Mike Muir.

Being in a much-loved, influential, veteran band seems a pretty sweet gig. People will turn out in droves to watch you play and the strength of your back catalogue is so great that even if new albums are of a poorer quality, it's usually forgiven.

But that's not how Suicidal Tendencies see things. Despite being beloved in metal and punk circles, and remaining highly active when it comes to touring, the LA innovators haven't put out an album of new material since 2000 because they don't want to release anything inferior to their previous work. However, fans will be happy to know when The Wire catches up with chatty frontman Mike Muir, he's taking a break from recording the band's long-awaited ninth album.

"For us, if this was the first record we were doing we'd have put out a bunch of stuff already by now," he says.

"But for us, next year's the 30th anniversary of our debut record and people still say that's a killer record. So we want to do a record that 10 years from now, 20 years from now, people will still want to listen to it, or when they hear it for the first time still say 'That's a great f...ing record'."

Muir tentatively says the album could be out in March next year but West Australians can catch the group's incendiary live show before then when they play Metropolis Fremantle in the week before Christmas.

And Perth fans can be sure of getting a good show. Much like their approach to releasing music, Suicidal Tendencies take their live show seriously and are aware they have a legacy to uphold.

In fact, quite remarkably for a band so long in the entertainment biz, Muir and co have remained remarkably on track the whole time; there is no cringe-inducing pop-punk/nu-metal/ whatever-trend-is-popular-at-the-time album in their back catalogue, and despite a few wrinkles and extra kilos, their press photos look much the same today as they did in the 1980s.

Muir says this stubborn refusal to do anything they don't want to do has forged a lengthy career and it all stems from a piece of fatherly advice.

"My dad said 'Regret lasts forever, think before you do things, the most important lesson to learn is to be able to say no and mean it'," Muir says.

"And we've said no to a lot of things, and I've never regretted saying no. We've done a lot of things and done it our way and never changed for the wrong reasons.

"I'm glad there are no pictures where it's like 'Oh my god, I can't believe you used to look like that'."

Suicidal Tendencies play Metropolis Fremantle with Unwritten Law and the Dudesons on December 19. Tickets through Oztix.

The West Australian

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