Although many mistake alterna-ska punkers the Suicide Machines as being from California, where most of the genre's bands come from, they're in fact Detroit natives.
Starting off in the early '90s, the quartet was founded by Jason Navarro (vocals) and Dan Lukacinsky (guitar/vocals), who saw some members come and go before recording their first demo in 1993 with Derek Grant on drums and Jason Brake on bass. The Suicide Machines did their first national dates the following year and by late 1994 Royce Nunley (bass/vocals) had entered the fray. A full national tour with Buck-O-Nine came next, and the guys soon signed a deal with Hollywood Records, releasing their major-label debut, Destruction by Definition, in 1996. The album received rave reviews from several publications, including Alternative Press, which named it one of the best American pop albums of that year; due to repeated touring, it sold 200,000 copies and was number 15 on Soundscan's ranking of 1997's best-selling alternative releases. Returning to the studio for their second album, the band spent more time strengthening their sound and songwriting. When Battle Hymns appeared in mid-1998, it was apparent that the hard work paid off -- it was an improvement over the debut. Drummer Erin Pitman, who had joined on earlier in 1998, left the band during this time, allowing Ryan Vandeberghe to step in. (Derek Grant later went on to play with Thoughts Of Ionesco and Alkaline Trio.) The Suicide Machines' self-titled third LP followed in early 2000. "Killing Blow," from the band's 2001 release Steal This Record, was another favorite among the punk crowd, but changes within the band were happening. Bassist Royce Nunley opted for a change, leaving the Suicide Machines in March 2002 and starting Blueprint 76. The rowdy retrospective The Least Worst of the Suicide Machines: 1995-2001 appeared in fall 2002. Their deal with Hollywood quickly fizzled before the year's end, but it wasn't a missed opportunity. The Suicide Machines signed with the indie imprint Side One Dummy months later and released A Match and Some Gasoline in June. (By this point Rich Tschirhart had been installed as Nunley's replacement.) The band also prepped for their sixth appearance on the annual Vans Warped Tour later that summer. Refreshed by the response to A Match and happy with their Side One Dummy deal, the Suicide Machines returned once again with 2005's War Profiteering Is Killing Us All. The album's release was accompanied by a triumphant homecoming gig at the Detroit stop of Warped, their only appearance on the tour that summer. The Machines then embarked on an extensive tour with Boston punk revivalists Lost City Angels in support. In spite of the positive response to the ferocity of War Profiteering, by May 2006 the guys had officially called it quits. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi