Songs and albums

February 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

I haven’t released a new collection of original songs in quite some time. That’s due to a number of factors, but mostly because I’ve been working on a ton of other projects. Movies, plays, sound design projects for this and that. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t writing. There’s one song in particular that I’ve been wrestling with for over four years now. I knew the chorus was strong but never liked the verses. Usually I’d just shelve a problem child like that, but something made me keep pulling it out of the drawer every few months. But I never could crack it. Until tonight. It’s 3:15 am and I just finished a rough demo of it. It was so strange; after almost half a decade, three verses just tumbled out in twenty minutes. And I think I like them this time. We’ll see – I have to give it the “don’t listen for a week and come back to it” test. But I’m pretty confident…I think!

That said, I’m currently recording an acoustic EP, and plan to do a full-band EP some time in late spring or early summer. And hopefully this site will be more active. If you’re still watching after all this time, well…keep watching!


Epiphone Casino, one of the newer tools in the toolbox around here.




Deathscribe 2016

November 16, 2016 § Leave a comment

Hello all,


It’s been a long time since I posted a news update, and much has happened. But for now I’ll just post this show announcement. On December 5, 2016, I’ll be appearing onstage as part of Deathscribe 2016, Wildclaw Theatre’s annual festival of radio horror plays, as co-music director and lead guitarist.

This will be my fourth time working with Wildclaw, having played in the Deathscribe Orchestra in 2014 and 2015, and in the recent “Best of Deathscribe” in Miami this past October.

I’m also proud that my brother, Tim Griffin, has a script in this year’s show!

Monday, December 5, 2016 @ 8pm
Lincoln Hall
2424 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614


The Ninth Annual International Festival of Radio Horror Plays will take place on Monday, December 5th, at 8:00pm. This collection of bone-chilling audio nightmares will be performed live at Deathscribe’s NEW VENUE, Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago. A new ticket structure will also be in place for this year’s Deathscribe with admission at $35 for lower level seating, $30 for upper level seating and $25 for standing room only so be sure to purchase your ticket EARLY to reserve a seat!

Swap-o-Rama this Sunday with Danelle Wildermuth

February 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hello everyone,

This Sunday, February 24, I’ll be playing a couple of sets at Swap-o-Rama-Rama. I’ll be joined by my good friend Danelle Wildermuth on vocals. We’ll be playing from 10-noon. If you’re feeling crafty, please swing on by!

Joe and Danelle promo

Tiny Magnets and Tiny Amps

December 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

This past week I played a set with The Smoking Section at Grace St. Tap. Our friends Tiny Magnets opened. Tiny Magnetoid Brian Cremins was playing his shiny Tele through a great-sounding little Fender Champ, and I had my trusty Silvertone 1484. As soon as we started the Smoking Section set my amp started humming like it’d forgot all the words, and even though it turned out to be a pedalboard issue, Brian immediately stepped right up and handed me his amp. I’d never played a show with such a small amp before, and I gotta say it was pretty darn cool! I wound up swapping between the two amps for clean and dirty sounds through the set (again, it was a pedal problem) and both amps gave me just what I wanted. I am not about to start hauling multiple amps to gigs –more likely I’m gonna try to fix my darn pedalboard– but it was loads of fun! Thanks Brian!


The Smoking Section

September 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

This past weekend I played a show with a “new” group, The Smoking Section. The band consists of John Toljanic and Mark Felcansmith from Figurehead and my brother Tim on vocals and harmonica. We played the Tom Waits Tribute night at Gallery Cabaret.

Here’s one of the songs from the show; we’re joined here by local artist Becky Poole on musical saw.

Stay tuned for future Smoking Section news!

DIY guitar picks

July 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve been doing a fair bit of customizing lately: modifying and painting my guitars, cutting pickguards, building pedalboards…never thought of making my own picks…until now. Thinkgeek has introduced a tool to hand-punch your own picks!

Hey, I’ve got a birthday coming up…

Joe uses Fender Mediums exclusively. He doesn’t have an endorsement deal; he just buys ’em by the gross.

Art Fair on the Square

July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

I just got back from Madison, where John T. and I played on the Wisconsin Public Radio stage for Art Fair On The Square. It was a long day of driving from Chicago and back, but it was well worth it to be able to play music for so many wonderful people! Thanks to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art for organizing the event and inviting us to come and perform. Hope to see you there next year!