The Suicidal Tendencies Bus Incident - May 10, 1987

The Suicidal Tendencies Bus Incident - May 10, 1987

The following is an excerpt from the book No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens by Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico. All photos by Ken Salerno except for bus photo by Art Ring.

Suicidal Tendencies/McRad/Jersey Fresh – May 10, 1987, A Mother of a Sunday…

Jamie Davis (City Gardens regular): That was an amazing night. It was on Mother’s Day, which was kind of funny. Suicidal did “I Saw Your Mommy and Your Mommy’s Dead” as a “special” Mother’s Day song.

Chuck Treece (McRad): I remember what went down at that show. It was crazy. It had nothing to do with us. I remember being there early, hanging out, and [Suicidal Tendencies singer] Mike Muir and the band pulled up in a tour bus. A real nice black tour bus.

Randy Now: Suicidal had a real tour bus. It wasn’t a van and it wasn’t a Winnebago. This was after I had tour-managed them, so I wasn’t with them when they came in this bus. I was the first guy to think up renting Winnebagos from U-Haul for bands. Anthrax and a few other more successful bands rented them. They would beat the shit out of it, and a band would always go through two or three on a tour. U-Haul would come out and give you a fresh one when they broke down, which they inevitably would do. It was always something. The toilet would clog or the engine would burn out. Not surprisingly, after two or three years, U-Haul did away with their Winnebago rentals.

Tracy Parks-Pattik (City Gardens staff): Randy lived right around the corner from me, and one time this Winnebago is parked at his house. I wondered why he had a Winnebago, and it turns out it was Suicidal Tendencies. They came over to my house, and I remember a five-gallon jug of wine. Mikey Muir got me drunk as hell, and I was a young girl I was fucking 16! They went swimming in our pool while we were all really drunk. It was fucking Suicidal Tendencies in Bordentown, New Jersey—fucking suburbia! It was fun as shit.

Randy Now: I toured with Suicidal, and at a place in Florida we KNEW we got ripped off by the promoter. He made so much money, there were so many people there, but he refused to give us a bonus. Meanwhile, we took a crappy guarantee, because we knew so many people were going to show up that we’d get the bonus. But this promoter was horrible. We were the last ones to leave the club… even the promoter was gone. So, we dumped all the raw sewage from the Winnebago out in the parking lot, right at the front door. That’ll get you.

Tony Lee (City Gardens regular): Suicidal had gone real metal at that point. I couldn’t get away from all this metal!

Dave Franklin (Vision): The Family trashed the bus that night. Suicidal showed up in a tour bus and The Family called them sell-outs. They trashed the entire bus. That kid Dave was involved, and afterwards Mike Muir went up to Randy and asked, “Who did this to our bus?” Randy said, “Some guys in The Family,” and Mike asked, “How do I get to them?” Well, Mike got information on how to get to Dave’s house. Dave was living with his dad at the time. There was a knock at the front door, and the Suicidal guys were standing there. They dragged him out and beat him down.

Randy Now: We heard it was this kid Dave who smashed the windows on the bus, and two of the bouncers knew where he lived. They went to his house, and either they kicked the shit out of him on the front porch or Mike broke windows at his house. Something like that. I don’t know how that all went down.

John (City Gardens bouncer): This kid Dave had lived in California and had seen Suicidal play. The story I got was that he went up to Mike Muir after a show to get a signature and Mike blew him off. So, this kid moves back to Jersey and comes to the show, and by this point Suicidal are huge. They have a big fancy tour bus. After the show, this kid breaks out one whole side of windows on the bus.

Tony Lee: I don’t think I backed Dave up on that whole thing. He had a beef with them for whatever reason. I think he took the whole “selling out” thing personal. But I could see the guys in the band being really pissed about [the bus]. These 15 and 16-year-old kids were always causing trouble and breaking shit, and making it difficult for bands to come and play at City Gardens. It was punk, obviously, but it still had to be a huge headache for Randy.

Chuck Treece: I remember somebody threw a big-ass rock through their window, and it got really fucking heavy at the end of the show because of their bodyguards. I knew Mike Muir through the whole skating thing. His brother Jim Muir was an old Dog Town guy from back in the day. We had that whole thing: Suicidal, McRad, and members of Excel, and all those West Coast guys. I remember going to an Excel show out at a place called The Country Club in Reseda California, and it was like the whole nation of their people was out there. If you weren’t in with their crew, the shit was just wild.


Suicidal Tendencies' bus in the aftermath photo by Art ring.


Tony Lee: Some people felt a sense of entitlement when it came to City Gardens, and Randy wasn’t having any of that.

Randy Now: I’ve seen Mike Muir kick some ass in Miami, by himself. Two guys walked past us and called him a “wetback.” He looked at me and said, “Let’s get them” and— hell—I’ve never had a fight in my life, and I’m with the freaking strongest guy in the world. I walked on, but he turned around, and I watched him from a distance kick these two guys’ asses. And then he invited them to the show!

Chuck Treece: I remember talking to Mike outside, and he was highly pissed off because he had to pay for all that damage, and their bodyguards went off and crushed a couple of dudes. They played a show, and then came out to find their bus completely destroyed. That would never go on today, unless someone had a specific beef with you or something. They weren’t being rock stars. I mean, they were playing City Gardens! Minimal security, just a hall, a stage, and a PA, and they still kept it ‘core. Most bands, if they get on a tour bus now, their ego is completely out of control. That was like a $5,000 repair on a tour bus. After the show let out, it got fucking ugly. It got ugly quick, and it wasn’t cool. I could only imagine the pressure that was on Mike Muir’s head. He had to pay for that shit. It had to come out of his ass, so I think he was like, “I’m gonna take it out of somebody’s ass…” Sometimes people just don’t know who they’re messing with… Mike is that way. There’s no getting past it.

John (City Gardens bouncer): Another bouncer and I take Mike Muir out in a station wagon, driving through Trenton, looking for this kid’s house. We can’t find it, and Mike is just sitting in the back of the car, all quiet. No one’s even talking. Since we can’t find the place, we decide to pick up a prostitute. She’s thinking what we want is not what we want. She’s propositioning us, and the other bouncer is like, “Just shut up and tell us how to find this address. We’ll pay.” She directs us there—we give her $25 or whatever—and at the house we see two vans out in the front for some plumbing or electrical contractor. I guess it was his dad or uncle. I get into the driver’s seat, Mike and the other bouncer get out, and all you hear are windows breaking. Can you imagine coming out to work in the morning and finding that? And they got back in the car and left.

Carl Humenik (City Gardens security): I’ve heard the story, and the other bouncers would have no reason to lie to me. They did damage the trucks parked in front of the house, but they didn’t beat the crap out of anyone. I wouldn’t blame them if they did, though.

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