Sunday, November 8, 2009

music links: this riff

an oft-overlooked but classic music link is the Nirvana / Killing Joke scandal.  but basically, the riff from hit 90's song Come As You Are is almost straight-lifted from the song Eighties by the Killing joke.
Geordie Walker, Killing Joke's guitar player, said that the band was "very pissed off about that, but it's obvious to everyone. We had two separate musicologists' reports saying it was. Our publisher sent their publisher a letter saying it was and they went 'Boo, never heard of ya!', but the hysterical thing about Nirvana saying they'd never heard of us was that they'd already sent us a Christmas card!"
there is a slight difference in the rhythm but the similarity is undeniable.  also notice the arrangement: the guitar riff is played unaccompanied at specific points in the original song.

another band that completely ripped off Killing Joke: Ministry.  listen to any of the classic Ministry albums - Land Of Rape And Honey, The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste, etc and then compare them to the 1980 self-titled Killing Joke album and What's This For...!  or how about the Killing Joke song, Land Of Milk And Honey?  it's like hearing Al Jourgensen say to himself, "Oh, I guess we're not going to be a successful synth-pop band, let's steal this sound instead!"

Killing Joke - Eighties (1985)

Nirvana - Come As You Are (1991)

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