Walter Schreifels

December 4, 2006

Walter Schreifels should be famous. For the last several decades he has danced around the cultural periphery, bass/guitar/mic in hand, creating impassioned and important music. The current wave of popular rock and roll bands of the moment are deeply indebted to him, though my suspicion is that they may be unaware (and he may be unimpressed).

With a recent reunion tour with the seminal New York hardcore band, Gorilla Biscuits, behind him, Walter currently resides in Berlin where he is writing and performing as an acoustic singer-songwriter.

In all honesty, I can’t claim to have been into the New York hardcore scene while Gorilla Biscuits was playing CBGB’s, I’m just not that cool (or old school). Instead, I first encountered Walter’s music while he was playing in the hugely underrated (and massively influential), Quicksand. Their first record, Slip, remains one of my favorite records and informs an entire genre of post-hardcore music. (Their show with Lifetime at the TLA in Philadelphia remains one of my favorite things about high school.)

Quicksand made their second and final record, Manic Compression, on Island Records. In the years following their break-up, Walter returned playing a familiar sounding post-hardcore style of music (can Walter be called Walter-esque?) in The World’s Fastest Car, and then in Rival Schools, which also featured Ian Love (Burn) and Sammy Siegler (Youth of Today). His most recent band, The Walking Concert, rocked out in a British punk-pop sort of way. “Audrey” is a nearly perfect pop song, and I’m sure it could have made him famous…  but oh well. I guess this makes it easier for devotees to see him live. (Thanks. Now if you would only come back to NYC.)

The Moondog record (between Gorilla Biscuits and Quicksand) is available now on Anthology Recordings. I’m sure the World’s Fastest Car demos are floating around the internet if you look hard enough. The second Rival Schools record was never released by Island, and was rumored to be forthcoming in 2006… though I’m not holding my breath for the next three weeks.

Listen: Depressed Friends and Arthur Lee’s Lullabye, from Walter’s myspace page. What’s Your New Thing? from The Walking Concert record Run to Be Born, available on Some Records.

Fan page: United By Walter.

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