Guitar Riffs & Opinions on The Obsessed

Guitar Riffs

Perhaps the most essential element of rock 'n' roll is a great guitar riff. Jim and Greg share some of their favorite guitar licks of all time. Plus, they review the latest from long-running metal band The Obsessed and pay tribute to the late director Jonathan Demme.

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Guitar Riffs

Does anything define rock and roll more than its basic element, the guitar riff? Rock solos can be overblown and overrated, but a riff, when done right, can rule a song. In many ways, it's the essence of rock ‘n’ roll. Jim and Greg run through their favorite examples of guitar riffs in rock history, and they hear some picks from listeners across the country. But first, a definition. A riff is a brief statement – sometime only a handful of notes or chords – that recurs throughout the arrangement and can become the song's central hook. And for a guitarist like Nile Rodgers, it's not just a static foundational element, but like a river moving through the song. Now onto the goods.


  • AC/DC, "Shot Down in Flames"
  • Prince, "Kiss"
  • Sleater Kinney, "Jumpers"
  • Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"


  • Led Zeppelin, "The Ocean"
  • The Ohio Players, "Love Rollercoaster"
  • Magazine, "Shot By Both Sides"
  • Mudhoney, "Touch Me I’m Sick"


  • The Rolling Stones, "Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’"
  • The Isley Brothers, "Who Loves You Better"
  • The Smiths, "How Soon Is Now"

Sacred The Obsessed


Although The Obsessed was formed by Scott "Wino" Weinrich back in 1976, the Maryland  metal band has only released four albums in its career. The latest, Sacred, is its first in 23 years and continues the band's blend of stoner rock, doom metal, and biker rock. According to Greg, Wino is not revisiting his old glories but is instead writing contemplatively about his life as an outsider in very honest terms. Although the production is cleaner than on previous records, that serves to underline the band's great melodies. Jim says that the great thing about metal is that it doesn't matter what you look like or how old you are, as long as you can deliver the goods – and Wino can do just that. The songs on Sacred are as good as any in the band's past, with more bottom than ever in the sound. The album earns a double-Buy It.

Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme

This week, Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme passed away at the age of 73. His films included blockbusters like Philadelphia and The Silence of the Lambs, as well as indie films like Rachel Getting Married (which co-starred Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio). According to Jim, Demme used rock music in his work better than any other director. The director also helmed notable concert films for the Talking Heads, Robyn Hitchcock, Neil Young, and more. Jim gives us his heartfelt remembrance, and shares a few of his favorite rock moments found in Demme's work.

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