Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1982 NEIL JEFFRIES
GREAT YARMOUTH based Riff Raff are not a band to play it safe. Rather than play “comfortable three-chord thrashes” they prefer to stretch themselves and their music into what, a few years ago could only have been termed ‘progressive rock’.
This four-piece are fronted by twin brothers Dave and Fred Patterson, bass / vocals and lead guitar plus backing vocals respectively, with Mike Weaver, (vocals / rhythm guitar) and Roger Leggett (drums) completing the line-up. They have been together as
Riff Raff for nearly five years and in 1978 were finalists in a Radio One new band competition. Their history actually dates back further, so it is hardly surprising their style shows influences from early seventies bands like Wishbone Ash and Humble Pie.
But far more than mere copyists or revivalists, Riff Raff have worked hard to up-date the music in true “progressive” spirit. For example, the current set features lyrics on such contemporary issues as Northern Ireland – ‘Soldier On The Street’ – and Britain’s economic problems -‘Monetarism’. Dodgy title aside, both are ample proof that the band “are not afraid to tackle touchy subjects.”
The song that best illustrates this is the recently written ‘Goodnight Mary Jane’ about the death of a grandmother. The highlight of the show, it typifies Riff Raff’s approach with its complex chord and pace changes, and cleverly arranged harmony vocals. Heavy progressive or melodious rock, call it what you will, but the band are certainly different.
As well as re-vamping the set, Riff Raff are also in the middle of recording a session hopefully due for an airing on Radio Norfolk.