Ah, the ’80s… it was a golden period for the explosion of metal, and the period which inspired DevilDriver‘s Mike Spreitzer to pick up a guitar.
“The first song that made me want to play guitar was Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me,’” says the guitarist. “I was about six-years-old and it was on MTV. I had an older brother and older sister that were teenagers at the time, so MTV was always on and I remember watching and slowly got addicted to it. When I first saw ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me,’ that was pretty much it. I started begging my parents for an electric guitar and I really wanted the Explorer that the bass player was playing in that video. Funny thing is to this day, I’ve never owned an Explorer guitar.”
That led to a broader exploration into the Def Leppard catalog, with Spreitzer backtracking from Hysteria to High and Dry, where “Let It Go” grabbed his attention, as he displays for the viewers.
It wasn’t long before even heavier metal entered the picture, with Spreitzer citing Black Sabbath as an early influence. “One of the first riffs I learned to play, I believe it was a Black Sabbath song off Paranoid and I believe it was ‘Electric Funeral,” says the guitarist.
Spreitzer says he was a big Metallica fan growing up, nabbing the group’s Black Album tab book (which he still has to this day). From there, it was time to backtrack through Metallica’s And Justice for All and Live Shit: Binge & Purge, as he was able to xerox the tab pages from a buddy. So what Metallica song most grabbed him? He displays a bit of “Harvester of Sorrow.”
Looking at DevilDriver’s own catalog, the guitarist cites “Testimony of Truth” and “End of the Line” as his favorite riffs. He also pulls out some of “My Night Sky,” a track he loves to play live due to its groove.
“The first riff I ever wrote for DevilDriver was the verse in “Hold Back the Day” from Fury in Our Maker’s Hands,” adds Spreitzer, recalling, “I wasn’t in the band when they recorded their first record. I came in shortly in between the first and second record cycle. We were on Ozzfest in 2004 and I brought my Line 6 pod with me and I always had my guitar and that pod in the back of the bus. We needed to start writing for Fury while we were on that tour. We had a limited amount of time between getting off Ozzfest, going home to write and then going to El Paso to Sonic Ranch to record the record. So we were all on each others’ ass to keep writing riffs so that we could come home with material to work with rather than starting from scratch.”
Turning his attention to DevilDriver’s upcoming double album, the single “Keep Away From Me” is currently his favorite. “It was one of the first songs, if I remember correctly, that I wrote for the record. It’s always been my favorite song on the record.”
You can hear “Keep Away From Me” in full on DevilDriver’s Dealing With Demons I, which is due Oct. 9. Get your pre-orders in for the album at this location. See more of Spreitzer showcasing some of his favorite riffs in the Gear Factor episode below.
DevilDriver’s Mike Spreitzer Plays His Favorite Guitar Riffs
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