Interview mit Lou Koller, Sänger von SICK OF IT ALL im Rahmen der Persiseance Tour 2006.
Obviously, you dont have to introduce into SICK OF IT ALL, so how was the tour so far?
Its been amazing. When we were asked to do this in august, to headline the tour, we were like: Oh, thats cool and then they told us the Line-Up and we were like Oh my god! There are so many great bands and the audience is going to be dead before we go on stage! And thats going to suck! Especially going on stage right after MADBALL but its worked out and it was amazing. The audience gives their all, to every band and the shows have been great. Even going on stage last is no big deal.
What is your opinion on the other bands you share the stage with? Im thinking for example of THE DISTANCE, who dont really fit in this tour-roster!
I think its good because it adds a little difference. You know they bring some fresh air sometimes because there are so many heavy hard bands and then its great to have a band which adds some melody, even when you think of COMEBACK KID, they are really heavy but have their melodic melodies and so its hard to blame them for their melodies.
Have you been so far with one of those bands on tour, like THE DISTANCE?
No, weve never meet them before until this tour and DESTINY is new to us, too. But they are both really good. Weve done tours with every other band on the bill. Except COMEBACK KID thats the first time we share the stage with those guys. But we are hanging out with them and they are really cool guys.
So you would say its really a nice atmosphere?
Yes, so far its been good.
How do you feel about being back in Germany? I think it is the third or second time that you have come to Germany.
Yeah, it is the first time that we come to Germany to play a club-tour, thats how they call it, but we play in really big venues. I mean we have done mostly festivals, I think actually we have done all festivals here in Germany and this is another touring festival. So hopefully, if people arent bored of us, we might try to make our way back next winter this is going to be a long time maybe we will do some summer-festivals again and if people dont get bored, hopefully, we will do a smaller club-tour, Ive been talking to the band and I was like I really want to play in smaller clubs in Germany just to have the peoples faces in my eyes and people stagedives like we always do and this year we havent done that yet.
What is the reason that you only play this big festivals and tours?
Just timing and scheduling and we waited for the record come out and so while we waited we didnt want to do a club-tour and thats the reason why we have played all this festivals. When the record came out we went again to South America and the USA and then again we got offers to do festivals in Germany, so we did the festivals over the summer and then it was the question, we just did the summer festivals and we asked ourselves are we going to do a club-tour or should we wait and so we decided to wait and while we were waiting we got the offer to play the Persistence Tour and thats basically the reason why we didnt play a club-tour in this year.
Several Years ago you were also part of the Persistence
(laughs) then it was the Resistence Tour
Yeas, thats right. This is really confusing!
I think they have to change the name. Persist/Resist; both are strange names for this tour.
How should it be called?
I dont know, they both stink (laughs)
Alright, how is it for you in USA. Do you play in such big venues the whole time like in Germany?
No, definitely not! In certain cities but its so generational and we were talking about this, me and Freddy, about how so many bands coming to Europe again who were here since the mid-nineties and brought this huge wave of hardcore bands and we thought they killed it! We were thinking like they were making Hardcore boring and thats happening again. But I hope the people wont get bored. In America its really generational, there are kids who dont even know who SICK OF IT ALL even are but their bands are the guys they found on MySpace and that are their favourite bands then. You know and these bands sing about how bad the high-schools is and you know, I could sing about high-school, too but Im fucking 40 years old! Its going to sound pretty stupid if I would sing about high-school. We sing about more personal things and politics and thats stuff they dont identify with and they dont get this stuff. We hope that the younger generation dont look at us and think of us like we were too old for them and we just hope theyll understand it. We are not preaching to them but we try to show them where we fucked up in life!
Looking back at several SICK OF IT ALL shows of the last years Ive always seen the same reaction of the people! You say something and everybody is excited and is like Wow hes cool even if you are talking about senseless things! What do you think about that?
(laughs) I know thats goes with a lot of bands along at shows. You know, I dont preach at shows
Do you think that there is still some kind of political awareness in the Hardcore-Scene, especially in the USA?
Definitely not. In the USA you had once something like that and even nowadays in Europe its its a lot less then it used to be.
What do you think about this upcoming fashioncore-trend?
You see, thats the weird thing because when we started or the reason why we started to get into Punk and Hardcore was because of being Anti-Fashion. You know, you could wear whatever you want, if you wanted to look Goth or whatever, thats cool! But now you see bands who look like Goth or whatever and its important for them to have that style. Now its really becoming the opposite of what Hardcore once stand for, you know? Its like being exclusive and I dont know its turning to get more youth-fashion. Its like Okay Im into this music all my life long, even if Im only 20 years old but I have to go out get a real job and wear a suite and cut off my MySpace-haircut. So, Im not against it but it should be more open-minded then it is.
You have mentioned a several times MySpace. What do you think about MySpace?
Its a double-layerd sword with MySpace and the whole Internet. Its really a double-layerd sword. It has got his great points and again it has got his bad points. Its great to find new bands. Its like any band that is able to fuckin play and has the right look and maybe a demo out becomes huge. There is a band in the USA what the fuck is their name? I dont know if they are very big here, in Europe but in America is there a band called AIDEN Did you ever hear of them?
Yes, I know them
They really look like fuckin AFI Jr., and everything what AFI did they copy they really copy years later. And it is just I was like: Cmon people wont be fooled by this but sure enough they have been fooled. They are on MySpace and they have like well, the kids are like: Yeah, AFI is a huge band and with this band I can be at its ground level! And in the end this band is only a clone, it is like seeing an AFI Cover band, you know?
AIDEN is really a bad clone
You havent seen them at Groezrock? They have played on Friday.
No, they played a day before but we arrived there a day later because we were on tour.
Im just thinking of your reaction when you would have to meet them
(laughs) Im actually not looking forward to meet them. I mean Im really a good friend of AFI and they are like little brothers for us. We took them on our several America tours; we took them on the first European tour and their first Japanese tour. They have been our opening band and the first time the two times we brought them to Europe nobody fucking liked AFI (laughs) now everybody likes AFI!
What keeps you doing SICK OF IT ALL? You are now forty years old!
Yes, I turned forty years this year and I dont know but it is dumb as it sounds: This is my life! The whole band and I love this music. I mean when we go back home to relax and we are doing other things, Im totally bored and then we come up again with ideas for songs, record a record and then go again on tour. I just love it!
Are you still doing something besides music?
Thinking about touring and making music (laughs) You know I live in New York in my small apartment with one bed-room because I cant afford nothing bigger in NYC because the prices are so damned high. I just fix it up, you know? I used to do some construction and stuff like that with my older brother who used to run his own company.
Would you still have to play music to earn your money for your daily life?
Well, I have to get a fucking job yeah, if I broke up with the band I would have to get a real job.
Okay, then I know what keeps this going!
No (laughs) Its a part of this band, I mean a lot of people are like: Oh, you last so long and there has to be a secret what keeps you doing this! and in the end there is no secret. One of the biggest things is that when we came to Europe in 1992 we did not make it until the second or third European tour. We havent made any money and we did not care! We just loved the reactions of the people and it stared to build up and built up and it wasnt until 1997 that I could quit my job and the same with the rest of the band. I think that is why a lot of young bands dont last because mostly they are around for two years and then everybody loves them and then they quit because they got to go to college and get their jobs but we have chosen the other way. We were like: Lets suffer for a bunch of years! and in the end we were able to quit our jobs.
Dont you think that this has something to do with the fact what Hardcore/Emo becomes more apart of the mainstream?
I dont know if this goes along with Hardcore but definitely with Emo. I mean a several years ago, when we started to put out records everybody was like: Oh, SICK OF IT ALL is a Hardcore band really metal influenced! and now, we are mostly the exactly same band and we play mostly the same music only better, the people are like Oh, SICK OF IT ALL is a great Hardcore band really punk influenced! and I think this shows you how everything around you has changed. Now kids idea of Hardcore is fucking PANTERA or Slayer is Hardcore. That is their idea of Hardcore and I mean for me Hardcore is more like THE EXPLOITED, MINOR THREAT and the BAD BRAINS or NEGATIVE APPROACH.
What do you think about all this Reunion concerts and tours?
I tell you a story what I have seen I saw the GORILLA BISCUITS and they were great! They were really tight and they did a really great job. I saw the BAD BRAINS and again they were really tight and they were really musically on it but it was not the same vibe! H.R. is not the same he is not into being aggressive anymore. He sings the song very laid back and he is not into being active on stage, you know? He is the whole smiling and waving peace signs on stage and not that good.
By the way, have you seen already the documentary American Hardcore?
No, I haven't seen it yet, but I have read the book.
Basically its the same. What do you think about the book?
My biggest Problem with Steve Blush, the guy who wrote it, and he knows this because he did a reading of his book in fucking New York and me, Joseph from the Cro-Mags and a bunch of other guys, we all went to this reading. And we sat in the audience and then he saw us and right away at the end of his reading, he uses to have a Q&A at the end of his reading, and he goes usually I would have a Q&A, but tonight Im not gonna have it! I just want to make a statement! and then he looked at us and goes In the book I have said that Hardcore ended in 1986, but what I meant was that Hardcore ended for me in 1986! And I was like Yeah, why did you not put that in your book!?
Exactly! That is the same problem I have with this movie, too!
No, you see thats wrong. He says that because Hardcore was dead for him in 1986. I dont understand the problem people have with new bands. I mean this is their golden era, this is their Hardcore. I dont put anything done. I think there are aspects of what he went through and thats different of what we went through because his era was really fresh, that was the time when the Hardcore was just born out of punk. I think he cannot deny that there is still a Hardcore Scene. You cant say Oh, 1986! You lost the BAD BRAINS, you lost MINOR THREAT! You lost Big Flag and Black Flag and all these innovating bands, but where did the world turned? To fucking New York City! You had fucking AGNOSTIC FRONT; you had fucking MURPHYS LAW, the CRO-MAGS, then YOUTH OF TODAY and the GORILLA BISCUITS. Then SICK OF IT ALL, SIDE BY SIDE all these bands, like Leeway, all these groundbreaking bands took that era and expanded on it . Then after us you had MADBALL and then you had bands from New York like SNAPCASE, and again taking the thing what we have done and expanding it on another generation.
Something that I regard as interesting is that you didnt show up with a Best Of CD so far!
No, no, we had two live CDs so far and I think that is fine. But there is a Tribute Album coming out next year. I dont know, I think Century Media will release it here and we are hoping that Century Media is going to pick it up here in Europe. Tribute Albums dont sell huge amounts but the Line-Up of bands we have on it is amazing. We have SEPULTURA, HATEBREED, UNEARTH, MADBALL, KILL YOUR IDOLS, WALLS OF JERICHO, BOUNCING SOULS, PENNYWISE, MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD who did a amazing cover on it. They recorded Alone and its fucking amazing! I love it. An there a bunch of other bands like COMEBACK KID will record some Covers.
And you feel honoured?
Yeah, absolutely! We were joking around at our 10th year anniversary and we were like Lets get some bands together to do a Tribute Album for us and we all laughed about it and then in our 19th year we were like Wow we are writing an new record and now we could ask for a Tribute Record. and the first person Pete called was Igor, the drummer of SEPULTURA an he said to him hey Igor we are doing a 20th anniversary record and we want do something like a Tribute Record and he was like We do it! We want to cover Scratch The Surface and Pete said they can do it.
Okay, I think we have to come to an end.
Yes, TERROR is up next!
Okay, tell me about your future plans!
Touring and filming. We are recording a couple of Shows for a DVD Release but before it comes out we have to see how the footage is and how the sound is like. Plus, when it comes out it will contain a lot of photos and interviews and then we will put tons of footage all over the last years. And then we will do again some festivals and hopefully a Club-Tour, if you guys are not bored the shit out of us.
This would be really cool to see you back in the clubs! Ive only see you in such big venues like today.
Really? Oh man, we have to stop playing these festivals Seriously we felt really strange back in the days when we started to play such big venues, but we got used to it over the years.
That really sucks!
But in New York City we played for our 20th anniversary show in this club called BB Kings and usually they put up huge barricades. But for our date the owner of this club was not there and the charger was a friend of us and he was like Fuck the barricades! And that was really awesome! I mean you cant beat a show in your own hometown with all your friends at you 20th anniversary show. A sold out show and with so many people who were singing louder than the band. It was fucking amazing! That was really great. Thats something I have missed. I mean when we started backing the days there have not been any barricades and stuff like that.
Okay! Thanks for the interview.