An Interview with Rival Schools’ Walter Schreifels: On Quicksand & The Origins of Post-Hardcore

Ever wonder what band headlined the first Warped Tour in ’95? The answer: Quicksand, fronted by Walter Schreifels. “At the time I thought it was a budget Lollapalooza,” he recalls. As he sips on a cup of coffee at Bonnerhaus, the Ryan’s Rock Show headquarters, he further reminisces on the festival’s early days.

“The guy from Sublime threw a bottle at this Italian kid who was a roadie for one of my friends, just a random act of violence. He threw a [glass] bottle at him for no fucking reason! They got kicked off the tour, but then were invited back because on the West Coast they were needed. Then those dudes got arrested.”

A veteran of the 80s New York hardcore scene, Schreifels is considered somewhat of a pioneer — his former band Quicksand is ranked amongst forefathers who spawned the post-hardcore genre (alongside bands like Fugazi). Word on the street: Deftones are said to have been big fans.

“I just thought [Deftones] sounded like a Rage Against The Machine-type thing; I didn’t check it out too much [until they invited us on tour]. Then I saw them and was like ‘fuck man, I’m done with heavy music — these guys are taking it to another level.’ In my mind, what Quicksand might have done or become — they were doing. It was amazing to be around.”

To get further insight into the New York hardcore scene and the origins of the post-hardcore genre, Schreifels comes on Ryan’s Rock Show to give a retrospective on his career. He discusses his influential projects Gorilla Biscuits and Quicksand, the ongoing struggle of being a musician, and his current band Rival Schools.

A few things to note: Rival Schools released Pedals in March, and are already at work writing their next album. They recently released a digital EP that includes remixes from Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo and Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock. Random fact: former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega now plays in Deftones, filling-in for Chi Cheng. Additionally, this interview is first we’ve conducted in front of our new wall — more on that later.

I did an interview with Agnostic Front where they discussed the formation of the New York hardcore scene. What do you think it was that attracted kids to hardcore, and more specifically, what brought you to hardcore?

Photos by Dorothy Gilbert