Words matter. These are the best Riff Quotes from famous people such as Chris Cornell, Jon Batiste, Cindy Wilson, Carl Reiner, Kathy Acker, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
Whenever anyone sends me a link to a band, saying, ‘These guys sound exactly like Soundgarden,’ it’s always some super simple sludge riff with a singer that sings high and screechy. And it’s really awful.
When the Beatles wrote ‘Paperback Writer,’ it couldn’t have been the same old thing. You can hear so many influences in it, from the blues to Bach, and it’s not just verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge chorus. They start off singing a cappella, almost like a Bach chorale, and the song goes into this bluesy guitar riff.
I came to work one day, and Ricky was playing music on his guitar, just snickering. He played me the riff that turned out to be ‘Rock Lobster,’ and it was hilarious. He was just trying to be funny. His guitar style made it moodier, and it really is a driving song, but it does have that funny humor to it.
Comedians are really writers who don’t have pens and pencils about them, but they riff.
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.
I’m an American designer. It’s important to riff on that. I remember, when my mom and I first came to the States, she was so shocked that everyone was so dressed down in sandals and shorts. It’s not quite like that in Asia. To give that a superluxurious makeover? For me to make street wear? It’s sort of chic to do it.
I am never happy with what I do, so I try not to watch stuff that is filmed with me in it because I am always like, ‘Oh, I could have done that a little bit better,’ or, ‘I could have done that differently – that riff could have been a little better.’
One day, I was just fingering around on the keys of a Fender Rhodes piano, and I came up with this little riff, and all of a sudden, it morphed into a song. It had never been touched by a guitar, which was very weird for us. ‘Under the Ground’ is the first song I have ever written that had nothing to do with the guitar.
I saw a band called The Electric Guitars, from Bristol. I described them to Roland, and he just started playing a riff on guitar and said, ‘Do they sound like this?’ And they did.
I think often times if a guitar riff is centered around the chorus or if it follows the chorus, then it often times turns into the actual hook.
To me, the hook of the riff is what makes a great guitar recording. It’s the backbone of the whole song. When you have a strong riff, it’s the rocket fuel for the track.
The first song that made me interested in music was ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ by Roy Orbison. It was the guitar intro, that riff, that I really liked and made me listen in a different way.
In my live show, it will feel like I’m making up everything as I go, and a lot of it I do. I riff with the audience and see what happens.
With Rage, we wrote riff rock and had rap vocals, so we didn’t really concern ourselves with melody for the most part.
One thing will lead to another and somebody will come up with a riff or a line or something we build from.
A guitar riff played on a piano doesn’t come close to the purity of it being played on a guitar but I faked it enough to get by.
Nothing unifies people more than music, more than that universal riff. The one thing that unifies us and the hope that we can have, especially being an artist, is that we can create music that can build bridges and smash down very bad ideas.
You can have the best riff in the world, but if the drums behind it just ain’t vibing it, it’s not gonna be the greatest riff, right? So you’ve gotta have someone there that can really bring that to life.
I sleep music. I wake up, and there’s a riff in my head. Every step I take, there’s a riff, a beat, or something.
I think you can hear the Delta blues thing in something like the intro to ‘Heaven in This Hell,’ which has that down-home acoustic riff.
I think people will always love a heavy Sabbath riff because it’s fundamental to rock.
The first riff that I totally mastered was ‘Come As You Are’ by Nirvana. I remember sitting there, plunking along, I remember thinking ‘How do they even do this?’
If you take the riff from the song ‘Cowboys From Hell’ and really break it down, it’s almost a hillbilly guitar riff: dekka dekka dekka dekka dekka dekka dekka dek.
I have a tough time with stand-up because I am an improviser. I can riff; I can do crowd work, so I don’t prepare.
I play guitar all the time, and I’m constantly thinking of songs… Every time I pick up a guitar, I come up with different riffs, all different bands I’ve been in. Sometimes there is a song or riff that could only belong with Slipknot, and I just can’t use it for anything else, regardless of whatever happened.
I like to decide the night before Thanksgiving that I’m gonna do it, and I’ll see what riff raff is around. Then I get that last-minute surge of energy. But if I had two weeks to plan, sometimes I wish I wasn’t doing it. But very seldom does that happen.
I am part of a circuit called 24 Hours of LeMons, where it’s a sort of riff on 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s a poor man’s weekend warrior racer event.
I’ve never been known as a riff kind of artist.
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.
To be a truly conscientious artist, you have to look at what’s not working and challenge it. You riff on things.
I’ll listen to a song so much that ideas start to form out of daydreaming. It’s as if I’m reverse-scoring the track and building visuals around a specific beat or riff that’s grabbed me.
When I got into songs like ‘Exist,’ I was like, ‘Okay, this riff has some bass sweeping in it, I’m definitely going to have to use a pick… but I guess I’ll have to learn how to sweep first!’
The thing is, the way we write is all jams and bits and pieces that get pieced together and sometimes things are written with intentions of being a song, and then all of a sudden the main riff of this song, six months later turns into a verse or a chorus of another song.
When I need to nail that riff to the cross, Marshall will always provide the hammer!
If you have a good riff with a vocal as well, then it becomes a devastating song. That’s why people love riff-rock: it’s the ultimate air guitar music.
As a writer, I find it very satisfying when a lyric suddenly ties together more neatly than you expected it to. But for the listener, hearing a good lyric is not generally as exciting as hearing a great beat or a great riff or a great melody or even a distinctive singing voice for the first time.
If there is one thing that makes me unique, it’s that I riff a lot.
I was just obsessed with soul singers who had these big powerful voices. I used to listen to Aretha, Whitney, Mariah and try and imitate them, note for note and riff for riff.
‘Back In The Saddle’ – I never realised what a good riff that was, or at least how much it satisfied me. And when we play it live, it comes across much better than I ever expected it to.
The first thing that was intimidating was when I started rehearsing to play Riff in the London company. That first day of rehearsal, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to learn this. I’m too slow.’
No one in the world can beat Ella Fitzgerald as a riff singer.
But the classic Tenacious D songwriting is Jack or myself will have an idea – I might have a riff – and we’ll improv. And once Jack’s feeling it, we turn on the tape recorder and start jamming, improv on that riff, improv on those lyrics, and then go back and see if there’s anything good in there.
When you think of rock and roll and metal, a lot of it is based around the riff. If you can sing over the riff and what the arrangements are going to be like, you have to leave space for what most people consider one of the most key essential parts, which is the vocalist.
In OK Computer, the guitar was already moving towards a tone generator as well as a riff generator.
I got really hooked on this riff in the middle of this song called ‘Minor Miracles’ by my friend Eric Johnson from Fruit Bats. I got the tracks for that from him, and that turned into ‘Here in Spirit.’
To me and my band, guitar riffs are what it’s all about. We know that every time we jam on a great riff, we’ve got a fighting chance of writing a great song!
You would find in a lot of Zep stuff that the riff was the juggernaut that careered through and I worked the lyrics around this.
‘Blood Host’ is super heavy. Especially on the verses, it has an industrial stomp. It’s one of my favourite tracks just because the plot of it is so heavy. It’s a total crushing tune; it doesn’t get any heavier than that main riff, just a straight quarter-note powerhouse.
The worst thing to happen at the Oscars would be if nothing happened. You want something unscripted, something to riff on, something kinda out there.
James Hetfield, I mean, the minute he plugs in his guitar and adjusts the tone knob, he comes up with the world’s greatest riff.