March 1st, 2011

Rival Schools Interview

By Dan Collacott

Back in 2001 post hardcore bandits Rival Schools released their superb debut album 'United by Fate', with singles 'Used for Glue' and 'Good Things' getting enough airplay to steal them a spot in the mainstream. Despite a highly original sound and loyal following, the momentum built from their debut record was never quite seized upong. A second album was recorded but never surfaced and the band members slowly drifted their separate ways.

Ten years on - the band's iconic appeal is far from lost and second album 'Pedals' looms brilliantly on the horizon. In fact Walter Schreifels and Sam Siegler have firmly resurrected the band from the ashes of former genius and new singles 'Shot After Shot' and 'Wring it Out' make it seem like the New Yorkers have never been away.

We caught up with Sam Siegler to talk about the new album the reformation and future of the band.

You’ve been back together for a few years now, how did you make the transition from touring to recording together again?

Like a moth to a butterfly? Everything sort of flowed, "Hey, ya wanna play some show?", "Shall we record some ditties?", etc. We only really wanted to play new shows and tour if we had new material, so we rolled our sleeves up and got into it.

How do you you usually record/write songs?

Sometimes someone will come in with a riff or one idea and we go from there, other times there is a more complete idea which we will flush out and usually develop up until the record is done.

You have a loyal fan base, what has the fan response been like to your comeback and new material?

Some of these new songs we've been playing for a few years now, and I guess thanks to the internet they're out there a bit. The feedback has been very positive, there are some others on Pedals that not many people have heard, I'm looking forward to playing those.

What has been it like touring with Gaslight Anthem and The Offspring, any drinking stories?

Me wearing a curly haired wig on Gaslight's bus on the way to Austin Texas, they keep there bus at sub degree temperatures... Good guys... The singer for the Offspring flies a plane, that's rad. 

Who would you like to most tour or collaborate with?

Neil Young would be a fun one, like if he came up on stage and sang a verse to 'Used For Glue' or something :)

The new single was called Sophia Loren, why did the title get dropped?

Legal 'shpegal' jargon from our label, I think Outkast had some issues with the tune Rosa Parks and now everyone is quite freaked. We made that decision while making the video, a touch stressful.

Do you feel you have changed as people since you were last together?

Sure, we all have daughters, I like to think we've grown as people and musicians, matured, I've mastered the game Mahjong... 

Has your sound changed?

I think as you grow you get a bit more confidence and don't second guess yourself as much, or maybe deliver it with more confidence. There is also a new appreciation for time and the moment, who knows when we'll be back in this town or at this festival or whatever, so let's make it great... Or at least try.

How does the new album ‘Pedals’ differ from ‘United by Fate?’

I'm pretty close to it so it's hard to tell, I really think it's a natural progression, like UBF, Pedals has some heavy tunes, some slower ones, some trippy ones, the whole shibang.

You’ve previewed tracks Big Waves', 'Paranoid Detective', 'On the Frey' live in the UK, are these tracks on the new album and what are some of the stories behind the lyrics?

'Paranoid' will be a B-Side, 'Big Waves' is on the album, I think Walter mentioned 'Big Waves' is about surfing, getting pulled under, trying to stay afloat and all that. Some of the titles came from just f*cking around, "69 Guns" is like the 'Alarm' song '68 Guns' but with one more gun, get it? 'Choose Your Adventure' came from those books where you jump around to different pages, because Ian had the rift and we all had our own interpretation of where it started.

What is your favorite place to tour?

Japan is fun, love the food, Australia is cool because you fly everywhere and it's usually warm. We have great shows in the UK... I've been trying to book the Mediterranean tour for some time now, never seems to happen, but that will be a kick ass tour!

What has been the your career highlights and low lights so far?

My band CIV opened for KISS at Madison Square Garden, I felt like I "arrived" even though we got booed by a bunch of hockey fans. Lows? I didn't love when we split up in 2001 or whenever, but shite happens.

What is your favorite song to perform live?

These new ones are very refreshing, specifically "Wring It Out" as of today... "Undercovers On" is always adventurous. 

What is your view on downloads and the fall of big record companies?

I like the fact that things are being shaken up a bit, it was quite a racket, CDs sold for $18.99, cost $1 to make and the band would see 10 cents or something, that doesn't seem right... But I'm getting a little burnt on everyone being so down on it, I need some of that 90's energy back!

It has been a long time since the first album, what made you decide to reform and tour again?

I think we realised we had a good thing, there was some interest from fans and it would be fun, it was a matter of just making the effort so we went for it.

If you could cover one song for charity what would it be?

'We Are The World'

What made you decide to get into music?

My Dad and Grandfather and Peter Criss... My family all played, then I got into hardcore and everyone needed a drummer so it pushed me to get my sh*t together a bit.

What will be your next single from the new album? 

I believe "Wring It Out" is on deck... Looking forward to getting this out and waiting another 10 years for the third album (laughter).

 New Video for 'Wring it Out'


7 MARCH 2011



Got something to say about this article? Pay a visit to our Music Forum to discuss this and many other topics! For more music reviews, interviews and features, visit the music section and our music archive