Former SUICIDAL TENDENCIES Guitarist ROCKY GEORGE Interviewed - Mar. 19, 2010

10:02 AM / Posted by metallic sucker and moslem militan /

David Konow of GuitarWorld.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with former SUICIDAL TENDENCIES guitarist Rocky George. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

GuitarWorld.com: Why do you feel SUICIDAL was willing to do things differently when a lot of bands weren't?

Rocky George: I think it had a lot to do with the mindset of everybody. Maybe where we come from, too, and not conforming. I remember we were really proud of looking at old pictures. There weren't too many pictures where we looked at and went, "Oh my God, I can't believe what I'm wearing." That goes for the music too. We were just naturally doing what we wanted to do, what we felt like doing. I can't see how you can be ashamed of something when you're doing what you want to do.

GuitarWorld.com: The first SUICIDAL album is considered an important album in the metal/punk crossover. Did you feel it was a natural evolution that those genres would come together?

Rocky George: I never really thought about it back then. I don't really remember a drastic overnight change. I think it was gradual enough, because even in the early days we had a mixed crowd. In the mosh pit there were people with long hair, some mohawks, some skinheads and people with bandanas. I guess in some aspects it was good, because it seemed like the audience was getting bigger. There was a point, I think after we did that tour in '91 with QUEENSRĊ¸CHE, when it started boosting a little more with the metal people.

GuitarWorld.com: The song "Institutionalized" was popular on underground radio, and the video got a lot of play on cable. Did you ever think that song would be a hit?

Rocky George: No [laughs]. Like I was saying about back then in '84, there were a lot of different kinds of people at the shows, especially in different cities. There would be a completely different type of crowd in every city and it had a lot to do with the video being played in clubs. In '84, '85, maybe a little in '86, a lot of videos they were playing on MTV were being played in dance clubs and bars and a lot of people were turned on to the band from seeing the video there. A lot of the videos we did were requested a lot, but MTV had a problem playing us. Someone there didn't like the name of the band so we were pushed to only a certain time of the day. We didn't break into the prime-time afternoon rotation. But I don't think we expected to be embraced by MTV that much at the time. Later on in the '90's we asked, "What do we have to do?" I forgot what video it was, but there was one we tried to obey their rules.

GuitarWorld.com: By the early '90's SUICIDAL played a big show at Irvine Meadows that went fine, then you were playing L.A. regularly after that.

Rocky George: It got to the point where we were selling a good number of records and making good crowds in some of these others cities. We were playing San Francisco a lot and promoters saw, "Okay, we can make some money." I guess it was a matter of finding the right venue for people to realize it wasn't going to be a problem.

GuitarWorld.com: So how did it feel to play L.A. after all that time?

Rocky George: It was nice. It was good.

GuitarWorld.com: Was this the tour you did with PANTERA opening?

Rocky George: We played the Bren Center with them in Irvine in 1990. That was the third show of the tour but that was PANTERA's first show with us. Actually, I didn't even see them. It took me until Denver to see them and when I did I was an instant fan. I thought they were really amazing and I knew they were gonna start taking off because they were really good. They had a lot of energy. They had integrity, they enjoyed what they were doing and they meant what they were doing. Dimebag was an awesome guy. We got along real well. We had a lot of similarities.

GuitarWorld.com: Watching Dime then, did you feel he would go on to be a guitar hero?

Rocky George: I thought he was already there. He was completely refined. It was just a matter of people seeing him. It's funny because I didn't know that by the time we were playing with them that Dave Mustaine asked him to join MEGADETH. He would not have worked good with Dave. Their personalities just wouldn't mesh. But the fact that Dave saw that in him too, I figured more people would know. I think he made a good decision not taking that. He said he was bribed with shoes [laughs]. And free guitars.

Read the entire interview from GuitarWorld.com.

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