KURT: On a completely different musical note, hardcore music has had its ups and downs in recent years, but the New York band "Sick Of It All" has successfully weathered them for the better part of a decade now. The group, founded by two brothers from Queens, Lou and Pete Koller, has a major-league work ethic that's kept it touring the world year in and year out, and it's paying off. We talked to the band recently at a Manhattan meat district club called "Hell."
KURT LODER: You've noticed that we're in "Hell." There are a lot of people on the wall here (GESTURING TO PICTURES ON THE WALLS OF THE CLUB). Who would you expect to see there?
LOU KOLLER, Vocals: Well, O.J. definitely.
CRAIG SETARI, Bass: Starsky.
L. KOLLER: Starsky was a nice guy. What is Drew Barrymore doing in hell? She went through hell already...
LODER: Probably what she was doing on earth, I would imagine.
MTV: Sick Of It All's been through it, too: ten years
of worldwide roadwork on the international hardcore circuit.
ARMAND MAJIDI, Drums: We see the hardcore scene going through cycles all the time in different parts of the world. It all depends on where we're playing. Sometimes the scene is huge in Europe and then falls off and it comes back in America.
LODER: What keeps hardcore going do you suppose? Is it just the intensity of the fans?
PETE KOLLER, Guitar: Loyal fans, yeah.
LODER: So what sort of person is attracted to hardcore? It's not just a guy with a gun roaming the streets...
MAJIDI: No, thank god. That's actually how it was getting towards the late 80s for a while. It ruined the entire scene in New York because there were too many kids that thought they had to be a tough guy in the scene as opposed to being a creative force.
LODER: What do you think these guys have moved on to?
MTV: The band's new album, aptly titled "Built to Last", features clean,
streamlined sound by producer Garth, who has previously twirled dials for Rage Against the Machine, L7, and Jesus Lizard.
LODER: How do you think your new album has evolved from the rest of your stuff?
MAJIDI: The sounds are more distinct. You can tell what the other instruments are doing.
MTV: Well, hardcore is probably easy when you're young and angry and full of things to say, but how does it hold up when you've been at it for the better part of a decade?
LODER: Have you guys gotten a little less wild over the course of your career? Do you feel yourselves sort of mellowing a little bit?
L. KOLLER: The first time we were on stage I didn't move a muscle I was so scared.
SETARI: Now, it's like we're very comfortable with moving and playing the songs. We play a lot tighter as a band.
LODER: You're doing a video tonight for "Us and Them"?
L. KOLLER: "Us vs. Them."
LODER: Who's "Them"?
L. KOLLER: Well, we're us, so this is good. And Them are bad [QuickTime, 1.9 MB].
LODER: Well, not everybody else is the enemy, it turns out...
MAJIDI: Companies sometimes give us free clothes up until a few years ago... These sort of things never happened before. You'd never get free shoes or free shirts. But now, all of a sudden, people give you free clothes and I'm like, "Hey, we don't have to do laundry!"
KURT: "Sick of It All" is now touring Europe again, not surprisingly, but the band will be back on the road here this summer as part of the "Warped" tour.