Steve Black

Steve Black

Riff Jocks A to Z Cover

All of us on the air at the Riff live for the opportunity to share some Rock & Roll and it always means so much more when we get to introduce you to something you may have missed.
So, over the next 5 months we are sharing our favorite songs from a variety of riff bands spanning the alphabet. Here is part 1: the letters A & B

Riff Jocks A to Z

Riff Jocks A to Z Cover

  • A Day To Remember:

    Jade Springart: “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” I’m a huge fan of this genre of rock and these guys always have catchy riffs. Plus, in terms of song titles, it doesn’t get much better than this!


    Meltdown: Jeremy McKinnon on “Radio Song” with HARDY
    Aimee Brooks: “The Downfall of Us All”- Totally crunchy metalcore feel good song
    Anne Erickson: “Miracle.” I love the melodic singing in this song and how the track explodes into a modern rock anthem. It’s a great song for working out!

    Steve Black: “If It Means a Lot to You” I know it’s a slower song, but it’s one of those really cool pieces I actually wish I wrote. It is a treasure of a song to sing along to.
    Cort Freeman: “If It Means a Lot to You” because I’m a total softy.

    Jonel Jaksa: “Best of Me”
    James Campbell: ” “2nd Sucks” One of my favorite tracks by them. Kicks off with a “Fight” drop from Mortal Kombat and a break down to match. Great to listen to at the gym or dealing with teenage angst.

  • AC/DC:

    Jade Springart:  “Big Balls” I mean, c’mon.

    Aimee Brooks: Shot Down in Flames” – I love Brian Johnson but I am a Bon Scott girl through and through. The Bon squeak in his vocals in unmistakable and unable to duplicate. There was only one Bon, and I’m here for him.

    Steve Black: Yikes…that’s like picking a favorite child…so I’ll roll with “Let There Be Rock” as it pretty much encapsulates all things AC/DC in one song.

    Meltdown: “Let’s Get it Up”…..and many more.

    Cort Freeman: “T.N.T.” reminds me of the countless hours I spent playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 on PS2. A great game with an even better soundtrack.

    Jonel Jaksa: “Highway to Hell” As a youngster browsing for music at the record store, the album Highway to Hell always got a second look from me. I think it was something about Angus’ devil horns coming through his cap. That cover photo was super alluring to a pre-teen me. Just the right amount of evil without being too intimidating. When I finally bought the album, it immediately became a favorite. The title track was so anthemic and so rockin’, especially to a young rock music fan just discovering new sounds.

    James Campbell: “Highway to Hell”

  • Aerosmith:

    Jade Springart:  “Jaded” Not necessarily a huge fan favorite, but as my name is Jade, when this song came out (I was in the 8th grade) everyone would sing it to me. I also have a love/hate relationship with the song “Back In The Saddle”. I love the song, but the way he says “Back” reminds me of sports broadcaster Chris Berman who annoys the sh*t out of me.

    Meltdown: “Hangman Jury”

    Aimee Brooks: “Seasons of Wither” – It invokes a feeling of barren winter and doomed love complete with haunting vocals and lyrics.

    Cort Freeman:   “Janie’s Got A Gun” has always been a favorite because it reminds me of that scene in Not Another Teen Movie where Chris Evan’s character sings it and things go horribly wrong.

    Steve Black: “Train Kept a Rollin’” a fantastic cover song and one of the great stories in Rock & Roll with Producer Jack Douglass bringing in Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter to do the lead guitar work.

    Jonel Jaksa: “Same Old Song And Dance” One of my very first cassette tapes was Aerosmith Greatest Hits with that red album cover and bold, white band logo. It was my introduction to the band and there wasn’t a bad song on it. “Same Old Song And Dance” was one that always stuck out to me. It was the groove that the song had. That Joe Perry boogie. Simplistic and straight-forward. Like most great rock songs.

    James Campbell: “Crazy’” Growing up watching MTV when mom and dad where out running errands, I think all young men prayed that this video with Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone would come on…or maybe it was just me.

  • Alice In Chains:

    Jade Springart:  “Nutshell”

    Meltdown: “Sea of Sorrow”, “Check My Brain”….I could go on.

    Aimee Brooks: “What the Hell Have I” – Jerry Cantrell’s jingle jangly guitar riffs on full display. Something to aspire to.

    Anne Erickson:  “Heaven Beside You.” I think this was the first Alice in Chains song I ever heard. I love all the harmonies and melodies. It’s a grungy classic, but so far, I’ve never seen Alice in Chains perform it live. I wish they would add it to their set!

    Steve Black: “Bleed the Freak” …No, “Nutshell”….No “It Ain’t Like That!”, yeah, I’ll go with that one…what a ridiculous guitar riff!

    Jonel Jaksa: “Rain When I Die” In my opinion, Dirt was Alice in Chains at their finest. Every song on that album was fantastic, but “Rain When I Die” was a standout for me. Layne Staley’s vocals were chilling and tragic. Jerry Cantrell’s guitar was soaring and haunting all at once. Melodic 90s grunge at its finest.

    Cort Freeman: “Man In The Box”. I admittedly don’t listen to them often, but I know this one.

    James Campbell: “Man In The Box” When I was young we went to the Michigan State Fair and I rode the Gravitron.  The carnie was blasting this song and I had no idea who it was, but I loved it.  The grindy sounding guitar and especially the la, la, la’s. Took a few years to finally learn who did that song and it’s always been a fav since.

  • Alter Bridge:

    Jade Springart:  “Cry Of Achilles”

    Anne Erickson:  “Open Your Eyes” was the band’s debut single from their debut album. These guys are some of my favorite musicians, so this first song is very special to me!

    Meltdown: “Blackbird”

    Aimee Brooks: “Metalingus” Prime Mark Tremonti shredding.

    Steve Black: “Watch Over You” is beautiful, personal, meaningful, emotional….and so much fun to sing.

    Jonel Jaksa: “Come To Life”

    Cort Freeman: “Metalingus” is a cool sounding name. I don’t listen to them, though.

  • Audioslave:

    Jade Springart:   “Cochise” I believe this song was on Guitar Hero and I always loved playing it. If only I could play guitar in real life.

    Anne Erickson:  “I Am the Highway.” I could have picked every Audioslave song to be my favorite, but “I Am the Highway” is one that I listen to over and over again. But, really, all of these songs are magic. Chris Cornell and the Rage Against the Machine guys made some incredible music.

    Meltdown: “Chochise”

    Aimee Brooks: “Show me How to Live” – Chris Cornell was a poet. This song gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it, and it still does.

    Cort Freeman: “I Am The Highway” reminds me of driving around with friends in high school. It’s as good of road trip song as the title implies.

    Steve Black: “Shadow on the Sun” If ever a song was a mental cry for help. Just read the lyrics…It make me so sad that Chris ever thought of himself as a shadow on the sun.

    Jonel Jaksa: “Shadow on the Sun”

    James Campbell: “Show Me How To Live”

  • Avenged Sevenfold:

    Jade Springart: “Unholy Confessions” I was a MASSIVE A7X fan back in the early 2000s. The first time I saw them was at the Warped Tour and then we drove to see them in Grand Rapids shortly after that. It was right before I started working at the radio station and I was really getting into this style of music. Bullet For My Valentine, Atreyu, etc.

    Steve Black: “Afterlife” has all the cool Avenged trademarks in it. Fast riffs, Orchestral string section, great melodies, wicked guitar solos and endless attitude.

    Meltdown: The entire new album.

    Aimee Brooks: “Hail to the King” … Sounds very familiar to another song I love.

    Cort Freeman: “So Far Away” is more chill than most of their stuff, but I dig the sound.

    James Campbell: “Hail to the King”

    Jonel Jaksa: “Bat Country”

  • Beastie Boys:

    Jade Springart: “Girls”

    Al Beck: “No Sleep till Brooklyn” Got to rep my boys from Slayer and that song features an outro guitar solo from Kerry King!

    Steve Black: “Ch-Check It Out” As a tried-and-true science nerd, it should not surprise anyone that I discovered this song originally as the theme song for the Neil deGrasse Tyson podcast Startalk. I connected with it right away thanks to that show.”

    Aimee Brooks:  “Hey Ladies!” Oh my God the perfect disco beat, the Beastie rhymes, visions of mirror balls. Will always be my favorite to unapologetically dance to in my car, grocery store, funerals… when it plays the world is my light up dance floor.

    Jonel Jaksa: “Shake Your Rump” I wore out Beatie Boys’ first album Licensed to Ill. When their second album Paul’s Boutique came out it was a bit of a departure from the snotty sound of their debut. Enter 70s disco vibes and obscure samples. “Shake Your Rump” had a mesmerizing percussive sound and exemplified the Boys’ signature vocal tradeoffs. It’s fun and dumb and everything that made Beastie Boys great.

    Cort Freeman: I want to say “Brass Monkey” because I’m immature and still find it random and funny…but I know it’s not their best and they have much, much better songs in their catalogue but…I’m going with it anyways, “Brass Monkey”.

    James Campbell: “Body Movin’”

  • Black Sabbath:

    Jade Springart: “Sweet Leaf”

    Al Beck: “Lady Evil” – Undeniable is the influence that Black Sabbath has had on heavy metal and with all due respect to Ozzy, I have to go with a Dio-era track, because it’s not the traditional Sabbath choice, not to mention the man’s incredible pipes! There’s a story out there about him shredding a studio microphone with just his voice when he came in to record for the Tenacious D movie A Pick of Destiny! And I went with “Lady Evil” because I love the funky bassline in that song!

    Steve Black: “Heaven and Hell” I’m a bigger fan of the Ozzy-era overall, yet this song has my favorite Tony Iommi guitar solo and the song is just so powerful! (Honorable mention to “The Wizard”)

    Cort Freeman: “War Pigs” is a classic and was my go-to track while playing Guitar Hero 2.

    Meltdown: Too many to list

    Aimee Brooks: “Supernaut” – Reminds me of my late brother. Plus 10000 Homo DJs featuring Al Jorgenson covered it and that version reminds me of my college radio days, hanging out at punk bars. Both versions are in my regular rotation.

    Jonel Jaksa: “Iron Man” The first Black Sabbath song I ever heard. What makes it stand out after all these years is that I didn’t hear it on the radio first, I heard it on a pro wrestling TV show. As a 10-year-old just getting into wrestling and just getting into rock music, I was introduced to “Iron Man” when it was used as the theme song for the face-painted tag team The Road Warriors. Every Saturday evening at 6:05 PM watching World Championship Wrestling on Superstation TBS, when I heard the first notes of “Iron Man”, I knew The Road Warriors were about to hit the ring and decimate whoever had the bad luck of standing across from them. Beyond that, what’s not to like about this Sabbath classic? As heavy as it gets.

    James Campbell: “War Pigs”

  • The Black Keys:

    Jade Springart: “Everlasting Light” I’ve always been a fan of the Black Keys, but really took note of this song when I started DJing weddings. This was a special request for a couple and I immediately realized this needed to be a permanent on the dinner playlist.

    Aimee Brooks: “I Got Mine” – Dan Auerbach absolutely perfects the gritty bluesy chord progression in this one. I love it because it is so much fun to play on my Fender JagStang.

    Cort Freeman: “Psychotic Girl” is the song that introduced me to The Black Keys and they’ve been one of my favorites ever since. Definitely doesn’t remind me of anybody from my past, not at all.

    Steve Black: “Little Black Submarines” this is one of the many predictions I got wrong. I thought this song was going to be a huge hit…oh, well, It’s still my favorite from their catalog.

    Jonel Jaksa: “Howlin’ For You”

    James Campbell: “Lonely Boy”

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