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I think the best riffs and the best songs come when you're jamming and having a good time.
If I get even five per cent of my ideas out and documented before I die, I'll be lucky. I'm not in danger of running out of riffs or ideas anytime soon. They overwhelm me and it's hard to find time to deal with them.
Great melody over great riffs is, to me, the secret of it all.
I'll come in with a string of riffs and direct the musical ideas. But you still need a band and their input to make the ideas come alive. You can't underestimate band chemistry.
As much as I love heavy riffs, I like The Eagles, Neil Young, Elton John, Crowded House.
Hendrix was the bass player for Little Richard. We were both left-handed, but we would use a right-handed guitar held upside down and backwards. He developed my slides and my riffs. In fact he used to say, and this is documented, 'I patterned my style after Dick Dale.'
I'm always working on new songs. With the technology these days, any idiot can record on Pro Tools on your laptop. All you have to do is plug a microphone into the input jack and anybody can have their own recording studio. So I'm always down in my basement, singing along to riffs or whoever I'm collaborating with.
My biggest influences were 1980s punk and metal. Metallica were my biggest influence because they were good at everything - riffs, energy - but with such an ear for melody, it was hard not to get pulled into it and become a fanatic.
Well, I think writing is basically about time and rhythm. Like with jazz. You have your basic melody and then you just riff off of it. And the riffs are about timing.
Some of the best rock riffs ever written were by Jimmy Page, and I can't really name the songs, but some of the stuff he did on his first and second records is beyond brilliant.
All the time I was playing the flute, the lines, the solos, the riffs, the construction, were based on my guitar skills. I did not play the flute to exploit its natural faculties, but I used it as a surrogate guitar.
I would listen to Little Richard and Fats Domino and Chuck Berry, and I would listen to how they played their riffs, and after I taught myself that, I taught myself to play my own kind of stuff.
Generally my songs are just some riffs slung together as an excuse for a guitar solo.
If I sit down with an electric guitar, what's going to come out are Sabbath/Zeppelin type riffs, but if I'm sitting behind a piano late at night, I might write something like 'Desperado.' You're not going to write 'Desperado' between a wall of Marshalls and thumping, crushing volume.
Words can have the same kind of magic as riffs can.
There's such a huge difference between a great arrangement of riffs and a song. Sometimes the two can be the same. But the difference is a song doesn't necessarily need a riff, whereas a riff doesn't necessarily mean you've got a good song on your hands.
I really don't have an ear for pitch. I can't sing at all, I can't hum melodies and I can't write riffs.
My novels tend to come about from a fusion of two big ideas, creating a critical mass that then fissions, throwing off hundreds of other particles, riffs, tropes and characters.
I think Pantera is a type of band that has been documented very, very well over the years. With the past re-releases, we were fortunate enough to have old demos and stuff that never really saw the light of day. But Pantera was not the type of band to waste many riffs or many parts or songs.
It's always a pleasure when you can compose guitar parts from a strong vocal and not just put the melody on top of guitar riffs.
'Kraken' is set in London and has a lot of London riffs, but I think it's more like slightly dreamlike, slightly abstract London. It's London as a kind of fantasy kingdom.
The way that we imitate each others' riffs is something that other bands don't do as much. If we're jamming with a jazz band, or I am jamming with a jazz band, I have to catch myself, the tendency is always to do that.
I play and I've played in heavy bands, but when I write for myself, I don't particularly feel like writing huge rock riffs. It just doesn't work for me and my voice.
There's fifty bands doing my riffs for ever and ever.
I've always been interested in shaping music in odd ways, with odd riffs and that's been probably something that I've continued on with my studies with improvisation as I'm working with people.
John F. Kennedy
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