When it comes to New York City hardcore, its community proudly boasts Lou and Pete Koller - brothers who have dominated the scene worldwide since 1986 with the aurally devastating Sick Of It All as their vehicle. "The Blood And The Sweat: The Story Of Sick Of It All's Koller Brothers" is the no-holds-barred autobiography of two brothers who have never wavered, as well as an unrelenting depiction of the American dream, and the drive and determination required to live it - regardless of whatever obstacles appear before you. Featuring commentary from family, friends, bandmates past and present, and their peers, including Gary Holt (Exodus, Slayer), Kurt Brecht (D.R.I.), Barney Greenway (Napalm Death), and more.
Our take: While I’ve seen them play some incredible live sets over the years, I’ve never counted myself a huge fan of Sick of It All. I am, however, a huge fan of punk books, so you know I grabbed a copy of this as soon as it came in. Rather than a dense academic analysis of Sick of It All’s music or an intensively researched history of the band and its members, The Blood and the Sweat takes a loose approach to chronicling the Sick of It All story. The book’s title and cover emphasize the Koller brothers, and the book is essentially one long interview with the two of them, interspersed with (very occasional) quotes from other band members, family members, and related parties. They divide the book into chapters that take you through a more-or-less chronological history of the brothers and their band, but there are a lot of digressions and asides. While it sometimes feels like you’re reading a lengthy magazine article rather than a book, the strength of this approach is that the Koller brothers are as experienced spinning a yarn as they are commanding a stage, and after having toured as much as they have, they have plenty of stories. I’m not sure how the SOIA diehards will feel about the book, but I thought it was a real page-turner. I plowed through its 300 pages in a little over 24 hours and I wasn’t bored for a minute.