Published May 10, 2010Four years might be a drop in the bucket for some artists to get their creative ya-yas out, but when it comes to New York hardcore veterans Sick of It All, it feels like three lifetimes.
Generally fixed on a consistent schedule that saw them issuing albums in under two years for the past quarter-century, it seemed strange that their latest effort, Based on a True Story, took almost a half-decade to make, leading pundits to wonder what the heck wonder Sick of It All were up to.
"It just happened that way," vocalist Lou Koller explains in a recent Exclaim! interview. "We usually tour for a year to year and a half between records before we start writing again. While we touring for 2006's Death to Tyrants, we were also putting together the tribute record [2007's Our Impact Will Be Felt]. All of a sudden, people kept asking us to tour even though it was just a tribute record we weren't even on. They said, 'Well, tour anyway,' which added a third year. Heading into the fourth year, we'd write for a month before heading out to festival dates. It all fell together."
Regardless of reasons, the wait has been worth it. Strong, passionate and enduring, Based on a True Story is easily one of their most productive/solid albums from the group in years. Even Koller admits he's shocked at how it turned out.
"I don't know how it happened. It all came together on this one, man," he chuckles. "We really worked hard on Death to Tyrants and then a lot of people wondered how we were gonna top it. It was good that we took almost four years between the two."
While proud of their years on previous label Fat Wreck Chords and the five years they enjoyed together, Koller admits that the band's role in that relationship was far from equal. In retrospect, he reveals how those albums were rushed and therefore of sub-par quality overall, while Based on a True Story, released via Century Media Records, has provided them with a wonderfully unexpected lesson in patience.
"That's something we learned. When we were on Fat Wreck Chords, we were treated great by them but we fell into this rut: we'd tour for a year and a half, then run right into the studio, write songs and put out a record so we could get back on the road, get the advance and we'd live like that.
"But you can tell on those records that six or eight songs are great and the rest are just total filler crap. Anyone in the band will tell you we should have taken our time. We have different favourites on those records but we could have had some great songs instead of great parts and then throwing crap around. Not this time, though. We came up with some good shit."
Sick of It All are currently making the rounds throughout the U.S. and Europe. You can see all their dates here.