Bullet for My Valentine, Anti-Flag, Atreyu, Toothgrinder: Their ‘First Riffs’
What's the riff that got you into music? That's the question that Gear Factor host Squiggy has been asking artists lately. He recently spoke with members of Anti-Flag, Atreyu, Bullet for My Valentine and Toothgrinder.
Anti-Flag's Justin Sane cited Social Distortion as a seminal influence, stating, "Mike Ness really became my guitar hero, and the riff that I really wanted to play was the lead in [Social Distortion's] 'Telling Them' and the lead in 'Mommy's Little Monster.' He was sort of my guitar hero, and that's why I play a blues-inspired lead, that's pretty much a result of him."
His bandmate Chris Barker chimed in, "The first riff I learned how to play was 'Drain You' by Nirvana, but if it wasn't for Green Day's '1,000 Hours,' I would have never thought I could play music. Seeing those kids who looked like me, playing music, made me want to do it."
Atreyu's Dan Jacobs was also inspired by Green Day. "'Basket Case'... once I saw the music video, it just kind of spoke to me," said Jacobs. "[It was] the riff, the music, even just the way he looked because he's a little short dude like me."
His bandmate Travis Miguel had a somewhat heavier early influence. "I really wanted to learn 'One' by Metallica," said Miguel. "But I kinda shot myself in the foot because that's like an eight-minute-long song."
Like Anti-Flag's Chris Barker, Bullet for My Valentine's Michael Paget was inspired by Kurt Cobain: "In the beginning, it was Nirvana. But [for] heavy metal, it was 'Burn My Eyes' by Machine Head. Once I heard the guitars on that, it blew my fuckin' mind. It was insane."
Toothgrinder's Jason Goss said, "Probably a combination of Metallica stuff, 'Enter Sandman' and 'Master of Puppets' were the first things where I could distinctly feel the riff."
His bandmate Johnuel Hasney has somewhat older tastes. "The riff was probably 'Aces High' by Iron Maiden, but before that, my uncle played in a Rolling Stones tribute band, it might have been something like 'Tumbling Dice,'" recalls Hasney.
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