Suicidal Tendencies was born out of Southern California’s thriving skateboard culture of the late ’70s/early ’80s. Leader and singer Mike Muir originally intended for the group to be a part-time party band on the Venice, CA, punk scene and skatepark circuit, but the Suicidal quickly evolved into one of the first punk/thrash crossover successes, gaining a following so rabid that they actually considered themselves a gang. The Suicidal Cycos, as they called themselves, had various local chapters in cites across Southern California and as far away as San Antonio, Texas. The band also gained infamy due to the culture of violence involving gang clashes at many of their early shows.
The group would disband and reunite several times over the years with Muir being the only consistent member and splitting time between Suicidal and his other band, Infectious Grooves. Now considered elder statesmen of the thrash world, Suicidal Tendencies is currently on tour with Slayer and Exodus and recently turned in a rousing hometown set at Los Angeles’ famed Forum. Conspicuously absent from the set that night though was one of their biggest hits, “Institutionalized.” Many younger readers may be vaguely familiar with the song, as it was recently covered by Ice T and his metal band Body Count with modernized lyrics, but the original is still revered as one of the watershed moments of the crossover thrash movement.
Here is Suicidal Tendencies with the official video for “Institutionalized” off of their eponymous 1983 debut album, Suicidal Tendencies. All they wanted was a Pepsi!