Luicidal is a band headed up by former Suicidal Tendencies bass player Louichi Mayorga who helped write songs on the debut ST album as well as on their follow up “Join The Army”. After being asked to leave Suicidal Tendencies Louichi stayed clear of playing in punk bands but jumped back into it in 2012 when he put together the band Luicidal. They put out a self-titled debut in 2014 and just a few weeks ago they released their follow up “Born In Venice”. The magic of the internet allowed us to get in touch with the Luicidal camp and on October 21st we spoke with Mr. Mayorga by phone to try and find out more about this band and their new album which is one of the better ones we have got sent in this year. Check out what Louichi had to say…
IE: Hey Louie, where are you at right now and what’s going on in your day?
Louichi: Right now I am at home in beautiful Venice Beach, CA making some food. I have a girlfriend from up North and her neighbor has about 30 cows. He slaughters a cow every couple of months, not like commercial or anything. What they do is they have a butcher cut up the meat. It’s organic dude, some real good shit, ya know? I have a freezer full of stuff! I got ribs and a brisket. I got my kids here and were gonna get down in the kitchen.
IE: You are well known for being the bass player on the first Suicidal Tendencies album that came out in 1983, wrote songs on that album as well as on the follow up “Join The Army”. How did you land the bassist spot with ST and how did your time with the band come to a close and why?
Louichi: I joined the band in the summer of ’81. I knew Mike off and on since 9th grade. I had already been playing bass for a while at that point, Led Zeppelin was my band. We got to talking and he was asking if I knew any bass players and I said “yeah, I play bass” and I remember him asking if I could play with my 4th finger and I was like “yeah”… so I got like an interview or sort of jam with them and I got the gig. I was in the band until 1988. He told me to leave because he wanted a better bass player. I think he was trying to tell me that they were advancing as a band. Become more progressive. Rocky George (ST Guitarist) was really into jazz and progressive stuff. I think it may have been an excuse too. I think it was a personal thing where I was just a poor Mexican dude just having fun and I didn’t take it serious. That mother fucker took it serious. It was all about business at that point, especially after the popularity from the first album. I want to tell you what I feel and what I feel happened. There were a couple of things that I felt were my fault too but if he would have talked to me we could have fixed things or whatever.
IE: You ended up leaving Suicidal Tendencies in 1988 and Luicidal started in 2012. That is a really long time to be away from playing the type of punk rock that you are doing once again. What changed in your life that made you want to put together a band like this?
Louichi: I was working with Fishbone, I had a new kid, I had no money, and I was struggling. I was a stagehand for Fishbone at the time and Rocky George was the guitar player for them, go figure. On the first night out they played “Institutionalized” in a medley and the kids went nuts. After seeing that on the tour I starting thinking “I should be doing this”. I was playing in a ska/reggae band called Horny Toad, I worked with Cypress Hill on tour, I played bass, I played with H.R. and a handful of other bands but not my own. I wanted to get out on the road again and do what I love.
IE: The new record Luicidal just put out called “Born In Venice” has a lot of diversity with straight up punk tracks, ska stuff and overall is not really a straight up punk sounding record. Can you talk about this records diverse sounds?
Louichi: When I got set to do this album I was working on songs, and there were times where I would have like a brain fart for a few days. I was looking at my Horny Toad shit and I said damn, let me see if I can take some of those songs and make them work for this album. Even if they were not the same speed they could work rhythmically. I took some of those songs and redid them, changed the lyrics to fit more of the punk stuff. Horny Toad put out a record in the 90’s and we still play. Horny Toad here on the Westside is bigger than Luicidal but that’s about to change. I was a little nervous because people were used to hearing me do a certain sound. As an artist and as a human being I am always evolving, thank God. As far as the newer songs that are on there I am pretty blessed that I am still able to do what I want. I think I still got it in the punk rock department. “Punk Chick” is a song that’s a little different. That’s an old song that I did with Suicidal Tendencies in like 1983. We did a party with Black Flag where we took all the pictures for the first album. We did the song “Punk Chick” at that party even though it wasn’t ready really. I’ve also played it with Horny Toad too cause it sounds great. It’s been changed up now but the gist of it, the bass line and the drums are the same. Mike was singing “hey man, don’t tell no-one, hey man I think I fucked a punk chick”. It was so fucking good but we never did nothing with it.
IE: Are you writing most of the new songs?
Louichi: Most of them I did.
IE: I still have not heard the first Luicidal record which was a self-titled album that came out in 2014. Are there noticeable differences between that one and the new one?
Louichi: I think this new one is a little bit better but they both have some bad ass shit on them. That album was more like where I left off with “Join The Army” era Suicidal. If you haven’t heard it yet you gotta go hear it.
IE: Going back to the “Born In Venice” title what was it like growing up there and how did you and your friends find out about punk rock?
Louichi: My family and I are like fixtures here. I am the youngest brother, there were 9 of us. I had 2 of my older brothers die in this neighborhood. It was really bad, there were no white boys here and if you were white you were bad ass. Jay Adams was here, ya know what I mean? Drug dealers were here, blacks and Mexicans. It was the ghetto by the sea. I could never surf good so I was like fuck it and that’s how we got into music. When I was growing up we were not into punk rock yet but when I joined ST they were already popular on the Westside in the underground, like all the kids, all the cute punk chicks, high schoolers, I was 18 and it was just this cool scene. We were all Suicidal’s on the Westside of LA. We would all meet up and go to gigs. My family comes from a background of Mexican gangs. My brother was in the mafia and his job was to kill people, he was a hit man. He would pull me one way, bringing heroine home from Tijuana. He passed away a week after the first ST record came out, right before we went out on a little tour. That tour helped me to kind of handle his passing, ya know?
IE: You paint a picture of hard times back then and you are still living there now. What is Venice like now?
Louichi: It’s all gentrified man! It’s now like “Oh my God, your amazing!”, everyone has a big ass beard, ya know? They are not too friendly… they don’t wave, they are not like you and me.
CLICK BELOW TO WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR "INSTITUCIONALIZADO" BY LUICIDAL
IE: On the new record you have a remake of the old ST classic “Institutionalized” sung in Spanish with a female singer. Please tell us more about her and how this remake came to be?
Louichi: When we signed to Cleopatra Records, Ryan the owner was saying he wanted us to do it in Spanish. I thought it was a good idea but I really didn’t want to re-record anything off that first ST album. That was a good idea and then I am thinking, well, with who? Ceci Bastida (who is the singer on this track) I thought would be bad ass. She is quick with her voice and she is in LA. We got it to her and it was like boom, it was so easy to do. She did it and owned it. That fast part in that song? She owns that shit. She was in this real political punk band from Mexico called Tijuana No! Punk en Espanol.
IE: Your singer Mando was ok with sitting this remake out?
Louichi: Hey homie, the name of the band is Luicidal, not Mando-cidal. It is my band and that’s what I wanted to do. I got like 3 singers, 2 guitar players, 3 drummers with RJ Herrera (Ex-Suicidal Tendencies) being one of them. I am 55 years old and I wanted to do my own thing here. (This question went a little off topic but here are some facts that we clarified afterwards: Chris Abbott from Horny Toad sings on the track “ST Posse”, “One Steel Soldier” was sung by Dale Henderson from Beowulf, another Venice band who would tour with Suicidal Tendencies way back, Mando Ochoa is their primary singer who is also in the band Sick Sense, Rocky George (ex-Suicidal Tendencies) plays guitar on the “Institutionalized” remake and also “I Win, You Lose”, and Kevin Guercio who was in No Mercy sings on the track “Fuck You”
IE: The fact that Luicidal has a studio singer (Mando Ochoa) and a touring singer (Mike Avilez) is due to what? Working a regular job and can’t get the time off?
IE: You are in the process of making a video for the song “One Steel Soldier” which is the closing track and a track that stands out so much because it is really hard to describe since it has an almost country music feel, I even think it could be put into a power ballad type of category in some ways too.
Louichi: That song is my personal masterpiece. I have been playing that song for years. It is an old Horny Toad song. The music is like 20-something years old. I wanted to get this song recorded on album before I never would get a chance to. First and foremost I wanted to record it in a good studio, I didn’t want the song to die. The song is really soulful, it is kind of country but I don’t really know what it is, ya know? I have played it for some really gnarly jazz musician dudes and they all loved it. Dale Henderson who is singing on that track is singing about Mike Muir.
IE: What are the lyrics about?
Louichi: In the song he is singing “wave your flag, wave it high” and he is talking about the whole Suicidal “brand”. In the background someone is saying “Fuck that” in Spanish. There is also a part where he is saying Doobie and that is a reference to the old TV show What’s Happening where Re-Run got caught stealing music from the Doobie Brothers by bootlegging a concert. He is singing about Mike Muir and the songs that I wrote that he stole from me and from other people. It is about Mike Muir but it is not so direct and more on the down low.
IE: Now that you are out there playing shows in the hardcore punk circuit again what are some of the major changes you notice from back in the day?
Louichi: I see more of the grindcore type of stuff (making grunting type vocals imitation). It is not my cup of tea but some of it is good, I like some of the music.
IE: Before we wrap this up was there anything else that you wanted to add?
Louichi: I don’t know man, this music ain’t for everybody. I feel like I wrote some pretty bad ass punk shit, heavy metal crossover shit back in the day with Suicidal Tendencies and with this album I am trying to pick up where I left off. That was my mindset with the hooks, the riffs, the energy and the way I played my bass on this album. I was trying to replicate the things I already did but with more twists like crossover in a different way by bringing in some more ska into the punk. After getting kicked out of Suicidal Tendencies I started Horny Toad cause I couldn’t face any of my metal friends and be around that whole scene cause it just hurt too much. That’s why I disappeared. So now I am putting the ska and reggae feel into this punk rock stuff and it works. There are good riffs, good guitar, good music that will make your head nod to it. Go get it, check it out, if you don’t like it send it back!