When I was a wee little student we were always told about the evils of plagiarism. If you don’t know what plagiarism is, let me tell you; it’s a bit like terrorism for academics. Someone who plagiaries (plagiarist?) steals the ideas and concepts from one academic/scientist/whatever and passes them off as their own.
Thinking about it, that’s nothing like terrorism. If anything, it’s intellectual property theft.
Anyway, this was drilled into me during my three years as a wannabe social scientist, and two years on, I am finding it hard to shake off. I don’t find this a problem at work (dog eat dog…I’m not very popular in the office), but it is a problem when I’m writing songs.
Countless times I’ve discarded a perfectly good riff because it sounds like an Offspring song. It always seems to be The Offspring as well. I’m not the biggest fan in the world, nor do they inspire me to write (although hearing Original Prankster when I was 13 made me want to learn to play the guitar, but that’s a different story).
I spent quite a while last week writing an intro riff, when I was done I though “Bugger, that sounds like Kids Aren’t Alright”. I played the riff to Jacko later on in the week when we met up to write some new stuff (we actually met up to finish an older song, we never finish them, just jump to the next) he noted the similarity, but said not to worry about it. He reasoning was that there is a limit to how many riffs you can write, and playing the sort of music we play, you bound to sound like somebody else.
He’s got a point. If you are a SUM 41 fan (I am! New album out this year, yes!) you may remember back to to 2002 when Still Waiting was released (first single off Does This Look Infected), the whole music press and community were up in metaphorical arms because the main riff from the single was ripped off from Dammit I Changed Again by, yep, you guessed it, The Offspring!
Maybe it’s because The Offspring have been around for so long now, people can’t help but rip them off.
Oh well. If SUM 41 can get away with it, so can I.