The two metal bands Keith Richards called “jokes”

keith richards

Keith Richards reached a moment in his musical career when he no longer cared what others thought of his taste. While it might be argued that he never cared what people thought at first, Keef was notorious for not holding back. Especially when he thought something was garbage or when a song wasn’t coming together in the studio. While Richards might be harsh on some of his contemporaries, Black Sabbath and Metallica were almost humorous in their songwriting.

Richards’ approach to songwriting is hardly the most complicated melodic basis in the world. Richards, renowned as one of the principal authors of the British Invasion, owed most of his best work to the blues. He utilized Mick Jagger as his megaphone to create incredible songs of rebellion such as ‘Satisfaction’.

While blues served him well throughout his career, Black Sabbath elevated songs about how a lady did them wrong to a new level. Compared to the normal sounds of down-and-out blues sessions, guitarist Tony Iommi struck on something much more primeval when he introduced the tritone to his riffs. This created an eerie tone that no one else could match.

Many of the band’s finest songs were created while hammering out demonic-sounding riffs with Ozzy Osbourne. Each of these songs had a significant impact on Metallica. As James Hetfield listened to Sabbath, he combined the rudiments of Iommi’s riffs with punk-rock ferocity. Eventually, he became one of music’s most powerful forces in the 1980s.

By the time Sabbath and Metallica were recognized as rock gods, Richards didn’t think they were particularly noteworthy. In comparison to the nasty music that Keith Richards was listening to at the time, he felt that the majority of metal music was amateurish to the point of parody.

When discussing both bands, Richards admitted to not understanding the appeal of the new generation of rock performers. He told Guitar World, “It sounds like a dull thud to me. Most bands struggle to maintain syncopation. It’s an endless thud, with no bounce, lift, or syncopation. Metallica and Black Sabbath are popular bands with millions of fans. I just thought they were excellent jokes.”

However, Richards was looking at it from an entirely other angle. After learning the ropes of the genre from blues superstars such as Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson, Richards spent most of his childhood listening to songs that used the blues as a foundation rather than just a flavor of the music.

Both Sabbath and Metallica have used the blues scale numerous times in their music. However, their approach to the blues has resulted in a distinct musical lexicon. Rather than discussing the same I-IV-V chord progressions, metal focused on creating something that sounded truly awful rather than something that people could sing along to.

As much as Richards may resist, there’s a fair chance both bands are continuing what he started in the 1960s. It is a direct continuation of what he started in the early 1960s. The Rolling Stones guitarist may have a beef with metal music. However, he could be the unintentional forefather of the genre without even realizing it.

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