that's the only terms they understand. When we got on CBS a lot more stores carried it, but still Musicland/Sam Goody, which was the biggest one wouldn't carry it. They didn't start carrying our records until two years ago. The guy said, "I'll never carry a record by Suicidal Tendencies." That's his decision, he's got the biggest chain store, he obviously knows how to run his business. Far be it for me to tell him how to run it. He has the right to run it the way he wants. Just like no one has the right to tell me what kind of music I'm gonna make. I'll make what I wanna make, I'll give him the same right. Run your store like you wanna run your stores, but I'm gonna prove you stupid. So when we did the "Feel Like Shit" EP, the PMRC went over to CBS and had a meeting with them about how upset they were. CBS said, "Look, you should really change the name." I said, "You know what, half the stores don't even carry our stuff because of our name. "They can't double not carry our records. I don't give a fuck! And you can tell the little fat bitch (Tipper Gore) that if they wanna go to war with us, they're gonna lose." We put out the record because we like our music, we want people to get our records because they like our music, not because some news show is holding it up saying, "We don't want our kids to have music like this." What's gonna happen, especially with a name like Suicidal Tendencies, it's 12 year old kids who's gonna buy it. I don't want them to buy it because it's like smoking cigarettes, I want them to buy music because they like it and get something out of it. CBS backed off, and the record just went gold a couple months ago. To me, I got the gold record with pride, because I know that people bought it because they wanted it, not because they saw it on TV. If it went gold right away because of that, I wouldn't have any pride in that. It'd be like this weeks: "Hey, look what I got" thing. Every time someone has made a stink of it, it's sold more records. When people say they don't want other people exposed to this idea or that idea, all they have done is sit there on national television telling everybody what the concept is. If you don't want people to know it, why are you telling everybody about it?
CW: Like the whole "Cop Killer" thing?
CW: What do you think about Tipper Gore being in the White House as the Second Lady?
MM: I'm just glad their kid isn't as ugly as Clinton's kid. I thought after Amy Carter we wouldn't be seeing anything like that for a while. But that's girl is UGLY! It gets annoying when I see that ugly kid with, and I have nothing against braces, but she's just ugly. And all of them, sitting there singing that damn Fleetwood Mac song, Oh God! I'm against censorship, but that song should be censored ("Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow"), Oh God! Talk about a fuckin' whole bunch of hippie propaganda. It's ridiculous.
CW: Do you think there's many original bands out there today?
MM: I think it's one of those things where: "It's just good to be good," you know? Not to be different, or better, just good. And when things are not good in music, which I don't think they're good, and I think it's sad when people talk about all this new music, that's great. That's when something comes out that really breaks. I think that the Sex Pistols were something very important. It' s important, not because of the records they put out, but all the records that came out because of them. Whether it was directly, which was PIL afterwards, their first records were incredible and influenced a lot of people, or whether it was the post-punk like Bauhaus, which was supposedly alternative. The only problem with Alternative is that it is now formatted. Alternative used to be non-radio format music, and now it's formatted. So it all gets around. People get disgusted, everybody is trying to outhip themselves. If it's a hit, then it's not hip anymore, so it's a fallacy. So what's good isn't the important thing.