Interview: Pete Koller (Sick of It All) talks about his guitars

Sick of It All guitarist Pete Koller was recently interviewed by Noisecreep, where he’s talking about the new custom guitars created for him by the folks at Artist Series Guitars. He talks about how they are designed, he talks about his first guitar and explains how he’s a self-taught musician. Here’s what he had to say:

“One of my friends plays in the band Bleeding Through [guitarist Dave Nassie] and he told me ASG were making these cool custom guitars and that I should hook something up with them. At that point the company had already done guitars for people like Death by Stereo. I checked out their website and I loved what they were doing, so I got in touch them. I spoke with their designer and hit it off right away.

30 minutes later he calls me and tells me that he has a design for me to check out. It was amazing. He actually came up with a simple concept that worked so well for us and our style. Sick of it All has that dragon symbol so we went with that in a flat silver color. It’s the band’s 25th anniversary, so silver made perfect sense. I can’t wait to get one for myself. You see, I have to wait like everyone else does.”

Pete was also asked what his first guitar was, he replied, “Wow – that would be a Hondo Flying-V [laughs]. I paid for it myself and I remember spray-painting it black when I got it home. I also wrote the name of the band my brother and I played in at the time. Well, we couldn’t even play, to be honest with you. But yeah, that band was called General Chaos [laughs]. The A’s in the logo were both written in the “Anarchy punk” style you see all the time. Once I learned how to really play guitar, I bought myself a Gibson SG Special. That was the first guitar I could actually play. The Hondo was like a block of wood. It was terrible!”

On being a self-taught musician, he said, “I never took lessons. The way I did it was that I first learned how to play a barre chord and I just wrote my own songs from there. I’m talking straight-up simple songs. Some of those songs we play to this day like ‘Friends Like You’ which is on our 1986 demo tape. Other songs I wrote at the time include ‘My Life’ which is pretty much ‘Friends Like You’ played backwards [laughs]. But these songs held up since people still want to hear them. I remember writing back then and always thinking like someone in the crowd. I would imagine would I would want to hear at a show – stuff that got the crowd moving. I guess you can call them mosh riffs. I still write like that today, 25 years later.”

Sick of it All recently announced plans to release a best of album entitled “Nonstop.” The album features re-recordings of classic soia songs produced by “Death To Tyrants” producer Tue Madsen. They will also tour to support it.

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