Monday, February 6, 2012

Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today

Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits
Walter Schreifels has played in a lot of bands and wrote a lot of the music for some of the biggest hardcore bands like Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today.  He has done solo stuff and produced records for other people.  My friend Carlos Izurieta helped me to get this interview with Mr. Schreifels (thanks Carlos!).  Mr. Schreifels is a really cool guy and I can't wait to meet him at Revelation Records 25th Anniversary show in June!

PMAKid: You have been in a lot of bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Quicksand and Civ. My friend Carlos from Police & Thieves said you wrote a lot of the songs in Gorilla Biscuits too. I know that you are also a music producer too. Do you like writing and performing your own music or producing music for other people more? Or are they just really different?

Mr. Schreifels: Even though I'm more focused on writing and performing my own songs, I also enjoy the contrast and challenge of working worth other artists. Through producing, co-writing or other means I always find collaboration to be a learning experience, a way to understand and (hopefully) compliment someone else's creative process. With my own music, the rewards for good work are greater but I also have a tendency to sweat the small stuff more than I should, it's a difference in perspective.

PMAKid: You have also done solo stuff like my friend Kevin Seconds. What do you like about doing solo stuff instead of with a band like Gorilla Biscuits?

Mr. Schreifels: I like playing solo because of the flexibility and ease. Playing in a band requires a lot of coordination and equipment which can be fun and rewarding but can also be a pain in the neck at times. I like the freedom of just showing up somewhere and knowing that I can put on a good show with just my acoustic guitar. I don't have to worry about gear or when the rest of the band wants to leave the club. There's added pressures and it can be lonely at times but I do enjoy it.

PMAKid: Are you going to play at the 25th anniversary that Revelation Records is having this upcoming summer? If so, which band or bands are you going to play with? I'm kinda hoping that my dad and mom and I can go down to Pomona for that show!

Mr. Schreifels: Yes and I'm very excited about it. I'll be playing every night with Gorilla Biscuits. I hope your parents see the logic in getting you to the show, it's going to be an excellent night(s).

PMAKid: Do you have kids? If so, how old are they? How do you teach them to stay away from drugs and stuff?

Mr. Schreifels: I have a daughter and she's four years old. My plan as a parent is to nourish and reinforce a sense of self respect and confidence so that she will be able to make good decisions and keep herself out of dangerous situations. I'm also gonna try and get her into Minor Threat and Seven Seconds soon as she's old enough.

PMAKid: I know at one time you were straight edge. Are you still straight edge? I know this is kind of a personal question.
Gorilla Biscuits European Tour!

Mr. Schreifels: I was straight edge for most of my teenage years and into my early twenties. I feel I learned a lot from the experience and made friends for a lifetime. I'm not currently straight edge but I do feel that my time in the movement continues to inform a healthy sense of restraint.

PMAKid: With the Presidential election coming up later this year, we are really interested in the debates and stuff at my house. Are you interested in politics at all? What do you think about politics here in the United States?

Mr. Schreifels: I am interested in politics for sure and the debates have been entertaining to a fault, it's become it's own reality show. I'm worried that our political class is both incompetent and extremely detached from the social and economic realities of our country. Heaven help us.

PMAKid: Can you tell me your three favorite books? Why do you like them?

Mr. Schreifels: Hmmm, this is tough...for all time? I'd say The Hobbit because it was the first book I read that wasn't for school and it really opened up the joy of reading to me. The Fountainhead because it was the longest book I'd ever read at the time and because it informed and reinforced ideas I had about artistic integrity. Lastly, I'll go with No One Here Gets Out Alive (or Hammer Of The Gods?) because it was the first rock biography that I ever read (about Jim Morrison, The Doors) in a genre that I continue to devour.

PMAKid: Here in California, money is really tight for schools and my school and a lot of schools are always having budget cuts and we have lost some teachers. What do you think about education and budget cuts and keeping good teachers?

Mr. Schreifels: I've had a few teachers in my life that really had an impact on me, beyond the subjects hey taught they were able to convey to me my own potential for learning and by extension, doing. Like any profession, it takes all kinds. There are bad teachers out there and there are also teachers that are put in situations in which they cannot win because of unrealistic expectations. As a society, I think it's a matter of priorities, everyone wants the best for their children but unfortunately there are a lot of difficult politics standing in the way.

PMAKid: What is your favorite thing (not music!) to do to relax or have fun?

Mr. Schreifels: I like to sit and drink coffee, watch people, go for a walk, go for a run, get lost, find my way back.

PMAKid: What music stuff are you working on right now?

Mr. Schreifels: I'm finishing a new solo record and starting up a new Rival Schools record and don't forget the GB shows in June!

Thanks Julian,



  1. very original interview, thanks for that !

  2. How come this site which is "run by a kid" has questions that are more interesting and to the point than most adults.

    Another great job.

  3. Thanks for saying I did a great job!!!

    What do you mean that my questions are more interesting and to the point? I just ask the questions that I think are interesting to me. Sometimes I wonder if people think my questions are too much like a little kid. My mom and dad just tell me to think of questions that I would ask if I was just hanging out with people.

  4. Way to go J!! Another great interview! I agree with Mr. Schreifels on his perspective of American Politics! I always look forward to your interviews!


(Noting that this site is primarily run by a kid, his parents ask you to keep profanity and offensive commentary out of your posts.)