Griffin House is a songwriter's songwriter. Unlike so many commercialized pop acts of today, the Ohio native crafts a story rather than just a catchy chorus. House has a deep appreciation for those that serve and have served in our nation's Armed Forces. He talked with me about what inspires his songs and his life.
How did your song, "I Remember (It's Happening Again)" for the veterans come to be?
The song started with a simple line "My grandpa fought in WWII , my uncle fought in 'Nam." And then I decided to talk about how my grandpa used to tell us stories when we were kids, one of which was a tall tale about him being the one who ended the War by assassinating Hitler, shooting his mustache off and keeping it in his back pocket. He was very funny & a great story teller, they didn't have to be true to be good. The song then took on a life of its own and evolved into a commentary of America, war, politics and religion, but the commentary is taking place via my grandfathers voice in the song, so for most of the song it's him talking, not me. In the intro and at the end, I'm talking about my friend in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Since the song is biographical, is your friend home safe and sound?
My friend is home and is married with 2 kids and they live in DC, I often stay with them when I am passing through playing shows.
What has been the reaction from the military community to your song?
I had a man who works for the UN tell me in Jersey a few days ago how much the song resonated with him. I think some people have misunderstood the message and assumed it was a protest song. But most of the veterans I talk to understand it for what it was intended to be, both a memorial honoring the men and women who have served the United States and also a commentary asking questions about our foreign policy and the messages our government, media, churches send us.
What is the coolest part about being a touring musician? The worst?
The coolest part about my job is getting to do something I love for a living. The toughest part is being away from my family and the driving.
You named your new album, "Balls." What inspired that?
"Balls" was my nickname for a long time. Calling my album Balls was a way for me to say that I am not taking myself too seriously. I try to keep a sense of humor in my life, it seems important especially when trials come, as they surely do and always will, so it felt appropriate to have a sense of humor, maybe even something mildly profane so close to something I regard as quite sacred.
Are there any albums you're listening to right now or books you're a fan of it presently?