The Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files: Time To Enroll In Rival Schools

Jan 22nd, 2007 // 15 Comments

rivalschools.jpgTime for another installment of the Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files, where we raid our archives in search of a lost gem.

Artist: Rival Schools
Album: United By Fate, 2001
What happened: Led by Walter Schreifels–the co-founder of such hardcore titans as the Gorilla Biscuits and Quicksand–the Schools released only one album before breaking up in 2003, and even scored a minor hit with “Used For Glue.”
Why it should have been a hit: Released just before “emo” became a catch-all term for diary-entry pop-punk, United By Fate was first-rate “emotional rock,” with buzzing guitars and barely contained desperation; it’s work-out music for Fugazi-forelorn thirtysomethings, and listening to it now makes us wonder what ever happened to that long-rumored but never released follow-up album (if you happen to have any info, drop us a line at

Rival Schools – Travel By Telephone [MP3, link expired]
Rival Schools – My Echo [MP3, link expired]
Rival Schools – So Down On [MP3, link expired]

  1. musicquizking

    Walter’s current band, WALKING CONCERT, is far better than Rival Schools. Their album has some really fine jangle-pop and even some Brit poppy moments. Their single, “What’s Your New Thing,” should have been a hit!

  2. Paul D

    I bought this record after hearing “Used For Glue” a few times.

    I was horribly disappointed. The rest of the record is crap IMO.

  3. pjohn

    good record and really good band live for a spell.

    2nd lp is out there. not too hard to find, but it does sound as if it was ripped off of a cassete tape. its also not really as good as the first one…

  4. cassidy2099

    I love this album. So much. I never got to see them live but I did see Walking Concert open for Eagles of Death Metal. It was good, but no Schools. According to the Walking Concert mailing list, Walter is doing a bunch of solo dates now under his own name. Ian Love is in Cardia, and I think the drummer is in Nightmare of You, who are terrible. But yeah, “High Acetate” is the shit.

  5. Jay

    I have this record, and I also saw them live, but they didn’t play “Dine Alone,” so nuts to them.

  6. musicquizking

    Why would they play “Dine Alone” anyway? That’s a Quicksand song.

    The Rival Schools demo, under the name WORLDS FASTEST CAR, is pretty good too and is easy to find on SoulSeek.

  7. noamjamski

    I mourn the end of Quicksand on a daily basis.

    Wasn’t Artie Sheppard also in World’s Fastest Car? I think he has writing credits on a bunch of the Rival Schools songs as well.

  8. themeparkexperience

    Artie was one of the many members of World’s Fastest Car.

    Also worth finding is that split CDEP they did with Jonah/onelinedrawing called Rival Schools United By Onelinedrawing.

  9. xtianrut

    So good, so far… Just a great record. Saw them live, close to the end, and the band looked bored. Walter was probably on to the next project or six by then…

  10. Brian Raftery

    Do any of the Quicksand fans remember which publication condemned Slip with a succinct “Fugazi sell out” review? That was repeated every time they were talked about; it might have been the “J.D. hates Johnny Hates Jazz” of alt-rock criticism.

  11. K-Murph

    Nice. Rival Schools also did a collaboration with Onelinedrawing (aka Jonah Matranga): Rival Schools United by Onelinedrawing.

  12. dougallcurrie

    This is a very underrated album; was very surprised at least one or two of these songs didn’t get modern rock airplay. Problem was Walter couldn’t match his studio performances when they played the songs live. Also agree that he is one of the nicest guys out there. Somebody post a couple of the best songs from the unreleased second album.. haven’t heard any of it.

  13. antistar

    You guys are definitely dead on about this album being underrated. I loved Quicksand, but this album holds up to both of their releases. Also, great live band. Besides being one of the creators of “emo”, Walter also was one of the main forces behind the Warped Tour. He got the ball rolling and left. I do think that this album would have been a decent seller if it had been released within the last couple of years. It sucks because Walter is one of the nicest guys out there.

  14. antistar

    From the Walter Schreifels fansite United By Walter:

    According to Walter there is a lot coming up in the new year…here is just some of what to expect:

    * A Walter Schreifels Website

    * A live solo acoustic “sings the hits” release

    * A solo acoustic release

    * A rock band release

    * Finally: The unreleased Rival Schools record will be released

    * Re-release of Gorilla Biscuits “Start Today”

  15. ds

    One of my favorite albums too. Heard “So Down On” on WSOU (a NJ indie/everything station) and ran out to get the album as soon as it dropped. It’s a great album, beginning to end (the edge to “Holding Sand” is jaw-dropping). I also used to have the United by Onelinedrawing, also quite good. That one bit it in my ol’ car fire, though. Never made it into my iTunes library until it was too late.

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