Sick Of It All Biography

Sick Of It All are long-standing members of the infamous hardcore community bred in New York City, New York, USA, in the late 80s. Even in a genre noted for its uncompromising aggression, they earned both rave notices and suspicion for what many perceived as the sheer hatefulness of their songwriting. Despite the criticism, they continue to stand by the ethos of their theme song, ‘We Stand Alone’. They were also committed to the popular US abstention movement dubbed ‘straight edge’ (no drugs, cigarettes or alcohol).

The band was formed in 1984 by brothers Lou (vocals) and Pete Koller (guitar), who released their 1987 debut 7-inch single with Arman Majidi (drums, from New York hardcore band, Rest In Pieces) and Rich Capriano (bass). Their 1989 album debut for Relativity Records, which featured a spoken-word introduction by rapper KRS-One, was punishing, primal punk rock music. Recorded with new bass player Eddie Coen and drummer E.K., We Stand Alone featured one side of studio recordings and one live. It included a cover version of Minor Threat’s ‘Betray’ (interesting not least because Minor Threat had popularized the straight edge phenomenon).

The original line-up was reunited for 1992’s self-produced Just Look Around. In 1994, the band was snapped up by a major label, Atlantic Records, with Craig Setari (later known as Craig Ahead) introduced as the new bass player. A single lifted from their debut for the label included another telltale choice of cover version, Sham 69’s ‘Borstal Breakout’. In 1995, they contributed a track, ‘Just A Patsy’, to an album pieced together by Corrosion Of Conformity’s Reed Mullin dedicated to ending the imprisonment of Native American Leonard Peltier. They were also the victims of a concerted attack by baseball bat-wielding thugs while on tour in Manchester, England, allegedly orchestrated by bootleg T-shirt vendors.

Sick Of It All returned to their indie roots in 1998, signing up to NOFX main man Fat Mike’s Fat Wreck Chords’ label. Though Call To Arms was a disappointing release, the subsequent Yours Truly (2000) was a life-affirming blast of pure hardcore. Following one further studio album for Fat Wreck Chords, the band shifted labels to Abacus Recordings. Death To Tyrants (2006) was a typically heartfelt and thumping album. As the UK magazine Kerrang! stated ‘age has not withered their energy levels’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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