This interview was created by the members of unitedbywalter.com, who submitted questions via our message board. After an hour and a half, all of the questions still had not been answered. As you'll read below, Walter is anxious for part two. So please check the forum and post your follow-up questions. Thanks to everyone who participated and Nathan Blaney for the photograph.


Mywar:  Let’s start with a detailed history of your life…

 

Walter:  I was born in Rockaway Beach, Queens.  I lived there until I was 5, then my parents went to school in PennState, so I moved there.  My brother was born a few years after me.  We lived in Penn Statefor, about four to five years.  Then we moved to Ohio, until I was about 10 or 11, when we moved back to Rockaway.  I lived there until Junior High (about ninth and tenth grade), when we lived in Ohio for another year.  I got into punk, hardcore, and things like that when I was in 9th grade.

 

Mywar:  Give me an example of what you were listening to then…

 

Walter:  The first thing that really got me into music was a double feature with “Rock and Roll High School” and “The Kids Are Alright”, that was what really shaped my mind, with everything, especially in terms of rock, punk and music as a whole.

 

Mywar:  So, basically, two movies started your interest?

 

Walter:  Yeah, they got me like really HOLY SHIT!  At that time, I loved The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones. I loved just music in general, but I really got excited about it when I saw “Rock and Roll High School” and “The Kids Are Alright”.

 

Mywar:  What was the difference?  Was it the visual aspect?

 

Walter:   Yeah, The Who just looked like the coolest thing ever and The Ramones just looked like whatever that world they lived in was the world I wanted to live in. It was really fucking amazing.  Same with The Who, but I was more aware of The Who, because they were played on the radio.  I only saw “Rock and Roll High School” because it was playing with The Who movie.  So, it was totally bizarre to me. That whole world and that whole thing freaked me out and got me really excited about music.

 

Mywar:  Now that you have the interest, and the seed has been planted… where did it go from there?

 

Walter:  I learned how to play guitar when I was twelve or thirteen, I was really into AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, and a lot of classic rock. I was also into the Dead Kennedys and some punk stuff as well.  I use to listen to a hardcore radio show in Rockaway when I was in eighth and ninth grade.  Through that I got into GBH, Exploited, Beastie Boys, along with the British and American stuff that was popular at the time.  So it was a combination of all these things.

I really got into anything that had that certain sort of spirit to it.  When I moved to Ohio, I was also into The Smiths and new wave shit like Echo and The Bunnymen , that was coming out at the time.  I was listening to the radio a lot, but wasn’t really “into” music, although I fucked around with it a little bit… 

There was a band called Kraut, a hardcore band I saw on MTV.  When I returned to New York my parents and I moved to a new neighborhood, and Kraut happened to live there.  I saw Kraut stickers all over town.  That’s where I started to really think, and I began to see a connection to the Ramones world that I wanted to be in. 

Eventually I found a job and made some friends, and I got deeper into hardcore.  I started going to shows and saw some really cool shit.  I saw Husker Du, Minutemen, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, the Ramones…all the shit that was happening at that time, and I knew I wanted to get into it myself.

 

Mywar:  What was the name of the first band you were in?

 

Walter:  The Rodents

 

Mywar:  Is anybody from that band still in the scene?

 

Walter:  My friend still plays, he was the guitar player and we’re still friends, but he hasn’t been in a famous band, or a band that’s made a record.

 

Mywar:  What was band followed The Rodents?

 

Walter:  That was when I started Gorilla Biscuits.  We were playing for a little bit, had a demo out. Then Warzone, which was a popular band at that time, needed a bass player, so they asked me to join.  From that my profile kind of raised up a little.  Then Gorilla Biscuits started to get good and then Youth of Today asked me to join.  When I joined Youth of Today, I started playing bass for them and they were really hot shit at that time and Gorilla Biscuits started getting really good at the same time, so I was working in Youth of Today, while Gorilla Biscuits was my thing, that I was creating.  I managed to make a Gorilla Biscuits seven inch and we managed to do really good with that, at the same time I was doing Youth of Today. Eventually Youth of Today just broke up, because Ray Cappo was into Christna stuff and he wasn’t into doing the band anymore. It kind of really worked out for me, Gorilla Biscuits made an album, which came out really good, and we did very well with it.

 

Mywar:  During your time away, were you ever replaced in Gorilla Biscuits?

 

Walter:  No, I wasn’t replaced, but I did end up playing bass for awhile.  The guy who was playing bass on the album left, I couldn’t find anyone good enough to replace him except for yours truly.  My guitar parts were easier to play than the bass parts, so I filled that roll.

 

Mywar:  So at that time, Gorilla Biscuits became full time?

 

Walter:  Yes, the album came out and we did a European tour which went really, REALLY well.  We were playing great and everyone seemed to be digging it.  At that point the hardcore scene was getting tired.  I wasn’t content for a couple different reasons:  I wasn’t singing although I wrote all the lyrics and vocal parts.  It was getting frustrating for me, not because of anyone else’s difficulty, but I started to wonder why I didn’t just sing myself.  It would cut out a lot of the work.   I really wanted to do something on my own.  So I started Moondog.

 

Mywar:  In reference to your vocal work in Gorilla Biscuits, what are your thoughts on “Walter Sings the Hits” (note:  “Walter Sings the Hits” is a bootleg recording of Gorilla Biscuits songs featuring Walter on lead vocals).

 

Walter:  I think it’s really cool, but what you have to consider is that I sang it all in one take.  The only thing that bums me out, is that if people hear it, they would think that their was a lot of effort put into it, when in reality I could have done a much better job if I had know it would one day be heard.  It was all done with one take.  I was getting ready to tour Europe with Youth of Today, and I wanted Civ to get a start on the vocal tracks while I was gone.  So, I made a vocal guide for him to go by, and that’s what the recording is.  I think it’s cool, because people who listen to it and actually make it through to the end, generally don’t judge to harshly, and consider it more of a novelty.

 

Mywar:   Isn’t it really the missing link?  Allows people to hear what was actually going on at the time, while clarifying your role and efforts in the band.  At the same time, fans now understand the steps you took after Gorilla Biscuits…

 

Walter:   Yeah, here I am doing all of this shit, I could be just singing, why am I not?  It’s not like we were thinking of the band as any big thing, we were just kids making up a hardcore band.  We were totally into it, but it wasn’t any sort of career for us…

 

Mywar:   So the next step in your progression was Moondog… who was in that band?

 

Walter:   Me and the Gorilla Biscuits drummer just started jamming on other stuff.  I didn’t really work too hard on it, but we just started jamming at my friends studio, came up with a bunch of songs pretty quickly.  Went down to Don Fury’s and recording them.  The problem with it was that I didn’t write the lyrics before hand and I just got kind of lazy with it, and didn’t finish it.  So it didn’t come out in a finished way. I only went down to do the vocals once or twice.  My voice got blown out both times.  I didn’t have any experience singing, so I would go in and just start singing as hard as I could and my voice would be dead in a minute.   That makes is sound kind of fucked up to me too, but it was cool.  The thing is, hardcore was getting stale to me by this point.  It was all the same shit.  It goes fast, it goes slow, you say some slogan, badda bing, you’re out.  It was getting boring to me.  It wasn’t the fault of the kids.  When you have a certain musical style with certain parameters you get confined and end up working yourself into a corner, where if you don’t do this, it’s not considered hardcore. I was interested in doing something different, or else I knew I was not going to last in the scene, it became too boring.  Moondog was branching off of that. People seemed to like it, but I wasn’t really able to get is solidly together.  Quicksand started as me trying to get Moondog together.  It eventually became something all together different, where the Moondog songs didn’t sound right with the people I was playing with.  So I wanted to change the name to something that sounded right with the people that were doing it.  We played one show as Moondog.

 

Mywar:   Who is in the lineup for that show?

 

Walter:  Sammy Siegler, Tom Capone, and Sergio Vega.  Alan was at that show and he thought we were good, so we asked him to join.  Sam didn’t stay in it, and he went to play with Judge, because they were really happening at that time.

 

Mywar:   Were you ok with Sammy’s decision or did it piss you off?

 

Walter:   It didn’t piss me off. He was under a lot of pressure from the guys in Judge to quit Moondog.  I guess I thought, “Why are you so threatened by it...” but I guess he probably had a good reason…. Yeah, I was a little annoyed, but we got a really good drummer.  Alan was really awesome!

 

Mywar:   At the time, what did you think the differences between Sammy and Alan’s drumming were?

 

Walter:   Alan was this big man playing drums, and Sammy was a kid playing drums. Alan had a sort of authority... he could just fucking wail on the drums. He had a real interesting style too.  Alan was never my best friend in the world, but I always admired how he played the drums.

 

Mywar:  From what you’re saying, it would seem as though it was an easy transition from the Moondog lineup to the final Quicksand lineup.  But isn’t it true that there were other members of Quicksand at its inception?

 

Walter:  In Quicksand there was Charlie Garriga who ended up in CIV, who played for us for a minute. For me, when I was doing Quicksand, I wanted it to be more metal, like that song from Public Enemy “Channel Zero”, with that Slayer influence.  I wanted it to be rap metal, that’s what I was thinking in my mind.  Charlie definitely had that metal vibe.  Tom Capone had a huge metal vibe.  I’m not a huge metal guy, but I definitely appreciate when something is heavy or vicious.  Charlie played with us for a tour and he was awesome, but he lived in Cleveland, and that’s when I was just being a lead singer, not playing guitar, something I wish I would have continued to do….  Then after awhile, I thought the rap-metal thing became corny and I didn’t want to do it anymore. So I wanted to play guitar, so it was more guitar-y.

 

Mywar:   So would “Omission” be a good example of a song from your rap-metal period?

 

Walter:   Yes, and “Clean Slate” and to some degree “Unfulfilled”, but way more with “Clean Slate”.

 

B8senne:   Were there any other rap bands, besides Public Enemy, that you were listening to?  When Quicksand came out is was a completely new sound, as was a lot of the rap music?  How did it influence you?

 

Walter:   Hardcore and rap in New York was happening at the same time.  When I was in Junior High School, rap came up.  Everyone was break dancing and freaking out.  Run DMC and all of those bands were happening at that time. When I was into hardcore, Public Enemy, Eric B was all in New York.  Now it’s everywhere.  It seemed as though all the artists were coming out of New York, so it felt very connected to what our hardcore scene was about.  KRS One and shit like that.  Later on De La Soul, all of that early hip hop stuff was very connected, pretty much everyone that was into hardcore was into hip hop.

 

B8senne:   Do you think the rap influence was the main ingredient that helped differentiate Quicksand from all of the other bands emerging from the hardcore scene?  It was definitely a sound that was unlike anything else…..

 

Walter:   I liked rap.  Maybe more than some, but not as much as some of my other friends.  I liked Slayer and Metallica at that time also.  Danzig and Soundgarden were happening at that time.  I was definitely interested in the metal-type of sounds.  So I would say a combination of that.  Also the fact that we came from hardcore, which created its own natural sort of different energy.  Before I was into hardcore I thought U2 was the best band ever.  Then I saw the Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front and Youth of Today.  That’s when I realized there was no flag Bono could ever wave that could match the energy and feeling of being at CBGB’s where I’m afraid I’m going to die.  This was huge, and I think that since that’s where we came from added a certain spice to it that made it unlike Slayer or Public Enemy or any of those things it became a third thing.

 

Mywar:   What was Jason Farrell’s involvement with early Quicksand?

 

Walter:   We kicked Tom (Capone) out of the band…

 

Mywar:  So Tom was in Moondog, and then got kicked out of Quicksand?

 

Walter:  Tom played in the band Moondog, but he didn’t record with Moondog. We kicked him out, and we got signed to a major label and for some reason we thought he was acting like a dick, so we kicked him out.  I don’t know... it was probably a weird time for all of us. In that period of time we got Jason Farrell to play with us for a minute.  Jason was down to doing it, but then he got nervous, wanted to return to school and finish college.  He wasn’t able to make the commitment.  We really didn’t have anybody.  Ultimately we realized we were hasty in kicking Tom out.  We hung out with him a few times and patched things up.  He ended up coming in at the last minute of the “Slip” recording.  We laid down the foundation and Tom came in and added his shit over it, and did such an awesome job.  He has a really special way of playing.

 

Mywar:  “Slip” came out, touring and then “Manic Compression”.  Was that one of the longest periods of time you went without a lineup change?

 

Walter:  It was longer than anything I had done before.  Youth of Today was not that long; I mean it was long in high school long.  Two years in high school is like fucking forever.  Quicksand was about five years.  Up to that point, that was the most serious, plus it was how I made my living…

 

Mywar:  There are stories that you aren’t happy with the way “Manic Compression” sounds…

 

Walter:  I think it come out shitty.  I think the songs are really good, but it’s my own fault to some degree.  I wasn’t trusting of the people I was working with.  I loved the way “Start Today” came out, and I love the comfort of being in a little studio.  I am intimidated by large studios, where if you want to record a guitar you have to take twenty minutes to set-up the wires and all of this bullshit, which freaks me out.  So I somehow manipulated it into Don Fury’s studio, but he had changed his set-up.  He wasn’t using tape anymore.  He switched to A-DAT’s which is semi-pro equipment.  Recording wise…. it’s not a great recording.  “Manic Compression” is a title that is similar to when Pee Wee Herman wiped out on his bike and said “I meant to do that”.  It’s really compressed, a totally, manically compressed record.  But I think the songs are fucking awesome.  It’s sort of like Metallica’s “And Justice for All”, it sounds totally fucking retarded, but for reason we all love it.  I’m not going to put it down too much, because it is what it is… but to me, there were more vicious songs on “Manic Compression”, and I really dug a lot of it, in many aspects I liked it more than “Slip”.

 

Mywar:  Then there was CIV…

 

Walter:  CIV, I wrote at the same time I was doing “Manic Compression”.

 

Mywar:  Did you write the whole album?

 

Walter:  I wrote the whole album.

 

Mywar:  Lyrics and everything?

 

Walter:  Lyrics and everything.

 

Mywar:  So why aren’t you credited on it?

 

Walter:  I thought it wouldn’t be a good sell, if it looked as if someone else was writing their material.  I thought it would be a better sell if they were writing their own material, or if it was left obscured…

 

Mywar:  How did this come about… was CIV a band that asked for your help writing their hit single?

 

Walter:  No, it was me and my roommate Charlie just fucking around, saying lets create this band.  We wrote “Can’t Wait One Minute More”, and then I wrote “Et Tu, Brute?” and then I talked Civ into fronting this band and calling it CIV.  We recorded the two songs and did the video.  Based on that we got a record deal, and I wrote the rest of the album, so it was conceptualized.

 

Mywar:  So was this the punk rock version of New Kids on the Block?

 

Walter:  More like the Monkees or the Sex Pistols…  It was like a hardcore record.  I don’t know what hardcore record sold more copies in a faster period of time.  There are pop songs on it, of course, but there are real legitimate hardcore songs with mosh parts, it was on a major label, and it was on MTV all the time. 

 

Luminol:  Do you regret not keeping “Can’t Wait One Minute More” for yourself?

 

Walter:  I don’t think I could have pulled it off (Walter now sings the chorus, snapping his fingers).  I don’t think that’s my deal.  I could write it for somebody else.  To me it was “Start Today”, but a poppier version of it.  It was kind of simple and I thought kind of funny in that way.  My persona at that time was that I was the Quicksand guy, sort of brooding.  I don’t think I was comfortable being the “Can’t Wait One Minute More” guy.

 

Everybody:  It’s such a great song…

 

Walter:  I thought of it as glam rock a little bit too.  We wanted to have songs that could get played at Madison Square Garden during Knicks and Rangers games.  That was “Can’t Wait One Minute More” or “Set Your Goals”... that was the idea.

 

Mywar: There were a lot of great topics in several of the songs on that album

 

Walter:  I thought the lyrics were great.  I remember thinking that I was on the money while I was writing that album.  Maybe it was because, ultimately, I wasn’t going to be the face of it.  I felt very at ease to do fucked-up crazy shit.

 

Mywar:  Are you suggesting that it was easier to write more personal lyrics when you know someone else is going to sing them, versus know that you’re going to have to dedicate yourself to singing the songs for a two year tour?

 

Walter:  Yeah, definitely.  In some ways, it’s a lighter thing for me to get involved with; at the same time it’s really exciting and fun.  I just felt very focused and knew exactly what I was doing the whole way through.  Even though there’s so much variety within that record, there’s wacky goofball songs, there’s “you betrayed me” songs, “we can do it” songs, and there are some tender moments here and there… I felt like I very much knew exactly what I was doing and that feeling was very exciting.

 

Mywar:  Whose idea was it to bring Lou Koller (singer of Sick of It All) in to sing on “Can’t Wait One Minute More”?

 

Walter:  It was my idea; I just thought he would be perfect.

 

Mywar:  Did you ever consider singing that part yourself?

 

Walter:  I wasn’t the guy to do that part.  From the beginning I pictured Lou Sick of It All.  He’s really pissed and the way the bridge goes (Walter sings the melody line in a faux angry voice)… the lyrics were originally (Walter sings) “I’m Lou from Sick of It all and I’m pissed, and I gotta sing some shit”.  All I knew was that Lou was going to sing something, and it’s gonna be some kind of rah rah rah.

 

Mywar:  So, with both albums out, you hit the road with CIV and Quicksand?

 

Walter:  We did two tours with CIV.  One they opened for Quicksand and then the Warped Tour which featured both bands.

 

Luminol:  What were your feelings about CIV’s follow up to “Set Your Goals”, “Thirteen Day Getaway”?

 

Walter:  Eh…… I was psyched because they were my friends and I was psyched that they did something, but I was a little bummed, because in my mind, it was my baby and now it was going off to school by itself.

 

Luminol:  From a fans point of view, there was this kick ass debut and the second album just sucked!

 

Walter:  I know... I feel a little bummed by it…

 

Mywar:  What was your involvement with “Thirteen Day Getaway”?

 

Walter:  From my point of view, it got to where they didn’t want to be my guys in that way anymore.  They wanted to do their own thing.  But I think that when you’re selling it, that name, or that idea, you better fucking have something great as an alternative.  But it’s cool; they did really well in terms of selling songs for advertisements and stuff like that, so they did well in that point of view.  Also, that they just did it, I think is admirable, but for me as an artist it was done… it didn’t call for a second album, it was a concept, and idea that happened and was finished.

 

Mywar:  Did you write anything on the second CIV record?

 

Walter:  I wrote the melodies and the music to “Little Men”, but I didn’t write the lyrics.  It’s the last song on the album and I think it’s really, really good.

 

Mywar:  While on tour, how did you react to the going wild for your songs during CIV’s set?

 

Walter:  I thought it was cool.  Here I am, in a band where I get one type of thrill, and then I watch these other guys in a band I essentially created… they were friends too, and they were benefiting from this thing… I got a kick out of it.

My friend did the video and shit was happening for him, he’s doing a movie now.  It was exciting, it was REALLY cool that even though I wrote the songs and conceptualized it, I had also worked with people to create something that had a life of its own… all at the same time I was doing this other thing (Quicksand), it was thrilling.

 

Mywar:  Were you ever envious of the success “Can’t Wait One Minute More” had over Quicksand’s releases?

 

Walter:  No, because that was my success too.  So I didn’t think about it that way.  Also, with Quicksand I think even with Manic Compression” I wanted to make something that was scratchy, dark and jagged.  The CIV record was my opportunity to be more “sunshine-y”: sunny and funny.  I think that all of my songs have a little funniness in them, but not as much as (Walter sings) “I’m Lou Sick of It all and I’m really crazy”.  That kind of stuff, which is more like Sesame Street type of fun.  So with different guises, within the same year, I was doing fucking crazy ass dark, broken bottle type songs and also wacky goof ball type songs.  It was all happening at the same time, and I got off on that.

 

Mywar:  SO in the middle of this tour, where you admittedly had the best of both worlds, Quicksand broke up…

 

Walter:  Yeah, the guys in the band were driving me crazy.  Sans Sergio, who I got along with.  I think this CIV thing may have bothered them more than it bothered me.

 

Mywar:  In what way?

 

Walter:  I don’t know… it’s hard for me to just project and make up what they were thinking.  It created a tension… maybe because I had some other face of something.  I don’t even really know if that’s true, but it’s something I felt.  Maybe I was more dismissive of them because I this that I can do anything I want to do deal.  I didn’t need to deal with their shit.

 

Mywar:  Where did this all go down?

 

Walter:  We were in Portland and there were just incidents leading up to it… interpersonal stuff.  At that time I felt like this was not what I wanted to be doing.  Quicksand, the whole fucking thing, I’m not into it.

 

Mywar:  What were you not into?

 

Walter:  The tension… and from my point of view I was getting to the point where I felt under-rated in the group.  I didn’t think that I was an equal member in some respects.  It’s really personal… interpersonally we just weren’t getting along.  I felt like, fuck it, I can do anything I want at this stage of the game.  I can make up whatever songs, and I can succeed or fail how I choose.  It’s not like I was making that much money, or my ego was getting so stroked in the situation, that I needed it.  I didn’t need to put up with the shit that was going on.  It’s not to say the people in the group were dicks, or didn’t have a point of view that was also relevant to what was going on… because I didn’t think they were dicks, I still don’t.  I just felt unhappy and I didn’t feel any inspiration for future shit. 

So we were in Portland and had some fight or something.  I told the guys that we should finish the tour and then really have some serious talks about the band, but let them know I wasn’t really feeling it.  Two of the dudes said “we should just break up today”.

 

Mywar:  Who said that?

 

Walter:  It was Sergio and Alan.  I was getting along with Serge… Me and Tom were getting along well and at the time we were really good friends.  Serge and I are awesome friends.  Alan and I had more of a tenuous relationship, but I think he’s an awesome guy. Sometimes you can think someone is cool and really admire them, but when you share an apartment with them you can end up wanting to strangle them.  It can go both ways.  I don’t mean to paint a picture where anyone wronged me or did anything bad to me or was unfair to me.  I think people just act they way they act.  It wasn’t a tenable situation... it happened very quickly, which I think is the only sad thing about it.  Maybe we could have finished that tour.

 

Mywar:  What kept you from keeping it together for the remainder of the tour?

 

Walter:  I wanted to do it, but Alan said “I don’t want to do that”.  We played about two shows and went to Los Angeles.  It’s pretty fucked up.  It’s similar to when your girlfriend tells you that you’re going to break up, but let’s go to the wedding together.  It’s fucking lame and you don’t want to do it night after night.  So in that respect, I can understand why they didn’t feel like playing Austin Texas, this place and than place, knowing it’s for naught…. But it was hasty.

 

Mywar:  So what shows did you play under the “we’re breaking up” cloud?

 

Walter:  San Francisco and Los Angeles.  L.A. was the last show… then I just hung out in LA for a while and then flew home.

 

Mywar:  After LA, the next time we saw Quicksand was with the Deftones on the “reunion tour”.  What happened during all that time?

 

Walter:  I started doing my own stuff.  I could never… I can’t say that I couldn’t get it together, but I was under a lot of pressure from the record label, and also from myself.  I really couldn’t manage to get a lineup together, or to get a cohesive plan.  Like when I knew with CIV, exactly how it was going to go.  I couldn’t really decide what my new bands cohesive style or plan was going to be.  The longer that I tried to figure it out, the more kind of confused I became about it.

 

Mywar:  Tell us a little about the projects you were working on…

 

Walter:  It was really Worlds Fastest Car.  I spent over a year trying to put something together and I came up with lots of songs and I started to get less and less invested in the songs.  Then the record label was kind of fucked up at the time and it wasn’t the same sort of “Walter you’re the greatest in the world” type of deal, it became “Walter, we need you to write a hit like “Can’t Wait on Minute More”.   This is the kind of atmosphere I can’t thrive in.  I need to be in the “you dig me, and what I do is cool and you accept it on whatever level” environment.  I’m not the kind of person who writes hits in that way.

 

Mywar:  Did you feel comfortable to have that conversation with your label?

 

Walter:  Yes.  I mean, I was very disappointed… You can’t say that because something is a hit, that it’s important, and therefore of value, but then it suddenly changes. Every few years an entire record label changes and a new group comes in.  Then they have some new target that they’re trying to hit.  I think at that time I just kind of feel in-between it.

I listen to that Worlds Fastest Car stuff now and I think it’s pretty awesome... way WAY better than I gave it credit for at the time, which is sort of a bummer.  But I ended up salvaging some of that shit for Rival Schools.

 

Mywar:  So were you initially with Artie after Quicksand?

 

Walter:  Yeah, Arty Shepherd, I thought he was great in Mind Over Matter.  I just thought he was such a great guy.  I thought he would be a great guy to play with in a band at either bass or guitar.  He started playing bass.  He really stuck it out with me for awhile, but after some time, if you don’t make it happen, it just becomes fucked up and you need to move on.  Somehow it turned out where girlfriends kind of conspired and things started to come together to where this shit isn’t working out for you, this shit isn’t working out for me, why don’t you reconsider your hasty decision about Quicksand and maybe that’s what you should be doing and funneling the songs you’ve been working on into that and make that happen.  So it sounded like a good idea… and at that time I was even considering not doing music anymore, it’s depressing, I’m not really into it.

So we started playing together and it was kind of cool for awhile… but to be honest the shit was really dark, and it’s just totally against my main instinct which is to never return or look back.

Like the people who I admire; Paul Weller or Morrissey or David Bowie or Bob Dylan people who do what they’re going to do and then move on.  They don’t consider oh yeah this has worked so I’ll give people what they want.  In that sense, I felt lame and old and past my prime.

 

Mywar:  Are you specifically talking about the Quicksand ’98 recordings?

 

Walter:  Yeah, the reunion… I didn’t really dig it

 

Mywar:  Songs like “Hostage Calm”?

 

Walter:  Yes, that kind of stuff… A girlfriend of mine once told me “anything you do will be of a certain quality because it’s you doing it”, but, I didn’t want to rely on that.  I want to be thinking “this shit rules”, and that it’s awesome and solid.  Not just because it’s me and because I have an expertise or a technique in which I execute things.  When I’ve done stuff that’s good, that’s how it feels.  Although I’ve done some stuff that in my mind isn’t that good, but still people will say I really like it, and I’m always excited about that too.

 

Mywar:  Was Worlds Fastest Car done when you started Quicksand up again?

 

Walter:  Yes

 

Mywar:  With the Quicksand reunion, it didn’t seem to take much time before you weren’t happy with the way it was going…

 

Walter:  Yeah, it was actually longer than it should have been, but it was not that long.  We did that Deftones tour and that made it very apparent to me.

 

Mywar:  How much time went by between the time Quicksand started playing to when you went out with the Deftones?

 

Walter:  Within a year probably… The people at the record label didn’t want us to go out with the Deftones… but people talked and knew we were getting back together.  I felt that we needed to go out and do something.  Going out with the Deftones was really cool.  They were so fun and great, but the truth is they were opening for us when we broke up initially and I saw the level of ferociousness, what those guys were willing to do to move a crowd I was not willing to do.  I wasn’t willing to go “WAHHHH” (angry scream). The level of intensity that was required to roll in that scene I no longer possessed.  There was no way I could compete with the Deftones anymore.  So I realized I was dead in that scene.  Even Snapcase, those dudes were vicious.  I don’t feel that way… I can’t… I mean maybe I could, but I think I had maybe done my time, and I had this feeling that I was going to get beat in this scene and I’m going to get lamer, older and limper in this.  So I was thinking, I can’t win in this game, and I want to get out of it and try to figure out something else.

 

Mywar:  How were you communicating with the rest of the band during the Deftones tour?

 

Walter:  Me and Serge were really tight, Tom was going through a lot of personal stuff and Alan and I didn’t along as always.

 

Mywar:  From my point of view, Sergio seemed the happiest to be back on stage with the band…

 

Walter:  Serge was great.  During that era, Serge and I got the tightest. And I really think that was the closest I had ever been with him.  I’m still friends with him and I see him out, and I think he’s a great GREAT guy.

 

Mywar:  There were rumors that Tom had an addiction and Alan was playing too slow.  Both of these were reasons the tour didn’t work out.

 

Walter:  Those are personal things, I don’t want to comment on that… but to even criticize how Alan was playing, maybe that’s kind of petty too.

 

Mywar:  I don’t think it was criticism, as much as, the fact that Alan was in a different groove.

 

Walter:  Yeah, we couldn’t jam.  We couldn’t relate.  I felt that I couldn’t’ really communicate.  It’s like when you’re in a fucked up relationship, and you say “how was work today?”, and you raise your eyebrow the wrong way.  A million things get read into it.  We couldn’t fucking communicate, it was really bad relationship.  So it was impossible to say, “hey dude, play it faster” without it being loaded with a hundred other fucking issues.  We just couldn’t communicate.  It was like, Okay… “Quicksand’s really great”, but I’m fucking miserable.  Pay me a million dollars and I’ll deal with this bullshit but otherwise it’s painful for the whole team.  It was cool in that sometimes you have to go up against something and you have to have a shitty experience to really determine whether or not you’re truly into something or not.  And it was a fully shitty experience, it was actually cool, but it made me realize, if this is what it is, there are better things to do in life or in music or whatever.

 

Mywar:  So the Deftones tour is over…

 

Walter:  After that, there was a big deal at the label where everyone got fired and a whole new record label came in.  At about that time I had written some songs, kind of more along the lines of what Walking Concert sounds like.  I always really liked the song “Requiem” by Worlds Fastest Car, whatever the style was; it was more melodic, popiness, which harkens back to me loving pop.  Loving the Beatles, the Smiths, the Beach Boys, loving that kind of shit.  Knowing what that was what I should be doing, and then the whole merger with the label, I was left sort of Columbine, people were getting dropped off the record label, and people were getting fired.  I was under a desk at the library waiting for the shit to clear out.  Then an A&R guy called me up and said “Hey Walter, we want you to make a record, what do you have?”.  So that kind of started Rival Schools. 

 

Mywar:  At this point, as far as the label was concerned, was Quicksand finished?

 

Walter:  For them, it was just “we own Walter Schreifels contract as a solo artist at Island Records, so who are we getting rid of who, and who are we keeping…” and I wanted to do Rival Schools.

 

Mywar:  So how did Rival Schools come together?

 

Walter:  Sammy was still in CIV, but eventually I was able to get him to help me out with this thing.  It all started to develop from there.  We worked on that for probably about a year before we got our shit together to record an album.  I think ultimately we wrote some good songs together and there were some songs I wrote for Worlds Fastest Car that I used for it.

 

Mywar:  What about Ian and Cache?

 

Walter:  It was me and Sam and I knew I could play with him.  We already had a kind of vibe.  Cache was playing bass for CIV so we brought him in, and we hit if off.  Then we recorded some songs with Ian Love, who I’ve known for years, and eventually wanted to get a guitar player.  Sam really wanted to get Ian in the band, so we brought him down.  Although I was friends with him, I didn’t think his style would really mesh.  But he did a great job, he was awesome.  I think the first thing we wrote together was “Get Center”, and then it kind of took a sort of different shape. 

Half of it was leftover from certain other things and half of it was stuff we had created together. I think some of the better stuff is “Good Things”, “World Invitational”; more “group” efforts. Also “Used for Glue” and that song with the drum machine…”Holding Sand”, which was a World’s Fastest Car demo.

 

Mywar:  You guys toured for awhile and then Ian left?

 

Walter:  Ian quit. I think it was a struggle with the band the whole time. Maybe because I already had a recording contract and was inviting people in to play with me. There was a certain…It wasn’t the same thing as when The Beatles got together in Hamburg and played for 6 months and built those bonds. It was a bit different…and also Ian was always ambitious with his own thing. So it seemed the bigger Rival Schools got and the more it looked like it was going to be an important thing, the more stressful it is for someone who wants to have their own voice. From my point of view, it kind of got to Ian, and I think he needed to do his own thing.

 

Mywar:  So Rival Schools is getting successful and everyone else seems to be happy.  Yet, Ian saw it differently.  He saw it as confining?

 

Walter:  Yes. It became less likely that he’d get to do his thing (Cardia).  I think at a certain point, or stage in the game, he decided to take a risk. By saying “I’m not going to bet on this thing to make me happy” and. “I’m going to go do something else.” I didn’t take it as a diss, as to what we were doing, or a diss to our friendship, I just took it as an adult decision.

 

Mywar:  So then Chris Traynor joined the band?

 

Walter:  For a little while.

Before that we toured with Ian even though we knew he was going to quit. At the end of the tour I was thinking that I didn’t really want to continue. Ian quit, there were interpersonal deals between all of us. I still felt as though Rival Schools was an in-betweener: trying to please people that were into Quicksand and somewhat trying to please myself and somewhat trying to please the desires of the people in the band as well as the people at the record label. My area of being pleased wasn’t that big, but it was all supposedly around me and that got to me in a way. Ian’s decision to quit and say “I want to do my own thing and I don’t care about the success” not that he didn’t care about it—I’m sure it was tough…but did I want to get another guitar player and try to build this in this way? Not that badly. Besides, at this stage of the game I’d already been in the business for a long time. Again, if I’m a millionaire and I’ve made some sort of mark and financially created some lifestyle that’s worthwhile to preserve that’s one thing…my lifestyle is AWESOME. I love it and I want to preserve it but part of what’s awesome about it is I do what I want like “Napoleon Dynamite” and at this time I wasn’t doing what I wanted and I felt like, as a musician, I couldn’t really sleep on that. It’s tough…It’s tough to be a musician, it’s tough to put yourself out there, and it’s tough to travel to Minneapolis to play a show. Not tough like working during the daytime on a highway laying down blacktop but it’s tough in terms of how much of yourself you put into it. It seemed like the right time to get the fuck out but the powers that be: the record label, the guys in the band said “Just do this album anyway.” I was like “OK. Cool. I’ll just do it.” I thought I’d do my own thing on the side and I’ll get this Rival Schools record done. So we wrote some new songs. We got Chris Traynor, who’s an awesome guitar player and a really good dude. We came up with some shit that I think is really good and ultimately I would love to release it, but then the record label started to bail on us. They said they didn’t hear the single and I was like “I barely wanna fucking do this. I’m not getting into this bullshit trying to write a hit single game.” I don’t care because if I try to write you a hit single either I’ll succeed or I’ll fail, and I’ll fail. It’s like someone dressing you for a party and trying to convince you that you’re going to look good. Maybe you will or maybe you’ll look like a fucking douche bag. I’d rather dress myself and look like a douche bag than have someone else dress me. Maybe it’s stupid but from where I came from and the way I look at things…I admire people like Paul Weller and Bob Dylan. These people write their fucking songs and move. Even REM, Bowie, and U2, they're not trying to be into the times. They are trying to express their perspective on the world as it goes along. It’s not like anyone put it to me in those terms but that’s how I interpreted it. I wasn’t feeling passionate about it, so I thought it was going to  be second best and if I’m going to put my effort into making a record I should do something that I really want to do. If it sucks let it suck on my own terms and let me go down in a way that’s interesting to me.

 

Mywar:  How does this bring you into Walking Concert?

 

Walter:  So Walking Concert is that endeavor. Here I am, I’m the guy from Quicksand or the guy from Rival Schools and I’m doing something else. I’m doing “Calypso Slide.” I do whatever the fuck I want. I’m like “Napoleon Dynamite.” I just do what I want.

 

B8senne:  How old is the oldest song on “Run to Be Born?”

 

Walter:  The oldest song from the album is “A Lot to Expect” and I think that’s a couple of years old. Actually, “Seven Motorcycles” and “Waiting for Warm Insides" are older. “Audrey” is pretty old, too. But really at the end of the Rival Schools tour, I just started playing acoustic guitar, getting into lyric writing and whatever came to mind. I really just trusted my feeling and didn’t really care whether it was going to be a hit single or whether Quicksand fans would like it. Whether it would be cool or lame—it was just me and what I thought. I wanted to trust that. People say this, but it’s probably the best you can do…what you think is good is what’s probably going to be the best. That’s what I think in other people: If someone’s going to do something, if they do it the way they like it chances are that’s probably the best way it’s going to come out.

 

Mywar:  How did you meet the 3 other members of Walking Concert?

 

Walter:  I’ve known Drew forever. He was in the same hardcore circuit and was the last person to join the band. Ryan and I were in a band called Pearl Harbor. I played drums. I’ve been friends with him for 3-4 years, maybe more.

 

Mywar:  Rebecca Schiffman was in that band?

 

Walter:  She played bass in it.

 

Mywar:  Doesn’t she sing on an unreleased Walking Concert song as well?

 

Walter:  She sings on “Waiting for Warm Insides” which I’m hoping will be on the next album. It’s a fucking awesome song but we haven’t gotten the right version yet. She’s amazing. Ryan? I just knew he was a fucking genius. He gets music so fucking amazingly. It’s like if you’re having a conversation with someone you can say anything and they fucking “get it.” You say something and they say something to top it and you say something to top that. He’s really excellent.

Jeff? I always admired him. In J. Majesty he was the guitar player. That was classic…like Jeff Beck or something like that. He's a dude that’s not just a guitar player. The first time I saw him he was playing a guitar behind his neck. He just felt it and I was knocked out by the way he played. Chris Daly originally played drums. I always loved the way he played drums. He played with us for awhile. Andy Action played on the record. He’s got such great feel.

 

Mywar:  Why did Chris Daly leave?

 

Walter:  He didn’t want to do what we were doing right now.

 

Mywar:  Stylistically?

 

Walter:  No. No. Not stylistically. Life-stylistically. He didn’t want to be in a band driving to Minneapolisto play a show. He loves music and is a great drummer but he knows what this involves. For us to do this thing you have to work really hard and get yourself out there. I believe in it, I believe it’s ultimately worth it but I know it’s tough shit.

 

Mywar: That brings us to the end of the first question. (Laughter)

 

Walter: What a powerful first question: “A brief history of your life.”

 

B8senne:  One of the most common questions on UBW was “What about Moondog, when is it coming out?”

 

Walter:  I’m so lazy about it, it sucks. At first I never wanted to put it out because, like I said, I was never really happy with it.   Then, I tried to put it together.  I got the artwork together from Melinda Beck.  I have almost all of the pieces together, but just haven’t got my shit together and put it out.

 

Mywar:  What’s it going to take to get it released?

 

Walter:  I have the artwork, I have the lyrics written down, and it’s not complex really… it’s just that I’m busy.  I’m just very interested in what I’m doing at the moment.

 

Mywar:  Well, let’s delegate some of these tasks, to help quicken the process.  I’ll write the liner notes.

 

Walter:  That’s great, that’s awesome!!  That’s huge… yeahhh (Walter claps) we’re half way there.  I think the liner notes are one to the things that was crippling me.

 

Mywar:  What about the mastering?

 

Walter:  I’ve had it mastered, partially… It’s all doable.  The liner notes offer is fucking awesome.

 

Mywar:  We all agree that the new album needs to run its course.  You need to tour and pour all your energy into it, but when you’re taking a break between albums, Moondog NEEDS to come out!

 

Walter:  The thing that’s tough, it that it’s tough to accept it.  I always felt that I didn’t finish it, or that I didn’t do it right.  But, it is what it is and it needs to come out.  It will.

 

Ohwellmonkey:  What about World’s Fastest Car?  Will that CD ever see the light of day?

 

Walter:  I have a bunch of that kind of shit, but it’s a little tricky because Island owns some of it.  I don’t even have some of the tapes.  I have recordings of stuff that ended up on the internet which people have sent me.  Moondog has a much better chance of coming out.  It’s a little more concise, I own it, I can put it out… With Worlds Fastest Car, so many different lineups, so many different areas, different people own it.  I don’t have all of the masters… it’s a lot more work.

 

Mywar:  One of the biggest questions involving Worlds Fastest Car, would have to be in the form of “Requiem”, which you brought up earlier…

 

Walter:  I don’t even know if it’s an awesome song, but it’s different.

 

Everyone:  “It’s AWESOME!!”  (everyone starts to sing it)

 

Walter:  Yeah, it’s kind of a rocking song (Walter laughs).  I thought, “That’s my natural way, that’s my voice”.  Quicksand is a side of me in a way I understand things, my way of looking things.  Gorilla Biscuits is another.  I think it’s almost truer… it’s another side of me.  They’re both truthful, but at that time, Quicksand became this thing were I had to be so brooding, pulling everything out of my guts and although that’s true and that’s all a part of me, I just got tired of doing that and in some ways, I just like melody and it doesn’t have to be this sick or catharsis to get a feeling from something… on that song, I just let myself go on a different way and it came out good.  So in a way I was like “oh wow”, but then I just gave up on it.

 

Mywar:  Considering what you just said, wouldn’t it be important to you, to have that song documented in an official sense?

 

Walter:  Yes totally, I just can’t find the context.  We recorded it for Walking Concert.  Rival Schools recorded it, but I didn’t like it all.  I think Walking Concert could do a good version of it.  I just don’t know it would stand up to the other songs.  It’s just hard to say… maybe for the next record.

 

B8senne:  I don’t understand some decisions concerning what was and what wasn’t included on the albums.  For example, why was “Shovel” (Quicksand B-side) left off the album?

 

Walter:  Yeah, that should have definitely been on the album.  I fucked up on that one.  I thought it was too poppy.

 

Ohwellmonkey:  What about “Chelsea’s Going Under”?

 

Walter:  I thought it was too Pearl Jammy.  I didn’t dig it.  I could psycho analyze it… in some ways I was afraid of stepping away from the genre.

 

Mywar:  Could it be that unconsciously you’re holding an ace up your sleeve?  Thinking that if you ever get writer’s block or find yourself stuck in a rut, you’ll always have songs like “Requiem” to fall back on?

 

Walter:  I have thought about that.  Maybe in someway, yeah…  I know in the back of my mind I’ve got “Waiting for Warm Insides”, “Paige Davis”, “Requiem” and five new songs in my back pocket.  I could write 3 shitty songs and still have a good album.

 

B8senne:  What about the songwriting process?  Does it come in spurts or are you continually working on stuff?

 

Walter:  It’s different in different times.  During Gorilla Biscuits I was fully into it and the songs were flowing.  During Quicksand it was more stop and start.  CIV it was flowing.  Rival Schools it was stop and start.  With Walking Concert it’s completely flowing.  I am constantly writing.

 

Mywar:  You have a new album that’s only been out for a month, yet you play 4 brand new songs (written after the album was recorded)  on the first day of your first tour… that’s pretty amazing testament to your wealth of material…

 

Walter:  Yeah, and that’s only the ones that we can play live.  I have so many more songs.  I’m in a constant flow.  The people that I admire, who I already mentioned, Dylan, Bowie, etc… they were putting out two albums a year.  They were never out of it.  It’s a luxury at this point of my life to take the time to think about stuff and write songs about it.

 

Mywar:  Can we expect a second album this year?

 

Walter:  If I can do it… We have to let this record breath.  I need to come to places like Minneapolis twice, maybe three times more to do it justice.  Although I think the next record will fucking blow the shit out of it, I think this record is awesome and it’s up to me to promote it, let people know about it and let it air out… but I’m writing all the time!

 

Mywar:  It seems as though they’re ready to boot us out of here, so let’s get to some more quick questions from UBW members:

 

Walter:  If we run out of time, I can do more of this at another juncture….

 

Mywar:  This question is from Dent, representing our UBW-Russia-Posse… What is your favorite song today or in the past?  The one that makes you say “Damn… this is it!!!!  This is the music I’ve always wanted to play”.

 

That’s a great question.  It’s tough to narrow it down… but I’m psyched to play “But You Know It’s True” and “Girls in the Field”.  With “Girls” I don’t even know how I came up with that, it was so unconscious.   “But You Know It’s True” so many things happened so quickly to make that song.  It represents everything I know about hardcore and pop… hardcore is like pop.

 

Mywar:  This next question was, by far, the most popular question on the site, and it comes from our friend Usualchannels:  When you were in Quicksand, did you guys have a vote to decide that you should all grow your hair out, or did one of you do it, and it just sort of caught on?  Did you all cut it again at the same time?  Did you have a party?  How about Fugazi, do you think they held a meeting to decide to stop taking their shirts off onstage? Because you KNOW they all stopped at the same time.

 

Walter:  (laughing) When we all grew our hair, Quicksand was, more than any other time, of the same mind.  We were all listening to the same music.  My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Lush, Pale Saints, anything from Europe that was swirly.  Swervedriver, all these bands coming out of England and they all happened to have long hair.  Sonic Youth and then the grunge thing just blew it over… also, hardcore was about having a shaved head.  So we were all really tight on that idea, but it wasn’t like we had a meeting and said “let’s grow our hair long”.  We were growing our hair long naturally, mainly because we were hanging out together.  It wasn’t conscious, but it’s not like we weren’t aware that we had long hair.  We knew it.

 

Mywar:  RivalSchools72 wants to know what your favorite albums and artists are at the moment.

 

Walter:  I really like “Better Doesn’t Make You Better” by the Lilys.  It’s probably the record I like the most right now, but that’s more contemporary.  I’ve really been listening to “Ziggy Stardust” a lot lately too.

 

Mywar:  What comes first, lyrics or music?

 

Walter:  Generally melody and music, then the lyrics come after.  Although the song is about all of those things, but to me, it’s mostly about the lyrics.  I want to start writing the lyrics first, but they are always the hardest thing for me.  You can have a shitty melody and great lyrics and get away with it. 

 

Mywar:  What music, art, writing, or films influenced you during the writing of “Run to Be Born”?

 

Walter:  I was listening to late 60’s and early 70’s classic rock, some punk stuff, as well as the scenes I’ve been in. Hardcore, that whole vibe, It all came into it.  I really love French new wave movies and Swedish movies… Hitchcock, etc...  As for books, Ayn Rand...

 

Mywar:  Have any of her political and social views gone into any of your writing?

 

Walter:  Yeah totally, but not into my writing like singing about ideas of hers, but in the sense that I don’t like working by committee.  In art anyway, things come out good because I put my little piece there, you put your little piece there.  The idea has to be understood and people’s area of expertise is totally integral.  I also like James Joyce.  For artwork, Kasimir Malevich.  “Girls in the Field” was all written about Kasimir Malevich painting girls in the field.

 

Mywar:  What is your favorite 80’s metal album?

 

Walter:  “Back In Black” (AC/DC)

 

Mywar:  What’s the deal with your obsession with Ralph Macchio?

 

Walter:  I’m not really obsessed with him:  Maybe…. It was an afterthought, although “Hello Sensei” is about him.

 

Mywar:  Isn’t the name Walking Concert taken from a line in “Crossroads” which is another movie he was in?

 

Walter:  It is, it is. I got that from…It’s not really Ralph Macchio. I got that from…Ralph Macchio is kind of a funny character. He did some intense movies like “The Outsiders” and “Karate Kid”—well, maybe those were the only 2, but they were intense!

 

Triebsand:  What’s the proudest accomplishment of your life?

 

Walter:  You have to split it between this record and “Start Today.” Those are the 2 favorite things I’ve done musically.

 

Mywar:  Did “Start Today” go gold?

 

Walter:  No. It sold a fucking lot of records but far from the 500,000.

 

Mywar:  If you were going to have a supergroup, who would the singer be?

 

Walter:  So many people who have great voices…Bono.

 

Mywar:  Guitar player?

 

Walter:  It’s hard to say. Graham Coxon from Blur. Bass player? I love the way Paul McCartney plays bass. Oh god, Jimmy Page has got to be on guitar, not Graham Coxon. Drummer would be Keith Moon. Oh god, but John Entwistle would be a good bass player, too. I’d end up making a band. You could get Eddie Van Halen, Ted Nugent, and Jimmy Page in a band and it would suck.

 

Mywar:  Why would you pick Keith Moon over John Bonham?

 

Walter:  I love John Bonham but I like the way Keith Moon appears and disappears and he creates a lot of phonetic excitement.

Alan Cage played a lot like John Bonham. More of a big, manly type of strength. I love that. But for me I like music that’s more splashy and a little more phonetic. I like it all but…

 

Mywar:  What would the title of your autobiography be?

 

Walter:  Uh…I had a good title for this. Uh…I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

 

Ohwellmonkey:  Why are you afraid of computers?

 

Walter:  I’m technophobic.

 

Ohwellmonkey:  Do you ever visit UBW?

 

Walter:  I don’t visit the site because I get nervous about people talking about me and writing about me. I want to start doing it. I put a posting on the Walking Concert site. Ryan put a video of us fucking around. I got introduced to computer Internet shit through Artie, and it was constantly people talking shit. If it wasn’t somebody talking shit it was somebody having a song that was mine. So I felt like people were either talking shit or stealing and I have to learn how to use this technical thing to be a part of that. It just really turned me off, but I think I’m now getting way more into it and I feel less threatened by it and more accepting.

I miss the intimacy of “This is my record. It comes out when I want.” If you want to hear it you have to buy it. If you want to talk about it you’re going to have to go through a lot of bullshit to be heard and you’re going to have to go to a show and meet other people to talk about it with or you’re going to have to write a fanzine which means you’ll have to put a lot more work into it. I like that struggle. With computers…on the positive: everything is more accessible. On the negative: It’s too easy to me.

 

Mywar:  We’re getting kicked out of the club.

 

Walter: We gotta jet. I want to continue this conversation. Maybe we can talk on the phone. It’ll be a “to be continued” because I definitely enjoy it…

 

 

My thanks to Walter for being INCREDIBLY generous with his time. I know I speak for all of UBW when I say that we’re very grateful.

 

----Mywar