The Riffs are a rock and roll and punk band from Portland, Oregon. They have released three full-length albums, all on indie labels, namely Pelado Records, Vendetta Records, and TKO Records.
The Riffs are heavily influenced by early punk bands, most notably the Sex Pistols, whose influence can be heard most prominently in the guitars, Sham 69 and the Dead Boys (they paid tribute to the Dead Boys on the cover of "Dead
end Dream"). Like other bands that played the first wave of punk music, they were also fans of Protopunk like Eddie and the Hot Rods and The Velvet Underground, as displayed by their cover of "Waiting for the Man"
on "Underground Kicks".
Throughout the first two LPs, Underground Kicks and Dead End Dream, the songs and lyrics (written by all members of the band) told a bleak story of growing up in the Portland punk scene, presumably in poverty, afflicted with drug
addiction, the repercussions of drug abuse, regret about past violent criminal activity, and a "No Way Out" feeling when it came to creating a fulfilling (if any) future.
The band matured for their latest release, "Death or Glory", as evident by lead singer Mengis' improved vocal abilities—also, he achieved a greater vocal range, such as in "Death or Glory"--smoother production,
and implementation of experimental instruments (such as the keyboard in "Poison Boys"). The lyrical content also took a turn for the positive in many ways: "Death or Glory" had considerably more romantic songs
than ever before.