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Thursday, January 10, 2008

RIP Michael Griffen

posted by on January 10 at 0:25 AM


From Behead The Prophet No Lord Shall Live’s myspace page:

“Early this morning Michael Griffen died. He was the violinist in Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live and played in the noise duo Noggin and many other projects along the way. His contribution to music was very significant as a huge proponent of Improvised Noise. Michael encouraged anyone curious about music regardless of talent and got a lot of people started on a path to true creative expression. I am greatly thankful for my experience with Michael as an individual, as a fellow musician and to know his family who have been a family to me when I needed a one that accepted me for who I am without judgment. I am currently working on a documentary about Michael with a friend Peter Rand that hopefully will be completed within the next year. Much Love to you all, I know that Michael believed in Love, - Jordan Rain”

I saw Behead the Prophet in a basement back in high school and it was truly wild. Condolences to Griffen’s friends and family.

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I never had the pleasure of seeing Behead the Prophet NLSL, but they were a phenomenal band. RIP Michael Griffin.

Posted by bunnypuncher | January 10, 2008 2:44 AM

Never saw Behead the Prophet NLSL, but I saw Michael play in several other combos over the years. Seeing Nogin play "unplugged" at the second to last Showoff Gallery show was one of the best/most interesting performances I ever saw.

Bellingham will be just a bit more boring without him.

Posted by tallchris | January 10, 2008 7:10 AM

Michael was one of the most electric, sizzling, compelling musicians I have ever had the honor of experiencing. So many times, watching Noggin, everyone's jaws would drop and their spirits would meld. The world of wild sound has lost the physical presence of a great one, but his spirit will continue to inspire us from the beyond.

Posted by Sarah | January 10, 2008 7:17 AM

BTPNLSL's creativity, energy, and craziness was amazing...There was the area code show when WA rolled out the 360 area code, the flooded 100th show, all the shows they were supposed to play with Karp at the Goathouse when Karp didn't show up, Heaven vs. Hell at the OFH, their (last?) show in someone's 2nd floor apartment with Botch, where everything was green??? Anyway, they were obviously so creative and good and right-on and fun, but they were also the NICEST band ever, of course Michael included. So gracious and considerate... I'm so sad to hear about this.

Posted by abomb | January 10, 2008 7:54 AM

I should have also added this...

I only saw noggin once but I rememember my favorite song of theirs..."keep on noggin in the free world"

Posted by abomb | January 10, 2008 8:01 AM

That basement was probably The Goathouse, Behead the Prophet played there quite a few times. I saw BTPNLSL and Noggin at least a dozen times and used to see Michael at smaller hardcore shows at places like The Black Cat, Goathouse, Velvet Elvis and basement shows. Great, odd guy. Shy and akward, probably because he was twice the age of all the punk kids he was hanging out, but he'd open up an chat your ear off if you gave him a chance. He seemed always to be smiling and friendly. The thing that kicked ass most about him was he pushed the boundaries of noise, punk and hardcore far more than most musicians half his age. Violins in a hardcore band! Years before bands like Amber Asylum came along. Cheers Michael, you left a mark on this world and the Northwest music scene that won't be forgotten!

Posted by dan10things | January 10, 2008 8:56 AM

very sad news. i first saw Noggin around maybe '92 at the Showoff Gallery in B'ham and had my teenage mind blown. i went on to see them and Behead the Prophet dozens of times, and always had a blast. i think the last time i saw Behead the Prophet was at some flooded church basement in the U-district w/ a very young Blood Brothers opening up the show... anyhow, it was always great to see him perform or hanging out at shows, and i always found his passion for music and his support for other musicians inspiring. most people burn out on the music scene in their late-20s, so seeing Michael tear it in a basement was amazing. i'll dig out the 'word is a 4 letter fuck' tape tonight. rip.

Posted by honcho | January 10, 2008 9:15 AM

Sad. RIP.

Posted by Eric Grandy | January 10, 2008 9:36 AM

Rest easy, Michael, and thanks for all the sounds.

Posted by levide | January 10, 2008 10:30 AM

ps- It's Michael Griffen, not Griffin

Posted by dan10things | January 10, 2008 1:08 PM

You know, I noticed that when I looked inside my copy of "I Am That Great and Fiery Force" last night, but I figured I would just go with what the band posted online. I had no definitive way of knowing which was the typo.

Posted by Jeff Kirby | January 10, 2008 1:12 PM

Michael was a great and dear friend of mine who was inturmental in forming the way I looked at making art and music. His influence on underground NW music cannot be underestemated. I was lucky enough to have the honor of playing music with him in one form or another for over ten years, though for the last few years he was concentrating on writing a novel. I'm pleased (but not suprised)to see this outpouring of love for his life and body of work.

Posted by coreybrewer | January 10, 2008 1:38 PM

sad news. have enjoyed great and fiery force for years. great violin on that disc. rip.

Posted by josh | January 10, 2008 3:00 PM

this is very sad news. I met Michael about eleven years ago, when he, his daughter Aral, and Noggin bandmate Eric crashed at my place (they were friends of my good friend and housemate at the time). I immediately was blown away by the warm and vigorous vibe Micheal gave off; he was more creative, adventurous and alive than many folks a third of his age (this was when he was in his sixties, I believe). I was fortunate to see him several times in the years after that meeting, including an amazing stay at his house in Bellingham. Over the years, whenever I get cynical about feeling too old to do something creative or take some particular chance or adventure, I would always think of Michael. He is truly an inspiration to me -- maybe even a bigger one than I ever realized until now. I eagerly look forward to a documentary about him -- he is definitely someone people should know about, an true creative revolutionary who should be an example to others.

Posted by marcmazique | January 10, 2008 4:31 PM

Saw Noggin once. Blew me away.

Posted by Paulus | January 10, 2008 4:59 PM

I'm sad to hear this. I was able to see Noggin and BTPNLSL during my Bellingham days and knew Michael just a bit via Jordan. My condolences to his friends and family. A really innovative musician. I might have to put on great and fiery force tonight.

Posted by Gabriel | January 10, 2008 5:57 PM

This ruins my day. I used to be very tight with all the NLSL guys after the Mukilteo Fairies days in Olympia, and Michael was by far the most lovingly off-the-deep-end guy in the band. He was such a nice guy, it shouldn't happen like this.

Posted by Matt Fuckin' Hickey | January 10, 2008 7:20 PM

Does anyone know what happened to him? i saw Behead the Prophet a few times at the Old Fire House and loved them.

Posted by dude | January 10, 2008 10:44 PM

Behead the Prophet played my basement in Tenn. many years ago and it was one of THE best shows I have ever been a part of. Michael was a gracious guest, as were all the people in BTPNLSL and I'm saddened at his passing.

Posted by flash gordon | January 11, 2008 12:49 AM

Wow, just realizing it's been at least 3 years since I last talked to Michael. Best bandmate I ever had ... totally bummed out today.

Posted by horatiosanzserif | January 11, 2008 8:59 AM

I saw BTPNLSL a handful of times at the old velvet elvis (pictured, R.I.P) They were awesome. Michael was this crazy violinist and though I never met him he was one of the things that inspired me to plug in my fiddle and freak the fuck out on it. Thats all you can really ask for isn't it, to have inspired people in life? R.I.P. Michael.

Posted by SDW | January 13, 2008 11:35 AM

I had the honor of collaborating with Michael, performing with Noggin a few times in Bellingham and Seattle. What fiery creativity. What a generous heart. He will be sorely missed.

Posted by Heather June | January 14, 2008 10:38 AM

we're gathering thoughts at


Posted by wordisafourletter | January 14, 2008 12:59 PM

I loved Michael. I probably met him 15 years and he was always the nicest guy in the world. I'm sad that it's been since the last time I had a chance to talk to him.

I'd totally forgotten about BTPNLSL's 100th show. That was a fantastic show. I remember there were quite a few bands, but I can only specifically remember BTPNLSL, Submission Hold, Blood Brothers, and Sharks Kill. Who else played?

I was also at the first BTPNLSL show. I think that was the show where Joshua ran into the audience, tangling everybody up in a ball of yarn.

They were a great band.

Posted by jay | January 17, 2008 10:09 PM

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