Born out of a hearty hardcore pedigree, the members of Rival Schools stepped to the plate with a phenomenal history and the qualities that would point towards an amazing future. Singer and guitarist Walter Schreifels began making waves as the guitarist for '80s hardcore pioneers Gorilla Biscuits and then went on to influence the entire post-hardcore movement with his influential work in Quicksand, as well as production for acts like CIV and Hot Water Music. Drummer Sam Siegler has seen almost as much in his day, performing with an impressive list of bands that includes Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Judge, Shelter, CIV, and Glassjaw before finding his place in Rival Schools. Guitarist Ian Love honed his chops in NY's Burn and Die 116, and bassist Cache "Utah Slim" Tolman is an alumni of exploratory jazz metalloids Iceburn, as well as a former bandmate of Siegler in CIV. With such an expansive amount of experience, it was only natural that these musicians would find their common bonds and create a new group that took their collective talents to even greater heights.
Coming together in the first year of the new century, the group quickly gained a reputation for powerful rock before they even started to record. Combing the live intensity of Quicksand with more exploratory guitars and a newly melodic singing approach from Schreifels, Rival School took the urgency of the new metal trend and gave it a solid heart and a thoughtful mind. In an age when music was becoming dominated by completely unbelievable faux rock, the band disposed of clichés and focused on unbiased creativity. In an even more adventurous move, the group decided to make their first release something of a concept record and turned to Schreifels' own label, NY's Some Records, for the project. The idea was to start up a series of EPs wherein multiple groups would combine to create a single band, and Rival Schools looked no further than former Far frontman, current Onelinedrawing member, future New End Original singer, and sometimes touring partner Jonah Matranga to complete the equation. The resulting EP, Rival Schools United By Onelinedrawing, saw the band's initial excitement explode onto record with tracks like "Take One for the Team" and "Contraire," but the best was still to come. With allegiances to Island Records still existing from Schreifels' Quicksand days, the label scooped up the band's upcoming music, and summer 2001 saw the release of their first full-length LP, United By Fate. The record is a powerful document with adventurous songwriting, explosive energy, and melodically abrasive guitars, results that anyone who was paying attention should have been expecting all along.
The wheels began to come off shortly afterwards in 2002 when Ian Love left the group to focus on his side-project, Cardia. The rest of the band plugged away on a second album, but the group dissolved the following year amidst rumors that a second album was on the way. (It was finally officially released by the band in 2013 as Found.) After going their separate ways, Rival Schools reunited again in 2008 and hit the European festival circuit before heading back into the studio to begin working on their sophomore effort in earnest. After a decade of anticipation, Pedals finally arrived in 2011. ~ Peter J. D'Angelo