Mike ‘Cyco Miko’ Muir on Being a Frontman and Family Man
Mike Muir, aka Cyco Miko, is a veteran rocker who has always done things his way. The release of his latest album, appropriately titled ‘The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour (Part 1)’ makes fans of his bands Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves very happy.
‘The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour’ is a 14 track compilation album features material from both Infectious Grooves and Suicidal Tendencies. The release includes appearances by Robert Trujillo (now with Metallica), Fletcher Dragge (Pennywise) and drummer Brooks Wackerman (currently with Bad Religion).
Loudwire recently caught up with Muir, who not only proves to be a passionate frontman but a dedicated family man, as well. He talks touring, the new album, stories from back in the day and his beloved children.
Tell me a little about your new album ‘The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour.'
Basically I guess the difference with this between most records, a lot of times when someone’s in a band they go in there and it’s been a bit of time to go and do a record and you go in there and write songs specifically for a record. This is more music that we’ve done, different projects we’ve been involved with, or different times we just went into the studio or while we were on vacation and had extra time and we recorded with a lot of different people. So we put some new Suicidal, a couple new Infectious tracks some old ones that were never released and then a bunch of different projects at different times some of them the way they were intended to be released.
With it being a compilation of unreleased tracks and new songs, how did you decide what to include?
Because there was so much stuff we had to narrow it down, some of it, because some people wouldn’t sign off on it, some people said, “I don’t want that on there,” some different people that we’ve played with before. We did a Hendrix cover song and they wouldn’t sign off on it so that eliminated a lot of different things. Basically we didn’t want to make too much sense, to be too thought out and to fit together chronologically, the analogy we use is that crazy roller coaster ride, a lot of turns this and that but at the end of the day it has to make sense without breaking your back and giving you whiplash.
It contains guest spots from Robert Trujillo, Fletcher Dragge and Brooks Wackerman, What was it like to work with these guys?
Brooks was in Suicidal and when we use to rehearse, he was a funny guy. He got Bobby [Robert Trujillo] who would always have a funny story or something. One day he was like, “Dude go to the studio over there and watch that drummer, you’re going to be amazed” and I’m like “Okay I just got here, they’re setting me up” and later on he was like “Did you go by there?” and I don’t know who’s in there or what’s going on but they want me to go in there too much, I’m not going in there.
So one time I was walking by the studio and I was like “Wow, who is that? It doesn’t sound like anybody I could think of especially in the early '90s somebody going off was like, “Wow that’s not something you hear very often.” And I was a little curious, so finally the curiosity got to me and I went in there and there’s this tall, little lanky guy playing like “Hey how’re you doing?” [Laughs] A little bit after that, we needed a drummer with Infectious so we decided to try him out and then we got him playing in Suicidal shortly after that. So that was my first experience with Brooks and it was a really good situation.
Fletcher, basically I’ve known over the years and I thought it would be cool to have Fletcher on it, so he played on it and I told him our engineer had a shirt that says “Fletcher is my Homeboy” and it’s just the coolest shirt I ever saw, he came down and had a bunch and I said “Oh you had some around” and he goes “No I went to the printing place and made them make it, feel how hot it is” [Laughs] so Fletcher is my homeboy.
Tell me a little about why you decided to create Suicidal Records.
Originally when we first started, there was nothing else, no other way to do it and as we started touring more we just didn’t have the time to do it. Now, obviously with the way record labels are there’s really no other reason to do it than to do it yourself. I have enough fights with myself I don’t need to have fights with other people. Sometimes I have a hard time understanding myself let alone trying to explain myself to other people also, so it’s much better, much easier. You should put it out yourself, there’s no other reason not to.
You recently played a few New York area shows. Are you planning a full tour in support of the album?
We got Suicidal tours coming up at the beginning of next year, things are looking pretty good for next year anyhow. It’s hard enough to do Suicidal and Infectious as it is and have enough time and be able to do the right things and then still be able to take care of your responsibilities as a human being and a family and stuff like that. [Editor's Note: Suicidal Tendencies are embarking on a European tour with Biohazard in January 2012. See the dates here.]
Speaking of family, are your kids little punk rockers or do they completely rebel against the music?
[Laughs] Well the two youngest are eight months and two years old so of course they rebel; they’re great kids. I’m one of those ones before my first son was born, everybody goes “Is he going to be a musician?” this and that, I got heavy ambitions for him, I just want him to be happy, just be happy. Whatever path it is I hope he’s not a musician but it’s not what I want him to be. I just want him to be happy and to find out what’s best and it’s my job to expose him to as many cool stuff as possible and let him decide what he likes and that goes with all the kids.
To me there’s certain things like the first show that they go to is special, for me, my youngest when out there with me to Australia and it was his first show. The middle one, we played in L.A last year, we all flew out there and it was a big festival and he had just turned one and we wondered how he was going to react he had the headphones on, he took them off and just started shaking his head and he wanted to go onstage with dad and stuff.
My oldest son, he’s funny; he goes, “Dad I know why people like you, you got style, you’re not like those other guys, you get up there and you’re like “Ah!” they just stand there and they’re boring, you’re not boring so that’s why they like you.”
Are Suicidal Tendencies or Infectious Grooves working on any new material?
Suicidal Tendencies, we basically got three records done. It’s just putting them together in a time frame and then the touring. Infectious is right behind, but you can’t be in two places at once, you know we don’t want to do anything unless we actually want to do it and I know for a lot of people they haven’t been doing it for as long as we have. They kind of just want to go on the road because they don’t like their life, they don’t like their family and I’m the opposite, so when they’re older I don’t want them to say “Dad why are you running around the world for and you weren’t there for me?” I want there to be a situation where they know if I’m not there, there’s a good reason for it.
We know when to say “no” and we do things for the right reason. Everything we do, it’s something we want to do, it’s something cool, not just because someone called up and we’re like “well we got nothing better to do.” It’s just that certain standard and I think that’s why we’re able to be here almost thirty years later where if we just did things that other people thought were good opportunities or smart, I wouldn’t be here now.
You've inspired so many bands over the years. Are there any new and current bands that inspire you?
You know what it’s one of those ones where you say something and it sounds bad, but people say to me “when are you going to quit?” and I go, “When I hear a band that I don’t know what the hell is going on but it’s actually brilliant then that’s when I definitely will stop.” I would love for that to happen but there’s nothing new that really gotten there, it’s just kind of regurgitation. People are just doing the same things over and over. I like it when people do things where I have to sit there and go, “Whoa is this intentional?” [Laughs] “Did they just f--- up and realize that it’s brilliant or they just don’t know what they’re doing?”
Everybody always says everything’s been done but that’s what people said a long time ago too and that’s part of the problem, I would prefer people sit there and try to do something like, “What could we do that’s actually different, that’s actually better that hasn’t been done” rather than “how do we sound like this band without being too much of a rip off and hoping to get all of their audience.”