to Riff, or Not to Riff ...THAT is the question!

Scott Schrade schrade at
Tue Oct 12 18:05:11 CDT 2004

> > That's just your "anti-punk" bias talking.  The days
> > of '76-'77 are long gone.
> You're forgetting the Hair Metal of the 80's.


I was referring to the anti-proficiency policy (?) of some bands
during the early stages of Punk.  And their lack of "cock-rock"
guitar solos.  The hair metal bands of the '80s were the exact
opposite.  Instrumental proficiency & cock-rock guitar solos 
were the bread & butter of hair metal bands.

In regards to Punk, recently deceased guitarist Johnny Ramone
of The Ramones hardly ever played solos.  But that was just one
band.  Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols played solos.  Greg Ginn
of Black Flag played some wild wacked-out solos (he made 
the "Worst of...." list!).  

And despite what Keets would like to believe (!), many Punk
bands *were* technically proficient.  (Examples:  The Jam, The
Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, Wire,......and many others.) 

> > *I* consider a "riff" to be a given instrumental,
> > repetitive phrase by an instrument that drives,
> I understand. In MY definition, it doesn't have to be
> repetitive but is otherwise the same.

If you're talking about the guitar riff *of a song* - which I think
we should be - I agree with English Lad:  the riff has to be 
repetitive.  And the examples he gave were great (even though he 
leaned heavily on Beatles' songs).  

> Would you call I Can't Explain's driving power chords
> a "riff?" It's repetitive.

I think you could get away with calling that the song's "riff."  Yes.
Just like the "Smoke On The Water" riff is properly played with
chords.  I mean, you *could* play it using single notes (who 
hasn't?), but you could do the same with the "Can't Explain"

- SCHRADE in Akron

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