Here we go again with another old as dirt interview from the days of In Effect Fanzine. This interview appeared in issue #2 of In Effect in 1988 and is with Sick Of It All frontman Lou Koller. Outside of spelling and grammar fuck up’s which are now corrected we give you the entire interview word for word with a new layout. The back story to this interview brings us to the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street in Flushing Queens. During this time period many of the kids who were going to hardcore shows who were from Queens would converge on this intersection after school. The intersection was and still is a main transportation hub being the start/end of the line for the 7 line on the subway as well as a major bus hub. Everyone from different schools would meet at the mailbox and over time the groups of us would start to get bigger and bigger, especially when more girls started hanging around. I started to notice Lou from Sick Of It All coming around and one day just figured to ask him if he would be down to do an interview. I had my tape recorder on me and everyone headed over to the second floor of the Burger King a few doors down where this interview happened. Graphics by: Bas Spierings.
BAND ID: Pete-guitars, Lou-vocals, Rich-bass, Armand-drums
IE: How did Sick of It All get started?
Lou: Sick Of It All started in late ’85 or early ’86. Before that me and Pete were in my basement for years trying to get a band started. We tried out a lot of weird characters but none of them ever worked out. We were sitting around for a while not knowing what we were going to do when our friend Armand who drummed for Straight Ahead and sings for Rest In Pieces said he would drum for us on the demo and our other friend Rich joined too and he plays bass.
IE: What has been the problem with you and Revelation? (Records)
Lou: We have had a lot of problems with Revelation. From what I heard Caroline Records was interested in us so Revelation went down to sell our single and it turned out that Youth Of Today ended up on Caroline and we didn’t. But this is what I was told. I don’t know if it’s the whole story because Ray is never around to talk to me about it. We definitely aren’t going to do anything else with them. We are also mad about the result of the compilation too. We gave our songs to them as soon as they asked for it and they put it out a year later. Everyone else got to change their stuff and we wanted to change our stuff too and they said that there was no time to do it.
IE: Are you happy with how your 7” came out?
Lou: The sound quality is decent, but it’s not what we wanted. The covers on the first 2 pressings were great. We demanded that we didn’t want that paper crap that they put out the Warzone record with. After the second pressing they made a special pressing of 300 records that is the same as the first 2 pressings, it’s just that the cover is paper. I heard that the third and fourth pressings are going to be on 33RPM instead of 45 and they will have paper covers. They are getting cheap because they owe a lot of money for the Bold record that they put out.
IE: Is Armand going to stick with the band?
Lou: When he first joined he said he was only going to stick around for the demo. After that he wanted to stick around for a couple of shows and he has just stuck around after that. He likes it because he loves to drum but he likes Rest In Pieces more because he is more in charge there. Now he is telling me that he is going to stay with us until after the album and maybe a few shows but Rest In Pieces is taking off really fast so it looks like we’ll have to find our own drummer after the new Rest In Pieces record comes out.
PHOTO BY: KEN SALERNO
IE: What really happened with the riot that broke out after your last show at Streets in New Rochelle?
Lou: From what I saw our roadie got into a fight with these drunken hick skinhead guys called the New Breed and he beat him one on one and another guy jumped in and all of these other fights broke out for no reason. The thing that’s fucked up is that my brother Pete was inside the whole time and when he came out a cop started with him for no reason. The cop swung his night stick at him and since my brother blocked it they arrested him for assaulting an officer. Were already fighting it and the CBGB benefit show for him was to help pay for the lawyer’s fees.
IE: When are you going to put something new out?
Lou: Right now we are talking with Important Records who are starting up a new label. They approached us and Raw Deal and as soon as we settle one dispute in the contract were going to sign with them. We are going to put out an album and we already have most of it written.
IE: Can you tell us about some of your new songs?
Lou: Right now we have 3 new songs that we play live, and 3 other new ones that are still in the making. We’re still shifting them around trying to make things fit. The 3 that we play live are called “Disillusion”, “Alone”, and another one which we might drop.
IE: Do you guys do any cover songs?
Lou: The only cover song that we ever done was the CFA song “Stand As One”. We did that when we first came out because when you’re a new band you got to have a good cover song to get everyone into you. When we came out CFA was over so we decided to do one of their songs because they are one of our favorite bands. We were also going to do the Major Conflict song that Raw Deal does but it was between us and them and since we already had the CFA song we let them do it.
IE: What do you think of the whole NYC scene right now?
Lou: It’s good. It’s a lot bigger than when we first started going to shows. There are so many new kids and new bands. A lot of the bands are good, just some of them should be more original. Originality is what makes bands stick out and that’s why bands like Raw Deal and Absolution have come to the top out of all the new bands because they are original in their sound and in their music. They borrow stuff from other bands just like us, but we don’t let that rule our style.
IE: What bands do you borrow from?
Lou: We mix a lot of different styles. I take from Negative Approach vocally but I also take from some metal bands like Motorhead. We are all influenced by bands like Negative Approach and Motorhead. Right now everyone in the band loves this band called Living Colour who are like a mix of rock and funk. Rich’s favorite bands are Red Hot Chili Peppers, Living Colour, and Fishbone, then he also likes Celtic Frost and Sheer Terror. That’s all he listens to besides Rest In Pieces.
IE: Do you listen to a lot of metal bands?
Lou: I like a lot of metal bands. I like the way they play and the heavy sound but lyrically they are retarded and the crowds I hate. I haven’t gone to a metal show in about 3 years.
IE: What do you think of record labels trying to take away the rights of the band?
Lou: That’s what we are dealing with right now. They have their ideas about publishing rights and stuff like that. When we signed away our rights for the Revelation compilation we had no idea that they were backed by Important Records at the time which means they are making money off that record but none of the bands are. We also didn’t get any money at all back for the 7” either. They were supposed to pay us back for the money it cost us to make the 7”. All we got was records. Every time they make 1000 records we get 100 of them.
IE: What do you think has been your best show so far?
Lou: We’ve played a lot of good shows but the terrible ones seem to stick out. The most memorable for us was the very last Straight Ahead show at CBGB’s because it was a great show for us and then we got to hang out with our friends and watch Straight Ahead tear the place up. Every time we play in Boston it’s a great show because the crowd loves us and they just go off. Basically every CB’s show has been great too.
IE: Tell us about the rap song you do called “Jive Turkey”?
Lou: It’s not really a rap song. It’s a joke. We did it years ago. A lot of people don’t remember it, we even did it at the Right Track Inn. I just make up rhymes about the guys in the band and in CT when we played with Raw Deal after a while I made up a rhyme about Raw deal playing with us all the time and about how bored we are with each other’s sets.
IE: How did you come up with Calvin from the comic strip as your logo?
Lou: We were sitting around looking for a good logo. Everyone had the big skinheads dancing and it was all overdone with skeletons and shit so we all got this idea for a kid hitting the world with a bat and me and my bass player at the same time took Calvin from the newspaper where he was swinging at a baseball and instead of the baseball we put a globe there, and that’s how we got Calvin.
IE: Who is the Alleyway Crew?
Lou: Just all of our friends. Some of the guys have the Alleyway tattoo and some guys have the dragon around their neck but a lot of people don’t even have that and I consider them my good friends. People that go way back like Absolution, Rest In Pieces, and Raw Deal. The original alleyway is on Sandford Avenue in Flushing and that’s where we took the picture for the cover of the 7”.
IE: Do you guys hope to do a tour when your album comes out?
Lou: That’s what I’m hoping for. That’s the reason why were signing a record contract, it’s not just to put out a record because we can do that on our own and it would have been a wise idea for the 7”. When you sign to a label you get better distribution and you get guarantees that you won’t lose money as you go on. I know I keep talking about money and people might think that we are money hungry. People have to realize that it costs bands money to put out shirts, rent vans for shows, practice at studios, and to get equipment like strings, picks and other stuff. People just don’t say “Oh, you’re in a band? Here’s free strings”. It’s just not like that. We’re not Bon Jovi, we don’t get sponsored by Charvel Guitars.
IE: When should you be making new shirts?
Lou: We have no money to make shirts because we haven’t been making money at the shows. We will have shirts sometime next year hopefully in January. Most likely they will be the cover of the 7” with something else on the back. We already had 100 of them made and they sold out really fast but I never saw anyone ever wearing them.
SICK OF IT ALL AT THE ALLEYWAY IN FLUSHING QUEENS, AUGUST 30, 1987. PHOTO BY: BJ PAPAS
POSTERS AND PRINTS OF THE PHOTO BELOW ARE AVAILABLE ON HER WEBSITE. CLICK ON PHOTO
ABOUT IN EFFECT ISSUE #2
In Effect Fanzine came out at the tail end of 1988 and featured interviews with Sick Of It All, A-Bomb-A Nation, Uppercut and Gorilla Biscuits. Issue 2 featured front cover artwork by Vadim who played bass in A-Bomb-A-Nation with a live shot of Gorilla Biscuits from CBGB’s mixed in as well. This issue had a run of approximately 200 copies and followed up the debut issue which had a run of just 50 copies. Issue 2 which had only 20 pages was the first time where we used offset printing which was done on the advice of fellow zinesters from The Village Noize and Yes Zista Zines and was printed at Queens Quick Copy in Flushing Queens just a block away from where this Sick Of It All interview was done. This issue was available for just $1.50 by mail which included postage.