Infectious Grooves / Cyco Miko
Funk It Up & Punk It Up: Live In France ’95
Grey-haired punks, a Ramones sticker on the back of a Cadillac Escalade, and respectable middle aged middle managers with barbed wire tattoos under their Merona shirts — it is a stranger new century. One of the punk bands that got heavy MTV rotation back in the stone ages was Suicidal Tendencies and their great comment on parental misunderstanding “Institutionalized.” Founder and sole remaining member Mike Muir shifted gears a bit and performed as Cyco Miko for a few years, and also pulled together a modern super group called Infectious Grooves. Where did “Cyco Miko” come from? It’s his high school nickname — Psycho Mike-o. Get it? Huh? Yeah, I don’t either. Back in 1995, Cyco and Infectious toured France and 15 years later they got around to sending us this double CD. Why it took this long to release is one of those rock ‘n’ roll mysteries someone will write a PhD thesis on someday.
The music is fast, vicious, and very similar to the original Suicidal Tendencies sound. Miko wraps his possibly balding head with a doo rag, but his vocals are right up there with his best early stuff. There are great punk titles like “FUBAR” and “I Love Destruction,” and the backing band rips the sidewalk like a skate punk without a helmet or knee pads. The crowd is 100% behind him and despite the bad rap we give the French, it’s clear they appreciate fine art, whether on canvas or on a thrash punk stage. Disc 2 features the Infectious Grooves performance, which is a little slower and bluesier than Cyco Miko’s. Members of Jane’s Addiction (Stephen Perkins), Excel (Adam Siegel), and Metallica (Robert Trujillo) make this sound more like a heavy metal show than a punk event. Here we find the vocals buried under the guitars, song titles are more complex and less strident (“Turtle Wax,” “Boom Boom Boom”), but the audience is still turned up to 11. While not as crisp as studio recordings, these two concerts are still completely listenable and a good look at where people go after fads and media spit them out. These guys were, are, and will likely remain some of the best thrash around.