Walking Concert: A name that invokes a kid cruising the streets. He's wearing stereo headphones and he's lost in quadraphonic dreams. When Walter Schreifels was only 16, he founded Gorilla Biscuits. Gorilla Biscuits released the seminal hardcore album, Start Today on Revelation Records in 1988. The band went on to tour the country several times over, firmly planting itself as the "good brother" to the famed New York City Hardcore scene of the late 80s.
After Gorilla Biscuits, Walter founded Quicksand. Quicksand recorded two records, Slip and Manic Compression, which are now cited as an influence by just about every current US band with punk DNA. They wrote songs that were hard, but deftly sophisticated. The band became the first headliners on the Warped Tour, and toured with Rage Against the Machine, White Zombie, and many others.
Quicksand eventually broke up, and Walter formed Rival Schools. The band's first album, United by Fate, was released by Island in 2001, preceded by an EP on Some Records.
Walter's diverse projects have garnered him one of the best reputations in youth-fueled rock. Mobs of dedicated fans from his many renowned projects have been coming together, online and off for years, in search of an answer to the burning question: What the hell is Walter up to?
Walking Concert is the answer this time - and it's got his effervescent touch. The debut album, Run to Be Born, belongs in a pantheon with the Kinks, Donovan, Bowie, Bolan, and their generational hiers: Beck, Robert Pollard, Elliot Smith, The Flaming Lips. Its songs are tightly structured, lyrical, at turns subtle, then harder driving.
"Boy, you're gonna be a Walking Concert!" a music store clerk tells Ralph Macchio, a kid on a Delta blues odyssey who trades in his acoustic for an electric and a pignosed amp in Crossroads, a film that guitarists of every genre obsess over. Schreifels isn't a kid who just traded in his acoustic (not anymore, anyway), and Walking Concert's debut album reflects a certain maturity. The record's virtuoso songwriting comes out of vision and experience. Walter's fans may be surprised to discover that he's not all hard-driving vocals and heavy licks. He is that, but he's also got a lovely voice, ranging over sweet, sad, catchy, upbeat, and occasionally melancholic melodies. And he's brought new talent into the mix:
After receiving personal permission from HR of the Bad Brains to sample the beginning of Soulcraft, Guitarist Jeffery E. Johnson moved to New York City from the shores of Salt Lake City to join Walking Concert. On guitar and melodica, he blazes trails into the sweet and smoggy eastern sunset. Multi-tasking on his Tascam multi-tracker, Ryan Stratton first cut his teeth at the Louisville, Kentucky Renaissance fair. A freelance women's underwear designer with a healthy client list, Ryan plays bass for Walking Concert.
The world is yours when you're encased in sound. A rock concert is a stadium-sized version of that feeling. Think of seventies-era festivals, topless girls on boys' shoulders, wine and joints and picnic blankets, people sharing one collective dream. Walking Concert evokes that spirit...the sound is about unique and clever interpretations of a classic form. Songs that are like multi-colored Christmas lights: turn them on and it changes the whole ambiance of a place. You might even want to climb on someone's shoulders and take your shirt off.