THE WEEKLY RIFF – SNL Guitarist JARED SCHARFF Breaks Down His Exclusive PEARL LION Track “Robert Paulson”

This special edition of The Weekly Riff comes to you in two parts: new riffs AND new music! The reason for that is because Saturday Night Live guitarist Jared Scharff is a man of many, many talents. From leading the SNL band for over a decade (now into his 12th season of the show) to masterminding the indie instrumental rock project Pearl Lion, the dude has been busy. So to show off a little bit of what he’s been up to, we’re elated to bring you this exclusive look at his new song “Robert Paulson”, AND the accompanying Weekly Riff episode featuring Scharff breaking down quite possibly one of the jammiest riffs you’ll ever hear. Listen to the track below, and check out the riffy goodness above!

About the song and video, Scharff filled us in:

“”Robert Paulson” started from a drum loop I made on an MPC. Was jamming along to it and wrote the main riffs pretty quickly. I produced and recorded the songs all over in different studios/homes/apartments in NY/LA. Enlisted Fitz and the Tantrums bassist Joe Karnes on the bass, Wondershow on some weird-ass synth solo stuff and the legendary Lenny Pickett (Tower of Power/SNL fame) on the saxophone. Lenny sent me some insane solos and I chopped em up, tweaked em and put em through effects.  I wanted to bring some SNL vibes into this so of course, did a guitar verses sax battle at one point. In fact, we now play this song during SNL with the SNL band and it’s wild to hear it in that environment. Fun fact: Besides producing this song, I actually play live drums and did all the vocals on it as well.

I approached this whole song like vintage Zeppelin guitar riffs meets EDM/dubstep solo chops meets Kanye grimeyness meets NIN or something. High intensity, gritty, twists and turns the whole way. I let this song be the weirdest and craziest of the upcoming albums. I was like “fuck it, ima go nuts on this shit!”. At some point, when the majority of the song was written I named it “Robert Paulson” (based on one of my favorite movies Fight Club).  There was something about the energy and intensity of the song that just gave me the Fight Club vibe! If you’re a fan of Fight Club you know the reference.

Recently, I was talking to my friend/guitar pickup maker Andy Alt (A Little Thunder) one day, and he came up with the idea of doing this vid mashup with Fight Club scenes, etc. We evolved it into using a lot of my fave dark and gritty movies to match the intensity of the vid. Requiem for a Dream, Battle Royale, American Pyscho, Pulp Fiction, etc. Real intense, psychotic shit haha. Just felt like the right idea. Brought this to the insanely gifted Randy Edwards who edited all this footage together and is a mad genius.”

Be sure to keep up with Scharff’s solo project Pearl Lion on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as his guitarist Facebook page. You can expect many more goodies from this man, so you’ll want to stay as updated as possible. Oh, and also check out his Unnecessary Shredding YouTube series (you’re gonna love it).

Written by

Senior Editor at Gear Gods who studied Recording Technology at UW Oshkosh. Just trying to figure this whole music thing out, honestly.