Would You Use Stock Riffs By Tony Iommi And Brian May?

The Black Sabbath and Queen guitarists are collaborating on an album of riffs for musicians to use in their projects - but does that take the fun out of making rock music?

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Ultimate Guitar
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Two of the greatest rock guitarists in history - Tony Iommi and Brian May - plan to release an album of guitar riffs for people to build their own songs.

The project was supposed to be a secret, but Iommi reveals their plans early in the new issue of Kerrang! magazine.

"When are we going to get to work on that album of riffs together? You know what I'm talking about..." asks Iommi.

May replies: "Yes, I do know what he's talking about and I'm very, very keen. The record he's talking about was supposed to be a secret but I guess he's blown it now!" According to May, he visited the Black Sabbath guitarist's studio and was blown away by how much unused material was going to waste.

"I thought it would be great to make a compilation out of them," May says.

"The idea was to put all these riffs out in some form so that people could build their own songs from them. You could make your own music with Tony Iommi on guitar!"

There's no clues about when such an album might be released, but considering the ease of putting this kind of single-instrument compilation together, it could coincide with the new Black Sabbath album and the resulting publicity.

Meanwhile, a new video has been posted of Black Sabbath working in the studio with Rick Rubin['s assistant]. Ahem. Watch it here:

Would you make use of stock riffs from a guitar legend, or would you prefer to record your own tracks? Let us know what you think of the concept in the comments.

104 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Jehannum
    I'd buy this out of sheer fascination with the concept. I'd love to incorporate a genuine Iommi riff into one of my songs to create something new. It might even take on a collaborative feel.
    brendan.casper.
    So if he sells individual riffs does he get royalties if for the riff if someone uses it and their song is a hit/sells? Might be nothing more than a smart business move.
    almudjk
    If you cant create on your own, music isn't the outlet for you. Dubstep and shitty dance producers will rape this
    thf24
    Could be kind of neat just for practicing songwriting or even recording, but I can't imagine anyone using something like this for actual production. It would kind of suck when your song's riff is exactly the same as six other bands'.
    Crimson.King
    No, I wouldn't use them...but every guitarist goes through the "I wanna sound just like " phase. I could see this being an inspiration for beginners...everybody starts out by learning someone's licks, why not begin with 2 of the best?
    Gala-Vine
    it would just be better if they both collaborated on an album rather than this
    Armagedn
    I'd love this, it'd be great to build hip hop tracks out of Iommi/May samples, especially because Brian May is my second favorite guitarist.
    Clarkinator
    I think its cool for beginning guitarists to see some riffing done by two legends. Instead of a CD though, I'd show some videos or maybe have some tabs. Make it more educational.
    ErnestoFidel
    Didn't Steve Vai reissue some of his albums without the lead guitar tracks? That was a great idea! About this however I am not sure.
    BjarnedeGraaf
    these kind of comments are getting a bit old..... oooohhh boobiess....
    rabidgoon
    well, that's what you get on UG - a site that seems to attract a lot of people with sub-neanderthal intellects.
    Way Cool JR.
    Me am see boobies, me am excited now.
    Way Cool JR.
    I was only agreeing with "BjarnedeGraaf" and "rabidgoon". I was just poking fun at the whole Sub-neanderthal comment because it's so true. LOL
    LedZoso4
    Anyone who thinks sampling can't be original has obviously never listened to Girl Talk.
    WholeLottaIzzy
    Strange idea. Could be really useful for studying that guitarist's style and developing your ear though. But I wouldn't buy it.
    mop10893
    It looks like that rainbow sheep is bouncing on the boobs. I find this very amusing for no good reason. Also, I agree with your comment. I wouldn't want to use something that someone else wrote for my own music. As you said, it would be good for learning how to play like them more than anything.
    ConReid14
    It's not that strange. It's called sequencing; taking a pre-written idea and developing it. It's an option at A level music, and I think it's a good idea, especially for practice while the creative juices aren't flowing. I probably won't buy it either, though.
    jon.peebles
    I agree because boobs. EDIT: After actually reading your comment, I have to say I do agree with you. Could be an interesting tool to develop as a guitarist, but I can't see this being a legit songwriting tool for any wanting to write their own stuff.
    Camron62\m/
    why don't they just save them for something else? if they are good of course
    Anjohl
    The man has potentially terminal cancer. Any and ALL Iommi riffs should be preservef.
    Shaggy91
    dude he is the only one smart enough to use boobs to gain attention. You're tired of males gushing over boobs? Don't be mad at him, go pick a fight with mother nature...
    cfhdomination
    I think it's a cool idea. I'd definitely check it out because 1. I'm an Iommi fanboy and 2. It'd be cool to see what kind of song ideas I could come up with. And let's face it, even if the riffs aren't Iommi's greatest, his worst riffs are still greater then the best riffs any of us could ever come up with.
    N7Crazy
    Won't it just mean that lazy musicians without any creativity will use them to make people think they're geniuses? Also, what if a band has allready invented the riffs, but aren't that well known? Won't they just get unjustly accused of taking the riffs from that album?
    Kueller917
    If we're being serious about songwriting here, I'd rather not. Better to create my own riffs. However, I could see this being a great stock source for learning guitar. Practice songs are usually regarded as a bit generic and dull, so having some May and Iommi written stuff could spice that up a bit.
    1renman2
    I would use them,but only for fun and to see what songs I can write with the riffs. Which is what I think the purpose of the riffs being released is. For fun. Not to actually profit off of.
    JpDupp
    Watch all the new bands all coming out with the same riffs at the same time ...
    Jazz1992
    It must feel really good, being able to write so many kickass riffs that you end up with an album's worth of discarded material.
    Heid
    I'm not sure if I'd go for this. Initially it sounds like there could potentially be hundreds of future songs that sound the same but then we need to factor in that not all the riffs will be used, and not all in the same songs, and that people will change them to their own taste. Still...seems a bit like it would dilute creativity somewhat...
    Skullivan
    Brian May doing anything new is good in my book. Regardless of the album's intentions, hearing a compilation of those two's unheard riffs sounds interesting.
    AARWave
    Lol, isn't that called music industry? Steal from someone, change it a bit and release as your own.. It's just a fact that most of people do take influence from things that they hear, even if they wouldn't agree it, and if it's okay for the original composers like in this case why not use something that sounds good?
    KingBobert
    I guess it'd be cool to have people use the riffs, craft their own song and enter them into some sort of contest? On the other hand, I'd rather the unused material remain unused. For one, if it didn't make the cut it's (perhaps) subpar music anyway. Not to mention that I'm scared they'll release a bunch of riffs that sound like my own D:
    xHellbound
    I don't think I would write full songs around any of these riffs, but I would definitely use them for jam sessions and showing off. Lol.
    kcmoon5150
    Sampling.
    JAHellraiser
    This. I think it's a good idea though, cause just about any musician could find a way to use them. You've got sampling for the non-rock musicians, and then drummers/bassists have something to play with, plus guitarists could always learn the riffs or something. and the fact that it's actual guitarists that are legendary and often imitated (but never duplicated) just makes it cooler. It'd be like if someone offered you an album full of Dave Grohl drumming, or John Paul Jones playing bass. would you honestly say no to that? Sure it's not great from a music listeners standpoint, but from a musician's? ****in great!
    Braykah
    God no. That would be a total innovation killer seeing as most new guitarists with below average talent and creativity would start copying these riffs for their music, and that could potentially hurt the future music scene as well since a ton of music would sound the same.
    latinromans
    people have been copying other peoples riffs for as long as there's been music, it hasn't killed all originality yet.
    Kueller917
    There's already enough samples out there. If it was going to affect the music scene that much it would've happened by now. Some people are samey and others are creative with it.
    scrymusic
    Nope... I would rather create my own... But some hipsters and hip hop artists will use them along with people like Kesha and Katy Perry because they cant come up with anything and they are not real artists.
    scrymusic
    Yeah...yeah yeah... Thumbs down because I said what I said.. But you are the one showing me that you like talentless people. Thanks Poptard Trolls!
    ItMightGetQuiet
    we're not giving you thumbs down because we like shitty pop artists, we are giving you a thumbs down because you just seem a bit of a ****.
    scrymusic
    I can see your point... Maybe I come off a lil harsh.. But its because of a generation of cut and paste with a simple hook for a fast buck instead of creating and writing and because of crap artists like that music is struggling.. Like Rock and Metal... Creativity is lost and being replaced. I just thought that fans of that type of music are gonna hate and thumbs down it.
    ItMightGetQuiet
    i agree with what you're saying, but people come to this site to talk about real music with other people who share that interest, we come here to get away from crappy pop music not to just say how much we hate it, if we wanted to do that we'd go on YouTube. it's ok to talk about it, but just save the rants for other places.
    centermass
    i agree with you. just watch 5 or 10 years from now we will hear some Iommi inspired rap song that has zero musical quality other than the riff Iommi and Or May provided,with a bunch of lyrics about slingin dope and hustlin bitches! and it will be a huge hit! I will be forced to again just sit there and shake my head in disbelief!
    ruletheneck
    there's already some of that sort of stuff out there. eminem (or his producer(s) or whatever) for one used parts of Aerosmith's 'Dream On' as the backings and chorus for his song 'Sing For The Moment' (it also has a mad guitar solo by Aerosmith guitar dude at the end). only eminem song i can listen to. i'm sure there's some f**ker out there that's nicked the riff from 'Hand Of Doom' and laid down some lyrics about cocaine over them. (though to be fair the whole freakin' album is about drugs anyway XD)
    crazyhorse174
    Couldn't you could just rip off a riff from any other song ever written and then use it? Surely this amounts to the same thing? Not exactly creative, is it?
    latinromans
    Yeah, this is just the first time a couple rock stars have gone and made an album intentionally for this purpose. I've borrowed rhythms and ideas from other songs and it sounds original as long as you execute them in your own way (unless your own way is that artists way in which case learn some new techniques and melodic idea's).
    Rimfrost
    If it was combined with some sort of social media shenanigans it could possibly be a little cool? If they encouraged people to use the riffs to compose their own stuff with recorded vocals, basses and stuff and then compile it on some website. Could be interesting to hear the results.
    lemmon182
    I think it'd be great as some sort of competition. Have a bunch of different riffs, and whoever uses it most effectively in a song gets it put onto an album? Or something like that. Would be a good way for artists to get exposure.
    eVwaylon
    wow. I didn't think there would be a good use, but that sounds pretty sweet. See different people's creativity with Tony's stuff. way to think.
    Grassy
    That's what NIN did with their songs, and there are honestly some amazing uploads by the community on their website.
    goochmaster15
    As a flash animator, I could use them for videos that have some kind of intense scene, and my inability to play guitar doesn't allow me to be able to record/create my own guitar riffs. So my answer is yes, I would.
    DisarmGoliath
    Not fussed about the article itself, but enjoyed the Sabbath teaser even though I've never been huge on them. Kinda want an Avid Icon desk now though, and never thought I would say that from a video for a Black Sabbath album teaser lol.
    henrihell
    It might just get really interesting. We (me and my friend) might just put in a riff in a house mix or something.
    Mattalac
    This is a great idea. We (whether we like it or not) steal riffs and licks all the time to create our own songs. We like to say our riffs were 'inspired' by certain riffs, but they're really stolen and changed a bit. And this has gone on in every style, in every genre and every era. So why not use and change riffs from two great revolutionary guitarists that they HAVEN'T used. Whether you use this or not is up to you, but if you deny it being a great idea then you're close minded and quite frankly, not a true musician, you're just a guitarist. I personally will probably not use this, but to say it's a bad idea, well that's like saying 'it's not metal unless it's ...'!
    supersac
    these could be fun exersise to work on your ear or even learning for fun for listening these albums could very well potantially suck but as a guitar player these have alot of learning potential
    headbang123
    Now we know how Bullet For My Valentine's making their next record! (sorry, i had to...)