The Griffin is a dimly lit restaurant and bar in East LA, with an ambiance somewhere between a dungeon and a lodge. The specials are a little greasy, the beers are cold, and every Monday the best rock and rollers of Los Angeles come to play. And if it’s not their week to stand in the corner and jam, there’s still a good chance they’ll be partying in the crowd. I’ve been lucky enough to get to awkwardly hover around the booths and tables of The Griffin to see the likes of Fuzz, Thee Oh Sees, Birth Defects, CCR Headcleaner, Wand, La Luz, King Tuff, Endless Bummer – all free, all casual, all deafening.
The only way you can ever find out who’s playing at the Griffin on Monday nights is through Instagram. If you follow both of the men behind the Mondays – Jason Finazzo (@the_griffin_kitchen) and Ty Segall (@notbadforamondayshnobo) – you can usually see a post announcing who’s playing just a few hours before the show starts. And yesterday afternoon these two respective accounts announced themselves: The Birth Defects (Jason, who also manages The Griffin) with “Ty Segal and the Rolin Ston.”
Fans of Ty know he’s got a thing for side projects or one-off shows and his Monday night gig is the perfect playground for these experiments. But who or what to expect with a backing band going by “The Rolin Ston” was anyone’s guess. Lucky for me, it turned out to be Wand.
Ty and Wand, the ultimate rock and roll show, tearing through new material (you know that means a new album is not far behind), the rippers off of Manipulator and a couple throwbacks (OMG FINGER!)
Aside from a hilariously disastrous “Satisfaction” improv and Cory Hanson slamming the opening chords of “Start Me Up” between several songs, there was nothing Stones about it. There was a Rolin component, however – Henry Rollins, front and center, stoked as hell the entire night.
A video posted by KC (@fu_kev) on Jul 28, 2015 at 2:24am PDT
I had a sweet spot right next to Rollins himself to watch Cory and Ty peel the paint off the walls with their howling guitars. They played perfectly together, harmonizing, shredding, cracking each other up. They blew my mind and brought me back to life. At the end of the night, a sweaty Ty picked himself up of the ground to bring it all home with the closer,
“Hello Monday, goodbye bread
Bedtime Sunday, wash my head”
I was a few beers in and singing at the top of my lungs with everyone else. God, I had loved this album, this song. I hadn’t heard it in so long and it felt familiar and sweet from this new perspective. I pictured myself the way I was when I first heard it, back home in Missouri, laying on the floor of 421 S. Main next to my stereo. It was a muggy summer night and all the windows were open. The memory was far away but remembered how I felt that night, looking through the CD insert. I put a picture of one of those dogs on my wall. That was a long time ago.
“Cause who plays the game, we all play
Won’t you play me today”
I looked around at the packed out little bar, realizing that with all this talent and even the world tours, that this circle was small and tightly knit. The owners of both Permanent and Burger Records, Charlie Mootheart, Mikal Cronin, Kyle Thomas, Jennifer Calvin, Kevin Morby – they were all smiling, beers in hand, having a damn good Monday night.
“And who sings the songs, when we’re gone?
Won’t you sing along.”