A Suicidal (Tendencies) Story Out of El Paso Texas and Venice. CA

DSCI0047Carlos Egert, Mike Ball, Abel Espinoza, Frog, Doug Smith, Paul Cullen and the Dunagin brothers, we all got together and began hacking out chords in my grandmothers garage Chaz’s & Frog’s house . Mike and Sean Dunnigan were the only guys that could actually play an instrument. We never even decided on a name. Mike Muir, good at what he does grabbed up several of the guys to form S.T. Did I form S.T? absolutely not. Was I part of the core that became S.T? For certain.

Well as S.T got rolling I bailed to Hawaii. Suicidal Tendencies really started to take off about 1984. The same year I joined the US Army from Big Island of Hawaii of all places. BY 1987 Suicidal Tendencies was going full bore. The band was built on it’s cult like following as much as it’s music.

Tony Lopez out of El Paso Texas was my battle buddy. As he saw all the Venice, CA clippings and S.T, BWF and skate surf stuff on the inside of my locker, he mentioned he really liked Suicidal Tendencies. At first Lopez did not believe I grew up in Venice or knew any of the folks in the scene he was digging on. To prove it, when I went back to Venice on leave, I got a copy of S.T’s Join the Army and the Welcome to Venice LPs. I had every one from Jesse Martinez to Dale Henderson to Carlos Egert sign the LPs for him. Tony cherished those LPs man! I took advantage of the situation and if I ever wanted Tony to take some slack for me I would simply say, “Do it for Venice homie!” This lil yarn is going somewhere I promise, man.

Tension was building as our unit was to have an AG inspection. These are really a drag as the Adjutant General’s Inspection are very detailed. As we got our unit and down to our personal uniforms and grooming squared away, I dared Lopez to shave half of his regulation mustache. “Oh man, I’m not gonna do that. I’ll get on report, He drawled. “Do it for Venice man,” I coerced. Well he did it and as the Command Sergeant Major and Colonel raked Lopez over the coals about why he had only a half a mustache, I burst out laughing in formation next to Lopez. I’ll spare you the details as to the dressing down. We both received 45 days extra duty.

Lopez always yakked about how he was going to make it Venice California, skate and hang with the Suicidal crew.

Specialist Tony Lopez never made it to Venice CA, he died in a helicopter crash in Honduras.

Rest in Peace Lopez. Suicidal for Life.


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