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: Lets start with a detailed history of your life
was born in
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 wasnt 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
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 were still friends, but he hasnt been in a famous band, or a band thats 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 wasnt 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 wasnt replaced, but I did end up playing bass for awhile. The guy who was playing bass on the album left, I couldnt 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 wasnt content for a couple different reasons: I wasnt singing although I wrote all the lyrics and vocal parts. It was getting frustrating for me, not because of anyone elses difficulty, but I started to wonder why I didnt 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).
think its 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
Mywar: Isnt 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? Its 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 wasnt 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 didnt 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 Furys and recording them. The problem with it was that I didnt write the lyrics before hand and I just got kind of lazy with it, and didnt finish it. So it didnt 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 didnt 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, youre out. It was getting boring to me. It wasnt 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 dont do this, its 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 wasnt 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 didnt 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 didnt stay in it, and he went to play with Judge, because they were really happening at that time.
Mywar: Were you ok with Sammys decision or did it piss you off?
Walter: It didnt 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 Alans 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 youre saying, it would seem as though it was an easy transition from the Moondog lineup to the final Quicksand lineup. But isnt it true that there were other members of Quicksand at its inception?
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, thats what I was thinking in my
mind. Charlie definitely had that metal vibe. Tom
Capone had a huge metal vibe. Im 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
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?
and rap in
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 ..
liked rap. Maybe more than some, but not as much as some of
my other friends. I liked Slayer and Metallica at that time
Mywar: What was Jason Farrells 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 didnt 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 dont 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 wasnt able to make the commitment. We really didnt 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 arent happy with the way Manic Compression sounds
Walter: I think it come out shitty. I think the songs are really good, but its my own fault to some degree. I wasnt 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 Furys studio, but he had changed his set-up. He wasnt using tape anymore. He switched to A-DATs which is semi-pro equipment. Recording wise . its 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. Its really compressed, a totally, manically compressed record. But I think the songs are fucking awesome. Its sort of like Metallicas And Justice for All, it sounds totally fucking retarded, but for reason we all love it. Im 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 arent you credited on it?
Walter: I thought it wouldnt 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 Cant 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 dont 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 Cant Wait One Minute More for yourself?
Walter: I dont think I could have pulled it off (Walter now sings the chorus, snapping his fingers). I dont think thats 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 dont think I was comfortable being the Cant Wait One Minute More guy.
Everybody: Its such a great song
thought of it as glam rock a little bit too. We wanted to
have songs that could get played at
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 wasnt 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 youre going to have to dedicate yourself to singing the songs for a two year tour?
Walter: Yeah, definitely. In some ways, its a lighter thing for me to get involved with; at the same time its really exciting and fun. I just felt very focused and knew exactly what I was doing the whole way through. Even though theres so much variety within that record, theres wacky goofball songs, theres 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 Cant 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 wasnt the guy to do that part. From the beginning I pictured Lou Sick of It All. Hes really pissed and the way the bridge goes (Walter sings the melody line in a faux angry voice) the lyrics were originally (Walter sings) Im Lou from Sick of It all and Im pissed, and I gotta sing some shit. All I knew was that Lou was going to sing something, and its 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 CIVs 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 didnt want to be my guys in that way anymore. They wanted to do their own thing. But I think that when youre selling it, that name, or that idea, you better fucking have something great as an alternative. But its 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 didnt 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 didnt write the lyrics. Its the last song on the album and I think its really, really good.
Mywar: While on tour, how did you react to the going wild for your songs during CIVs 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, hes 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 Cant Wait One Minute More had over Quicksands releases?
because that was my success too. So I didnt 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) Im Lou Sick of It all
and Im really crazy. That kind of stuff, which
is more like
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 dont know its 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 dont even really know if thats true, but its something I felt. Maybe I was more dismissive of them because I this that I can do anything I want to do deal. I didnt need to deal with their shit.
Mywar: Where did this all go down?
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 didnt think that I was an equal member in some respects. Its really personal interpersonally we just werent 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. Its not like I was making that much money, or my ego was getting so stroked in the situation, that I needed it. I didnt need to put up with the shit that was going on. Its not to say the people in the group were dicks, or didnt have a point of view that was also relevant to what was going on because I didnt think they were dicks, I still dont. I just felt unhappy and I didnt feel any inspiration for future shit.
So we were in
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 hes 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 dont 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 wasnt 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?
wanted to do it, but Alan said I dont want to do
that. We played about two shows and went to
Mywar: So what shows did you play under the were breaking up cloud?
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 cant say that I couldnt get it together, but I was under a lot of pressure from the record label, and also from myself. I really couldnt 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 couldnt 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 wasnt the same sort of Walter youre the greatest in the world type of deal, it became Walter, we need you to write a hit like Cant Wait on Minute More. This is the kind of atmosphere I cant 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. Im 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 cant say that because something is a hit, that its 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 theyre 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 its 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 dont 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 isnt working out for you, this shit isnt working out for me, why dont you reconsider your hasty decision about Quicksand and maybe thats what you should be doing and funneling the songs youve 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, its depressing, Im 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 its 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 theyre going to do and then move on. They dont consider oh yeah this has worked so Ill 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 didnt 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 its you doing it, but, I didnt want to rely on that. I want to be thinking this shit rules, and that its awesome and solid. Not just because its me and because I have an expertise or a technique in which I execute things. When Ive done stuff thats good, thats how it feels. Although Ive done some stuff that in my mind isnt that good, but still people will say I really like it, and Im always excited about that too.
Mywar: Was Worlds Fastest Car done when you started Quicksand up again?
Mywar: With the Quicksand reunion, it didnt seem to take much time before you werent 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 didnt 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 wasnt 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 dont feel that way I cant 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 Im going to get lamer, older and limper in this. So I was thinking, I cant 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 didnt 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. Im still friends with him and I see him out, and I think hes 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 didnt work out.
Walter: Those are personal things, I dont want to comment on that but to even criticize how Alan was playing, maybe thats kind of petty too.
Mywar: I dont think it was criticism, as much as, the fact that Alan was in a different groove.
Walter: Yeah, we couldnt jam. We couldnt relate. I felt that I couldnt really communicate. Its like when youre 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 couldnt 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 couldnt communicate. It was like, Okay Quicksands really great, but Im fucking miserable. Pay me a million dollars and Ill deal with this bullshit but otherwise its 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 youre 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?
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 Ive 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 didnt think his style would really
mesh. But he did a great job, he was awesome. I think
the first thing we wrote together was
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 Worlds 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 wasnt 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 hed 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 Im not going to bet on this thing to make me happy and. Im going to go do something else. I didnt 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 didnt 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 wasnt that big, but it was
all supposedly around me and that got to me in a way. Ians
decision to quit and say I want to do my own thing and I
dont care about the success not that he didnt
care about itIm 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 Id
already been in the business for a long time. Again, if Im
a millionaire and Ive made some sort of mark and
financially created some lifestyle thats worthwhile to
preserve thats one thing
my lifestyle is AWESOME. I
love it and I want to preserve it but part of whats awesome
about it is I do what I want like Napoleon Dynamite
and at this time I wasnt doing what I wanted and I felt
like, as a musician, I couldnt really sleep on that.
Its tough to be a musician, its
tough to put yourself out there, and its tough to travel to
Mywar: How does this bring you into Walking Concert?
Walter: So Walking Concert is that endeavor. Here I am, Im the guy from Quicksand or the guy from Rival Schools and Im doing something else. Im doing Calypso Slide. I do whatever the fuck I want. Im 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 thats 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 didnt really care whether it was going to be a hit single or whether Quicksand fans would like it. Whether it would be cool or lameit was just me and what I thought. I wanted to trust that. People say this, but its probably the best you can do what you think is good is whats probably going to be the best. Thats what I think in other people: If someones going to do something, if they do it the way they like it chances are thats probably the best way its going to come out.
Mywar: How did you meet the 3 other members of Walking Concert?
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
Mywar: Rebecca Schiffman was in that band?
Walter: She played bass in it.
Mywar: Doesnt she sing on an unreleased Walking Concert song as well?
Walter: She sings on Waiting for Warm Insides which Im hoping will be on the next album. Its a fucking awesome song but we havent gotten the right version yet. Shes amazing. Ryan? I just knew he was a fucking genius. He gets music so fucking amazingly. Its like if youre 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. Hes 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 thats 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. Hes got such great feel.
Mywar: Why did Chris Daly leave?
Walter: He didnt want to do what we were doing right now.
No. Not stylistically. Life-stylistically. He didnt want to
be in a band driving to
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: Im 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 havent got my shit together and put it out.
Mywar: Whats it going to take to get it released?
Walter: I have the artwork, I have the lyrics written down, and its not complex really its just that Im busy. Im just very interested in what Im doing at the moment.
Mywar: Well, lets delegate some of these tasks, to help quicken the process. Ill write the liner notes.
Walter: Thats great, thats awesome!! Thats huge yeahhh (Walter claps) were half way there. I think the liner notes are one to the things that was crippling me.
Mywar: What about the mastering?
Walter: Ive had it mastered, partially Its 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 youre taking a break between albums, Moondog NEEDS to come out!
Walter: The thing thats tough, it that its tough to accept it. I always felt that I didnt finish it, or that I didnt do it right. But, it is what it is and it needs to come out. It will.
Ohwellmonkey: What about Worlds Fastest Car? Will that CD ever see the light of day?
have a bunch of that kind of shit, but its a little tricky
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 dont even know if its an awesome song, but its different.
Everyone: Its AWESOME!! (everyone starts to sing it)
Walter: Yeah, its kind of a rocking song (Walter laughs). I thought, Thats my natural way, thats 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 its almost truer its another side of me. Theyre 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 thats true and thats all a part of me, I just got tired of doing that and in some ways, I just like melody and it doesnt 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, wouldnt it be important to you, to have that song documented in an official sense?
Walter: Yes totally, I just cant find the context. We recorded it for Walking Concert. Rival Schools recorded it, but I didnt like it all. I think Walking Concert could do a good version of it. I just dont know it would stand up to the other songs. Its just hard to say maybe for the next record.
B8senne: I dont understand some decisions concerning what was and what wasnt 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.
thought it was too
Mywar: Could it be that unconsciously youre holding an ace up your sleeve? Thinking that if you ever get writers block or find yourself stuck in a rut, youll 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 Ive 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: Its 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 its completely flowing. I am constantly writing.
Mywar: You have a new album thats 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 thats pretty amazing testament to your wealth of material
and thats only the ones that we can play live. I have
so many more songs. Im in a constant flow. The
people that I admire, who I already mentioned, Dylan,
Mywar: Can we expect a second album this year?
I can do it
We have to let this record breath. I need
to come to places like
Mywar: It seems as though theyre ready to boot us out of here, so lets 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 Ive always wanted to play.
Thats a great question. Its tough to narrow it down but Im psyched to play But You Know Its True and Girls in the Field. With Girls I dont even know how I came up with that, it was so unconscious. But You Know Its 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.
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,
Mywar: RivalSchools72 wants to know what your favorite albums and artists are at the moment.
Walter: I really like Better Doesnt Make You Better by the Lilys. Its probably the record I like the most right now, but thats more contemporary. Ive 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, its 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 60s and early 70s classic rock, some punk stuff, as well as the scenes Ive 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 dont 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 peoples 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 80s metal album?
Walter: Back In Black (AC/DC)
Mywar: Whats the deal with your obsession with Ralph Macchio?
Walter: Im not really obsessed with him: Maybe . It was an afterthought, although Hello Sensei is about him.
Mywar: Isnt 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 Its 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 Kidwell, maybe those were the only 2, but they were intense!
Triebsand: Whats the proudest accomplishment of your life?
Walter: You have to split it between this record and Start Today. Those are the 2 favorite things Ive 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: Its 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. Id 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 thats 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 Ill have to get back to you on that one.
Ohwellmonkey: Why are you afraid of computers?
Walter: Im technophobic.
Ohwellmonkey: Do you ever visit UBW?
Walter: I dont 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 wasnt 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 Im 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 youre going to have to go through a lot of bullshit to be heard and youre going to have to go to a show and meet other people to talk about it with or youre going to have to write a fanzine which means youll 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: Its too easy to me.
Mywar: Were getting kicked out of the club.
Walter: We gotta jet. I want to continue this conversation. Maybe we can talk on the phone. Itll 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 were very grateful.