The Suicide Machines
The Suicide Machines
|Origin||Detroit, Michigan, United States|
|Years active||1991–2006, 2009–present|
|Labels||Hollywood, Side One Dummy, Fat Wreck Chords, Noise Riot|
|Associated acts||Hellmouth, Blueprint 76, Against All Authority, Break Anchor, Left In Ruin, Hifi Handgrenades, Alkaline Trio, Telegraph, The Vandals, Thoughts of Ionesco, Gyga, Derek Grant, Dead Ending, The Grande Nationals, The A-Gang, Bastardous, Nipon, Bourgeois Filth, Rebel Spies, J Navarro & The Traitors.|
|Past members||Jason Brake|
The Suicide Machines are an American punk rock band formed in March 1991 in Detroit, Michigan and disbanded in May 2006. Since 2009, the band has occasionally played reunion shows. During the course of their career the band released seven full-length albums on the labels Hollywood Records and Side One Dummy Records. Though they experienced several lineup changes over the years, founding members Jason Navarro and Dan Lukacinsky remained regular fixtures. The band's musical style initially blended elements of punk rock, ska, and hardcore into genres popularly known as ska punk and ska-core, which characterized their first two albums. During the middle of their career they shifted gears, moving away from this sound and producing two albums with a heavy pop rock influence. Their next two albums moved back towards their mid-1990s style, bringing back heavy ska punk and hardcore elements.
Despite being signed to a major record label for their first four albums, The Suicide Machines did not experience significant mainstream success. However, they did achieve a relatively high level of underground recognition through relentless touring, including multiple performances on the Warped Tour. This trend continued when the band moved to an independent label for their last four years, before their breakup brought an abrupt end to the band's career.
In 2019, the band entered Marc Jacob Hudson's Rancho Recordo, with producer Roger Lima of Less Than Jake to record a new full-length album, which was released March 27, 2020, via Fat Wreck Chords, their first album in 15 years.
1991-1995: Jack Kevorkian and the Suicide Machines
The Suicide Machines formed in 1991 in Detroit, Michigan under the original name Jack Kevorkian and the Suicide Machines. The band's original lineup consisted of Jason Navarro on vocals, Dan Lukacinsky on guitar, Jason Brake on bass, and Stefan Rairigh on drums. This lineup lasted a year until Bill Jennings replaced Rairigh, but he was soon replaced by Derek Grant. They recorded the band's first demos The Essential Kevorkian and Green World in 1993 and 1994, both released through their own label Sluggo's Old Skool Records. They also released the "Vans Song" 7" single on Youth Rendition Records. Brake left the group in 1994 and was briefly replaced by Dave Smith until Royce Nunley joined as the new permanent bass player. The lineup of Navarro, Lukacinsky, Nunley, and Grant would last for the next four years. This lineup reduced the band's name to The Suicide Machines and recorded the Skank for Brains split album with The Rudiments.
1996-2001: Hollywood Records years
In 1995 the band signed to Hollywood Records, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. 1996 saw the release of their first album, Destruction by Definition. Its blend of punk rock and ska brought them national attention in the midst of the mid-1990s punk rock mainstream revival. The single "No Face" became a minor hit on modern rock radio stations and the album was supported through extensive touring across the United States. They released a follow-up in 1998 entitled Battle Hymns, which continued their ska punk style while incorporating more aggressive elements of hardcore punk and sociopolitical lyrics, with nearly all of its songs lasting under two minutes in length.
Following the release of Battle Hymns Grant left the band. He went on to play with numerous groups including Thoughts of Ionesco, The Vandals, Face to Face, and Telegraph before finding a permanent position in the Alkaline Trio. He was replaced by Erin Pitman for some touring before new permanent drummer Ryan Vandeberghe joined. In 2000 this lineup released The Suicide Machines, a more pop rock oriented effort that moved away from the ska influences of their earlier releases. They received some radio and video play for the single "Sometimes I Don't Mind" and performed on the Warped Tour that summer. In 2001 they released Steal This Record, which continued their exploration of pop punk style while mixing in elements of their earlier ska punk and hardcore albums.
2002-2005: Side One Dummy Records years
Following touring in support of Steal This Record bassist Nunley left The Suicide Machines to start his own band, Blueprint 76, and was replaced by Rich Tschirhart. The band also ended their contract with Hollywood Records, fulfilling their contractual obligations by releasing the compilation album The Least Worst of the Suicide Machines. They then moved to the independent label Side One Dummy Records. Their next album A Match and Some Gasoline, released in 2003, found the band abandoning the pop experimentations of their previous two albums and returning more to the ska punk and hardcore styles of their earlier years. They also continued exploring sociopolitical themes in songs such as "Did You Ever Get a Feeling of Dread?" and "Your Silence," which were critical of President George W. Bush's administration, its response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They toured internationally in support of the album and again performed on the Warped Tour.
In 2005 the band released the album War Profiteering is Killing Us All, which continued their political themes by openly attacking the Bush White House, the continuation of the Iraq War, and conservative Republicanism. Navarro also launched his own record label, Noise Riot Records, and released On the Eve of Destruction: 1991-1995, a compilation of the band's early EPs, singles, and demos.
2006-2008: Breakup and post-Suicide Machines activity
In 2006, while touring in support of War Profiteering is Killing Us All, the band abruptly broke up. Explanations given by the band members for this included Vandeberghe's desire to take a break from touring, which he did while friend Steve McCrumb filled for a performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on May 11. A tour of Mexico had been planned to follow this, and Navarro had suggested that the band perform its final shows that Christmas. However, interpersonal tensions came to a head after the Troubadour show when Lukacinsky refused to finish the tour. Lukacinsky himself further elaborated that the band had been planning to break up for some time.
Following the band's breakup Navarro and Vandeberghe continued working with Left in Ruin, a band they had started as a Suicide Machines side project and had worked on and off with for almost 6 years. Vandeberghe also joined the new band Hifi Handgrenades, and Tschirhart joined the band soon after. Later, Tschirhart formed another band called The A-Gang with former Mest drummer Nick Gigler. Lukacinsky, meanwhile, started his own band Bayonetting the Wounded, who broke up after a few demo recordings. He then moved to Japan and formed The One Thought Moment. Early 2008, Navarro formed another Detroit band, Hellmouth, in which he is back on lead vocals. In 2011, Navarro formed a new band called Break Anchor. Bassist Rich Tschirhart also went on to form Bastardous with former Mest drummer, Nick Gigler. In 2013, drummer Ryan Vandeberghe teamed up with current and former members of Telegraph, Hellmouth, Hifi Handgrenades, ForDireLifeSake, and others to form the band Rebel Spies.
2009-2019: Reunion shows
In late 2009, The Suicide Machines, with Hellmouth drummer Justin Malek replacing Lukacinsky on guitar, reunited for a benefit concert in Detroit.
On July 24, 2010, The Suicide Machines performed at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit. In October, The Suicide Machines performed at The Fest 9. On October 8, 2011 The Suicide Machines reunited to play Riot Fest 2011 in Chicago, with a handful of reunion shows preceding.
Throughout 2012, 2013, and 2014, the band continued to play one-off shows around the U.S., including annual December shows in their native Detroit with the Black Christmas fests.
On August 16, 2014, The Suicide Machines headlined with Lower Class Brats, Suburban Legends and Morning Glory for the Summergrind 2014 show in Denver, Colorado.
In April 2015, the band embarked on a two-week tour of the midwestern and east coast United States with former drummer Derek Grant, performing their 1996 album, 'Destruction By Definition', in its entirety at all shows.
The band will play the Vans Warped Tour this summer for four dates: Cuyahoga Falls, Cincinnati, Noblesville, and Auburn Hills. On May 18, 2017, it was announced that The Suicide Machines would be headlining the New Generation of Ska Festival in Seoul, South Korea on August 19.
The band played a show with The Code on May 25, 2018 in Lawrenceville, PA and announced that they were working on new material, and will return with a new record. They performed some of the new songs at Black Christmas in Detroit in December 2018. The record is supposed to be coming out on Fat Wreck Chords sometime in 2019 or 2020. The band plays local shows throughout the year and occasionally does short tours and one-off shows around the world.
According to Facebook posts by Jason Navarro in February 2019, a new full length album has been completed and is in the process of final mixing.
2020-present: Revolution Spring
- Jason "Jay" Navarro – vocals (1991–2006, 2009–present)
- Ryan Vandeberghe – drums (1998–2006, 2009–present)
- Rich Tschirhart – bass guitar, backing vocals (2002–2006, 2009–present)
- Justin Malek – guitar (2009–present)
- Dan Lukacinsky – guitar, backing vocals (1991–2006)
- Jason "Jay" Brake – bass guitar (1991–1994)
- Stefan Rairigh – drums (1991–1992)
- Derek Grant – drums, backing vocals, keyboards (1992–1998, 2015)
- Bill Jennings – drums (1992)
- Royce Nunley – bass, backing vocals (1994–2002)
- Dave Smith – bass (1994)
- Erin Pitman – drums (1998)
- Danny Lore – bass (2006)
|The Suicide Machines discography|
|Demos the essential Kevorkian||2|
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|1996||Destruction by Definition||—||32|
|2000||The Suicide Machines
|2001||Steal This Record
|2003||A Match and Some Gasoline
|2005||War Profiteering Is Killing Us All
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart.|
|2002||The Least Worst of the Suicide Machines|
|2006||On the Eve of Destruction: 1991-1995
|1996||Skank for Brains|
|1998||Live! Live! Live!
|2003||The Suicide Machines / Potshot
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1997||"No Face"||31||Destruction By Definition|
|2000||"Sometimes I Don't Mind"||22||The Suicide Machines|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart.|
"n/a" denotes singles that are not from albums.
|1993||The Essential Kevorkian
|1996||"No Face"||Destruction By Definition|
|2000||"Sometimes I Don't Mind"||The Suicide Machines|
|2003||"Keep It a Crime"||Matthew Stawski||A Match and Some Gasoline|
|2005||"War Profiteering Is Killing Us All"||Matthew Stawski||War Profiteering Is Killing Us All|
The following songs by The Suicide Machines were released on compilation and tribute albums. This is not an exhaustive list; songs that were first released on the band's albums, EPs, and singles are not included.
|Before You Were Punk 2
|2001||Plea for Peace: Take Action
|2002||The Giant Rock'n'Roll Swindle
|2007||Our Impact Will Be Felt
|2015||Punk Rock Christmas
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