Sick Of It All
1985
United States
Music group
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 1985 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 Cipriano (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.

The band 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 was a life-affirming blast of pure hardcore.

While Sick Of It All's transition from smaller indie label to bigger indie to major and back again was the subject of heated debate in the worldwide HC forum, the band has always had the last word. Putting its collective nose to the grindstone and touring non-stop around the world, they blazed new ground for hardcore figuratively and literally: Refining and expanding the genre, playing the first ever hardcore shows and some of the most obscure corners of the world, becoming the first true hardcore band to play major festivals of many foreign territories.

Sick Of It All's conquest came in the form of their 2003 full length, Life On The Ropes. This was the band's fourth full length for the San Francisco based indie-punk label. For the making of the album, Sick Of It All switched things up by tracking and producing the record by themselves.

This is an unprecedented occurrence in Sick Of It All's long recording career which had them getting back to the do-it-yourself ethic that endeared fans for years. After countless hours spent in the studio and with years of road-tested musicianship under their belts, the band had all the necessary tools to produce their own material. In a continued effort to make this album even more noteworthy, Sick Of It All enlisted the guest vocals of the great John Joseph on the song "Paper Tiger."

This was indeed a landmark, as John Joseph is the Godfather of the New York hardcore scene and was the original frontman of the seminal NYHC band the Cro-Mags. Sick Of It All pulled all the stops for Life On The Ropes. Listeners can tell that Sick Of It All expanded their skills and their sound. The band has their ears to the streets and their hearts attached to the scene.
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