Independent Rock Artist Joe Griffin Releases 'Rough Cut Love', Fuses Stream of Consciousness Word Play, Infectious Pop Hooks

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After a tour that included stops in Wisconsin, Michigan and New York City, Joe Griffin returns to hometown Chicago Thursday for a CD release party for "Rough Cut Love," an album that has been praised for its “infectious pop hooks, impeccable classic rock sensibilities, and … dash of alt-rock spiciness.” Joe Griffin and his band, The Souls of the Faithful Departed, will perform at Hotti Biscotti, 3545 W. Fullerton, at 10:30 p.m., headlining an evening that also features Lance Romance from New York City and Chicago singer/songwriter Jeanne T. Arrigo.

After a tour that included stops in Wisconsin, Michigan and New York City, Joe Griffin returns to hometown Chicago Thursday for a CD release party for "Rough Cut Love," an album that has been praised for its “infectious pop hooks, impeccable classic rock sensibilities, and … dash of alt-rock spiciness.”

Joe Griffin and his band, The Souls of the Faithful Departed, will perform at Hotti Biscotti, 3545 W. Fullerton, at 10:30 p.m., headlining an evening that also features Lance Romance from New York City and Chicago singer/songwriter Jeanne T. Arrigo.

"Rough Cut Love" officially released on September 3, 2006, “marks the impressive emergence of Joe Griffin as a creative force to be reckoned with, and one that should easily win the hearts and ears of all who take the time to listen,” according to Vince Font of Schizopolis Internet Radio Show.

Everyone in the songs on Joe Griffin’s “Rough Cut Love” is at the end of a rope. Everyone, that is, except Griffin, who has hit his stride with this CD and combines a rich mix of musical mastery, a keen feel for life in the 21st, and a quirky sense of the bizarre to produce 40 minutes of melodic and lyrical surprises that paradoxically feel comfortably familiar.

This is clearly a lyricist who’s read a book or two. The songs are evocative and mood-driven rather than literal and plot-bound, closer to Finnegan’s Wake than Charles Dickens.

It’s as if the best of the last 40 years of rock and roll seeped into Griffin’s brain, got all marbled with post modern angst, took a few turns through “don’t go there” land, and came out fresh, taut and dead on target. Griffin’s eclectic nature shines through each tune as the CD packs in nods to Aeschylus, Beckett, Shelley, Elliot, Melville, Shakespeare, Vonnegut, Badfinger and Bugs Bunny.

“A departure from his previous work with the experimental garage band Donny Who Loved Bowling, the songwriting here is more mature, the musicianship experienced, and the lyrical craftsmanship poetic,” Font says.

John Lennon’s stream of consciousness wordplay is a clear lyrical inspiration while the strong musical influences include late-60s/early-70s rock such as David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust era and White Album-era Beatles. You also hear elements of Radiohead’s “OK Computer” and Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”

Griffin doesn’t shrink from these connections, he embraces them: in “Cold Hands Warm Heart” he tells us that every artist, in one way or another, draws from a big pile of past masters: “I borrowed this; we all steal from someone.”

“Like many songs,” Griffin said, “some of these started with things I was going through, but then they quickly spun away to being about characters that were ultimately more interesting.”

After the Chicago show, Griffin will tour both as a solo act and with The Souls, heading to Charleston, Ill., and East Lansing, Mich, among other stops. The band consists of Joe Griffin, guitar and vocals; Peter Griffin, drums; John Toljanic, bass and vocals; and Mike Przygoda, guitar.

“Rough Cut Love” was produced by Joe Griffin and co-produced by his drummer, guitarist, and brother Pete Griffin, and bassist John Toljanic. Matt Kern, Brian Posdal and Ron Barnes, drummers from former bands, appear on select tracks. Brother Tim contributes harmonica. Ralph Covert of Chicago’s Bad Examples co-produced the song “You Again.”

Griffin released a full-length CD, ‘tree fort’ with the garage-experimental band Donny Who Loved Bowling in 2003 and released two full-length albums with The Others during the 1990s. He has appeared on CDs by Chicago artists Braintree, The Radio Hour, Tamara Pierce and Question of Honour. Joe's music has been heard on the Creot Radio Podcast (creotradio.net), and on the streaming Internet radio show, Progopolis.

CDs are available now from:

Toxic Bag Records' online store: http://toxicbag.com/aisle9.htm
CD Baby: http://cdbaby.com/cd/joegriffin

Joe websites:

http://toxicbag.com/evil/joe_g.htm
http://myspace.com/joegriffinband

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