Big Mike Griffin grew up in southern Oklahoma, where he was introduced to music at an early age. According to Mike, "My dad played the blues for my family, so there was always a guitar or fiddle laying around the house. It seems like I've been playing as long as I've been alive." For his sixth grade graduation gift he received a transistor radio. He would listen to The Wolfman on a radio station out of Texas at night. He soon became very interested in learning how to sing and play blues music. He began listening to blues artists like T-Bone Walker, Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield. His blues education was further enhanced by late night highway trips to Texas in a '54 Chevy that had to be push started. He would catch blues legends Freddie King, Albert King, and Albert Collins.
When the economy in Oklahoma faltered, Griffin set out for Nashville, where he began playing wherever he could find. Along the way, he found some musicians who shared his same interests, and soon they formed a group Big Mike Griffin and The Unknown Blues Band. As their popularity grew, the band found themselves in front of larger audiences, performing at such prestigious affairs as the King Biscuit Blues Festival and the W. C. Handy Festival. They also began to expand their touring schedule to include the East and West Coast.
The band found themselves in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1982, signing with Waldoxy Records. Their debut album "Back On The Streets Again" served to further advance the band on the road to building a reputation as an original blues ensemble. Their next release, in 1993, "Gimme What I Got Comin'" brought the band further acclaim as a solid force on the blues scene. The album grabbed the attention of blues fans, critics and DJ's, snagging a high-ranking spot on Living Blues Magazine's national radio chart. "Fifth of Whiskey, Case of the Blues", a song from the album, was nominated as Song Of The Year for the 1994 W. C. Awards. Major touring dates on the U. S. coasts and Canada, as well as Europe, served as a catalyst to broaden the fan base for the band. Griffin also played on the month-long "Malaco Europe '93" musical extravaganza, where he shared the stage with legends like: Little Milton, Denise LaSalle, and Latimore. He then worked with Artie "Blues Boy" White, laying down tracks for his "Different Shades of Blue" release, as well as providing explosive guitar work on James Peterson's "Don't Let The Devil Ride" album.
- Press Photos
- Click on a Photo to Download