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Michael Griffen RIP

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  Michael Griffen RIP
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James
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Michael Griffen RIP
« Thread started on: Jan 10th, 2008, 10:18pm »

I saw this in my MySpace bulletins and my heart sank.

Michael was one of the first, and easily one of the coolest dudes that I've met over the past fifteen years of being involved in punk rock. I have vivid memories of being all of thirteen years old, making terrible terrible racket, and Michael smiling the whole time, recording every feedback squeal on his four-track.

I just now realized that I hadn't seen or talked to him since I've moved to Seattle, possibly longer.

He will be missed.

For all of you who have no idea who I'm talking about, you should go jam Behead The Prophet's "I Am That Great And Fiery Force," now.
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Re: Michael Griffen RIP
« Reply #1 on: Jan 11th, 2008, 12:23am »

on Jan 10th, 2008, 10:18pm, Two Snakes wrote:
one of the the coolest dudes that I've met being involved in punk rock.
smiling the whole time, recording every feedback squeal on his four-track.


another example of his radness:
Noggin "i think we should move from getting away from all that"
http://www.archive.org/download/copo01/011.mp3

www.myspace.com/artiesmudgestrio
« Last Edit: Jan 11th, 2008, 12:29am by co-pocket » Logged

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Re: Michael Griffen RIP
« Reply #2 on: Jan 11th, 2008, 12:31am »

It's true -- it's Griffen, rather than the more standard spelling "Griffin," which is appropriate in and of itself because Michael was not a standard individual -- no offense intended toward you more standardized Griffins out there. Although he did loom large much like the mythical beast which carries that name.

It was my distinct pleasure to make a lot of noise with Michael in Behead the Prophet for a couple of years, sharing him with his beloved Noggin all the while. Michael was a really inspiring guy in so so many ways... His essential and nearly extreme good nature coupled with his not-give-a-shititude was purely him; sometimes I felt like a psychopath compared to him. I'd be wringing my hands and moaning over whatever trivial or not-so-trivial trial was taking place at the time -- generally stuff that follows hardcore bands around, large packs of skinheads or crusties making various kinds of trouble -- Michael remained unshook through everything. He rolled like a stone through all kinds of landscapes -- excepting Las Vegas, which he notably hated -- winding up back at his comfort shack house 10 miles east of Bellingham across the bridge from Nugent's Corner with pipe in mouth like the settled old guy he kind of was.

It used to bother us somewhat in Behead the Prophet when the kids would approach Michael's presence in the band as something of a novelty -- "woah that's amazing how you have an old guy." Michael was the most hard core guy in the band, most committed to making discomfiting racket, most down with the kids, least easily rattled. I gotta bring up Vegas again only to point out that the Vegas experience was really noteworthy to the rest of the band because it was really the only time we EVER saw him lose his cool and even then it was fairly limited. Here was a truly simple-living good guy who wanted nothing more out of life than to enjoy the love of his friends and family -- and his family is wonderful too but that's another tale -- and play music. He absolutely could not stand to be surrounded by the neon capitalist monster, it clearly made him feel under siege, he couldn't deal with a place like that. Sorry Michael, I really did just want to eat breakfast inside a sphinx...

His house in Bellingham, technically 10 miles east, was where BTP practiced once or twice a month, and more importantly spent weekends soaking up the Griffen Way. Nothing to do but make racket in his music room, sit by the wood stove petting the cats, go out and get more wood, maybe pay Jordan a dollar to swagger across the bridge to Nugent's Corner like Popeye but again it's another tale. Spending down time with Michael might earn you some of the jewels that were his anecdotes. He didn't tend to talk about himself much, so when he did and the story went "well yeah me and my friends rode our horses into the middle of the christian tent revival brandishing rifles," or "I must admit that we found Iron Butterfly's extended performance enthralling because we were all really high, but then the ring of burning fuel that surrounded them may have played a part," it was a good 'un.

His kids are a testament to the kind of guy he was, sweet unconventional people with big big hearts. I hope to see them soon. I feel bad that I didn't see Michael in these last couple of years when his health was declining. I'll miss him but perhaps his soul is better off without a failing body; he was absolutely unforgettable. With the last 15 or so years of his life, when most people are settling in for the twilight cruise, he had more spunk and enthusiasm than I will ever have.

A toast and my enduring gratitude: Michael Griffen!

love
JQ
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Re: Michael Griffen RIP
« Reply #3 on: Jan 11th, 2008, 10:15am »

This is indeed sad news - Noggin really influenced me, subconsciously, in many ways. A couple of bands I was in back in the early 90's played with Noggin at the Showoff and 3-B, and I just felt so uncool playing simple pop compared to to what they were doing. Their approach to putting out 7"s and tapes also was a big influence - after seeing what they were doing I figured I could do the same thing, first with a zine, and later with a record label. (Estrus, Throwrug zine and Szanktone Records were other influences, but that's a whole 'nother topic).

Sean
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Sean

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Re: Michael Griffen RIP
« Reply #4 on: Jan 13th, 2008, 07:21am »

on Jan 11th, 2008, 10:15am, doublecrown wrote:
This is indeed sad news - Noggin really influenced me, subconsciously, in many ways. A couple of bands I was in back in the early 90's played with Noggin at the Showoff and 3-B, and I just felt so uncool playing simple pop compared to to what they were doing. Their approach to putting out 7"s and tapes also was a big influence - after seeing what they were doing I figured I could do the same thing, first with a zine, and later with a record label. (Estrus, Throwrug zine and Szanktone Records were other influences, but that's a whole 'nother topic).

Sean
Double Crown Records
www.dblcrown.com


I got to see Michael several times with Noggin at the Showoff. It was back as I just started getting into the music scene in Bellingham, circa '93 and their music helped open my mind to the possibility of what can happen live. One time, he was playing this tube that when you flung it quickly, it made a really cool high pitched noise. In the context of what Noggin was doing, it was pure genius.

Michael was also one of the first pin ups in the magazine. I think at the time he was 63. You don't find many people who have the balls to still play music in their late 40's, much less 60's.

does anyone have any video of Noggin? Would like to see something posted.
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Re: Michael Griffen RIP
« Reply #5 on: Jan 14th, 2008, 1:17pm »

we're gathering thoughts at

http://wordisafourletter.wordpress.com/

aloha,
-adam
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doublecrown
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Re: Michael Griffen RIP
« Reply #6 on: Jan 14th, 2008, 3:40pm »

on Jan 13th, 2008, 07:21am, whatsupmagazine wrote:
One time, he was playing this tube that when you flung it quickly, it made a really cool high pitched noise. In the context of what Noggin was doing, it was pure genius.



I tried to find online what that tube thing is called - I know The Chameleons used that whirling tube thing on a few of their songs.

Also, it's amazing reading all of the blog postings and seeing so many locals influenced by Noggin's Showoff shows - it's kinda like what they say about people who bought the Velvet Undergrounds first LP when it came out - not many people bought it, but everyone that did formed a band later. I think their influence will live for years to come.

Sean
Double Crown Records
www.dblcrown.com
« Last Edit: Jan 14th, 2008, 3:46pm by doublecrown » Logged

Sean

Double Crown Records / Bell-Tone Records
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Re: Michael Griffen RIP
« Reply #7 on: Jan 14th, 2008, 7:44pm »

on Jan 14th, 2008, 3:40pm, doublecrown wrote:
it's amazing reading all of the blog postings and seeing so many locals influenced by Noggin's Showoff shows
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