Originally published in ‘zine issue #6, 1993
A NYHC band has come out with its second album, Just Look Around, and went on tour for it. Of course I’m referring to Sick Of It All. When the group hit Washington, D.C., the first show of the tour, I talked to the band.
How do you think the new album compares to the 7” and the first album?
Rich: Definitely more commercial.
Lou: A total sellout. No, to us, it’s the best stuff we’ve done so far. I mean, I know a lot of kids are, “Oh, but your 7-inch was so raw! Your album, that was raw, too!” What are we gonna do? Y’know, the same band, over and over? I mean, it’s still Sick Of It All. It’s just [pause] I d’wanna say “growth,” because it’s so stupid. I don’t think it’s that big a difference.
Like, we do these interviews with these big “rock” magazines, and they’re saying, “This is so diverse, so different than your first album!” And we’re like, “No, it’s not. It’s just ‘cause you people’ve found Helmet, and all of a sudden anything hard is fuckin’, y’know, cool.”
Did you do a video?
Lou: We did a video for “Just Look Around,” and it’s very low budget. We figured it came out really good. So did the record company, and they shopped it to MTV. One of the upper ladies loved it, but the guy who chooses for shows like Headbangers Ball didn’t like it. [He] said, “Enough of this underground hard stuff.” He wants to bring Headbangers Ball back to, like, the Poison and Firehouse bands, y’know? But it’s still prob’ly gonna get on that and [hopefully] 120 Minutes.
Do you think the presidential debates that went on here in October did any good to inform the public?
Lou: I thought Ross Perot was fuckin’ funny. I dunno. They just kept repeating the same things over and over, or they would just attack each other.
Would you say the new album is more mature than before?
Lou: Yeah, I’d say musically and lyrically.
How did this happen?
Lou: We never really wrote [with] Eddie and E.K. Everything that was on the EP was written when Armand and Rich, while [they] were in the band, so as soon as they came back, it just fell together. It was just like a natural progression.
What happened with Sam McPheeters and Born Against that time when you did the radio show?
Pete: Let’s stop talking about that, finally.
Lou: The only thing that happened is that they came up with all these accusations, and we said, “Let’s do a debate.” They finally agreed, and then on the radio, we at least stated our case too, so everyone could hear it. And what the gist of it was, is that everyone called up the station, saying, “Who cares who they play for, what label or whatever, y’know? Just as long as they’re still true to the music,” which is what we are.
Does that still point to a division in the NYHC scene between the album and demo bands?
Lou: Not really album and demo bands. People want to do it on their own, which is fine. I mean, you can look at the whole Dischord scene, Bad Religion’s got their own label, bands like that. I would’ve loved to have the gumption or whatever you wanna call it for that, y’know?
Vaughn Currier, who was with us for the interview, asked: Do you think the straight edge philosophy is a waste?
Lou: I guess it’s cool. We don’t really preach about anything like it, so, y’know. And we’re not against anybody who’s not, as long as they can handle it. One of my roommates is very into heroin right now, and I can’t even talk to her, and I grew up with this girl. I see her, and she tries to talk to me about her addiction, I’m just like, “I don’t wanna hear it.” That’s wrong, but right now, I just can’t handle it, y’know?
D.U.: Do you think racial tension is on the rise or decline?
Lou: Well, when the economy goes down, it always is on the rise. And I noticed in New York, it’s kind of like a backlash now. It’s not so much white people attacking blacks or Hispanics or whatever. It’s they’re all against anybody who’s not a minority.
Lou: I hope people don’t just write off the album as, like, “Oh, they said growth and maturity! Oh, they’re metal, oh, they’re whatever!” We’re just the same band, just playing like we always been. And think diversity is a lot better than the same shit over and over.
Rich: Ya gotta do whatcha gotta do. [laughs] ■