Circa 1990 – 1992
We (PLG) had a gig at the Swan, Fulham. The warm-up band was the Riffz. They were quite different from the regular rock pub bands we had come across. I remember after the gig running across the street to a nearby pub tracking down John in his denium vest. We hit it off and started booking shows together.
John, Scot, Andy and Tom formed the Riffz while in school. By the time I met up with them they were already playing around the London pub circuit. The Riffz recorded a dozen of demos and continued to experiment and develop their sound. The Riffz sang about youth, friendship and everything in-between. As I continued booking shows for PLG, I also started working with the Riffz. The band had a lot of stage presence, were fun, entertaining and wrote some great songs. When PLG left to the US, during my solo adventures in London, I put all my focus and time on getting the Riffz to the next level.
I booked a show for them in Wolverhampton far from their London home. They played to a huge audience in a stadium like venue. Could they win over an unfamiliar crowd? It turned out to be a great show and a great live recording. This marks the midway point for the band. They were introducing new songs into their set and still had a few old songs mixed in. So here it is, a first listen to the Riffz live…
The set list includes; Lying Game, Easy, Forgive Me, Caught in a Rye, Open Windows, Unrequited Love, Visions of Love, The Sun Again and We’re Not Gonna Change It.
The Riffz were very much not in love with their name. They attempted a few name changes along the way including; Shine, Moonhead and a few other choice names I’m sure. For me, they were the Riffz – John, Scot, Andy & Tom. They later added a keyboard player. After about a year working with the band I felt they had a good enough collection of songs to present to record companies. I contacted many and only got one real response.
The band played on and continued recording. Their songwriting continued to evolve as well. I ended up leaving London but kept in touch with John and the Riffz as much as possible. They sent me a few of their later recordings on CD. As much as they were changing musically, like many artistes, individually they started pursuing other dreams. This chapter in their life had come to an end.So years later I come across all the Riffz demos and started think about what if they had released a full length album. I’ve captured some of my favorite songs and created the never released album – South of the River
Riffz – South of the River
UPDATE 2012: I guess I never know when to put it to rest…but these tunes are stuck in my head for whatever reason. In retrospect this whole London thing ended up being about the riffz. Listening back now at both “The Concert” & “South Of The River” there is a piece missing. “SOTR” is more about the latter half of the Riffz/Moonhead career while “The Concert” is the bridge between the beginning and end of their career (or sumin’ like that). So what was the beginning – It was John & Scot finding their vocal range – together. Dueling verses, harmonies, jangly guitars and solid drums. It was the song writing between their debut demo “Were Not Gonna Change” and their adventures as Moonhead. It was the songs that I used to get them gigs. So once again out came the cassette tapes and a few twist of the knobs…Surely this has to be the end 😉
10 Songs — Riffz UK
(not to be confused with the ones from iceland or australia or poland or mexico or hackney for that matter)