Bad Religion‘s Brian Baker has played in many a band over the years, leading to many a riff. Loudwire caught up with the punk rock guitar slinger for this edition of Gear Factor, revisiting some of the music that helped shape him as a player.
Like many guitarists of a certain generation, Baker first got turned onto the Beatles, which led him down the path to wanting to be a musician. “I would say the riff that got me started, the riff that made me want to play, the gateway drug, was ‘Taxman’ by the Beatles. I was like eight and this was huge,” says Baker, adding with a laugh, “I didn’t really know that was the bass part. I didn’t figure that out for a long time.”
Another early favorite was AC/DC, especially when Baker started becoming more serious about playing the guitar. He breaks out a bit of “Beating Around the Bush,” then “Hells Bells,” crediting the latter song with influencing some of his output in Dag Nasty. The other major early influence for Baker was ZZ Top, and he breaks off a bit of “Just Got Paid,” albeit played in his own way.
Baker recalls one deficit he had starting out that never got corrected until much later, explaining, “One thing I could not do when I started playing was used the little finger on my left hand. My guitar teacher wasn’t really into ‘rules’ because it was the ‘70s,’ and so he never really made me develop any dexterity in this finger and I probably didn’t use it until my early 20s and only then because I wanted to suspend a chord.”
Digging into his own music, Baker shows off riffs from four of the acts he’s been associated with. He starts by sharing his favorite Bad Religion riff from “American Jesus,” pulls out his favorite soundcheck riff from Dag Nasty, recalls his first ever riff on record from Minor Threat and finishes with a taste of his newest band, Fake Names, playing a bit of “Driver” from the current record.
Watch Baker run through the riffs that shaped him in the Gear Factor episode below and pick up Fake Names’ self-titled debut album here.
Brian Baker (Bad Religion / Minor Threat) Plays His Favorite Riffs
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