Possessed to Shred, an interview with Suicidal Tendencies guitarist Jeff Pogan
So, for the last year or so we’ve stuck with ‘Plastic Deth‘ and interviewed a slew of luminaries from our, or that community.
Although, either those of you paying attention or know me personally I have a crushing passion for Hardcore, Metal, Crossover and Punk.
Ironically, some 25 years ago, whilst pursuing my love of illustration I was approached by a now very good friend who traded me some tapes for some art of his favorite characters.
I threw these tapes in my day sack and skated home after school. Whilst doing chores and homework later that night I remembered the tapes and put em’ on, the first being Suicidal Tendencies timeless classic, ‘Lights, Camera, Revolution …
The rest as they say was history, and I was hopelessly devoted, and naturally joined the SxTx Army.
Suicidal Tendencies need little to no introduction, other than they’ve been going since the very early 80’s pioneering real punk, hardcore and their funk tinged crossover thrash ever since.
Last night they returned to Europe, and destroyed Munich on the first date of their summer tour, albeit with a new fresh rhythm section.
We took the time out to speak with Jeff Pogan, and get the inside scoop …
GM75: What up Jeff, thanks for taking the time out to talk with us, and make history with us by breaking away from our normal subject matter.
Anyhow, unto business, a little about yourself, how long have you been playing, what are your influences and what’s it like to be front stage this time out ‘shredding’ audiences across Europe?
JP: What’s up! Thanks for having me! I’ve been playing for about 15 years now. I’ve always had an immense passion for music! My influences early on were my brother and dad, seeing how if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be playing. My brother, Bill Pogan, is an incredible musician and definitely inspires me all the time. Other early influences were Black Sabbath and The Ventures. Then I got into the thrash/metal stuff around age 13, then onto more technical stuff like Dream Theater and such to really hone in my chops. It is an incredible feeling playing on these stages and sharing it with this amazing band. It’s truly the best feeling in the world. And the crowds have been nothing short of electrifying!
GM75: So, if I’m right, you previously used to tech guitars for Suicidal, how’d did the shift of position come about?
JP: That’s correct! I was the band guitar tech since 2014. The shift came about when Nico decided he wanted to pursue a different path, musically. With the position now open, Mike Muir asked me if I wanted to audition, seeing how I had already worked with the band for 2 years and been friends with everyone, it was a natural progression and here I am!
GM75: Was a lot of work put in rehearsal wise, or were you sufficiently familiar with the material it was a more organic evolution working with the rest of the band?
JP: I never consider rehearsing or practicing “work”, because it’s all so much fun to me. But I was really familiar with the material already, having toured with ST for two years and from being a fan too. So we did rehearse a lot, and I personally practiced the songs a ton but it was all so organic and the band is so solid. We get along great and communicate really well, verbally and musically, and I think that’s the most important part of being in a band together. We’re all on the same page.
GM75: You absolutely destroyed Munich last night, a real crushing show and with Dave Lombardo (Slayer) on board the pace was absolutely break neck fast. What’s it like playing not only with Cyco Miko, but Dave too, that’s a lot of ‘Metal’ history right there ?
JP: Thank you so much! That was my first show playing so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I’m truly so honored to be apart of this line up. Dave is an absolute monster behind the kit and his power is unparalleled in my opinion. Mike is amazing in that he never stops moving and no matter what, he puts on an incredible show and really connects with the fans. Both Mike and Dave are prolific as hell with their historic catalog, one that I grew up listening to, so it’s a real honor and privilege for me to share the stage with Mike, Dave, Dean and Ra.
GM75: I’m a huge fan of all of Suicidal’s back catalogue, but if I had to pick one or two songs, it’d be ‘Go’n Breakdown‘ or ‘You Can’t Bring Me Down‘ – any particular personal favorites, to listen to or, even play ?
JP: It depends on the day. Today I’ve been listening to “Lights, Camera, Revolution” all day but yesterday was “Suicidal for Life” and “Controlled By Hatred/Feel Like Shit, Deja Vu” the day before so it all depends! Favorite to play is a hard one. But “Trip at the Brain“, “Go’n Breakdown” and “Who’s Afraid?” are hard to beat. But honestly every single song we play is just packed with energy and a blast to play!
GM75: So, in between shows, when not either traveling, eating, sleeping or at sound check what do you and the rest of the guys get up to, what do make of Europe so far ?
JP: We haven’t had a proper day off on this tour yet, but we’ll usually have an “ST Familia” dinner (band and crew). The coolest thing about this band is literally everyone gets along, band and crew alike. So we like to go for dinner on days off, walk around the cities and embrace the cultures of the place we’re in, wherever it might be that day. But it usually involves plenty of laughs and good food.
GM75: Now, as I earlier explained, we traditionally run interviews that are MilSim and Airsoft related, however, many of the guys involved are Hardcore, Punk, Metal fans.
This, is all actually inspired by the ‘Hardcore’ DIY ethic, and even Mr. Muir’s longstanding encouragement of to get up and do something positive. Community, be it music, extreme sports, or even as seen here, is important, but what does it mean to you ?
JP: I can only speak on behalf of the music community since that’s all I know. Community is what drives music. We’re here because of the fans (community) and we embrace them 100%. After shows we’ll mingle with the fans, take pictures, sign stuff and most importantly, hear what they have to say. And it’s really awesome how much of an impact ST has on the audience. It’s rewarding to talk to them and hear how excited they were about the show and how much they loved it. If what ST does positively effects the music community, I think that’s pretty great. Some people have told me ST has saved their life, and that’s the power of music and community.
GM75: So, I recently received the Suicidal STreet Team email, a new album is currently being assembled, is that process something your a part of, STylistically does it hark back to a particular era of Suicidal Tendencies ?
JP: Yes the new album is something we are all really excited about. I’m apart of it in that I did some engineering and played rhythm guitars on the songs as well. Stylistically, I think it’s one of the heaviest records ST has ever put together. All I can say is we’re all really excited about it and we think the fans will be really happy with what they hear!
GM75: Right, I know your a busy man, so thanks for taking the time out to talk to us, any last words to the Suicidal Army ?
JP: No problem, thank you! I’ll just say it’s been an honor and pleasure to be apart of the Suicidal Army and I’m SToked about the future. STay CYCO, keep your eye out for the new Suicidal record (September 2016) and look out for us coming to a city near you!
So, there you have it, a brief alternative step away from the usual fare, and naturally there’s and element of commonality between what we do and the ST family do.
Be sure to check em out on tour, and find out more on the band below – S23
New SUICIDAL TENDENCIES – OFFICIAL record available September 30th – Pre order August 5th – WORLD GONE MAD – And it’s about to get crazier!!!!
S23 is Proudly Sponsored by ToySoldier