New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

An Interview With Griffin House

By Gary Wien

originally published: 04/20/2015

An Interview With Griffin HouseScott Stamper, the owner of The Saint in Asbury Park, has been high on you for a while.  How important is it to have club owners in your corner? Well, a lot of the time I’m not even aware of it to be honest.  It’s hard to know.  When you show up to an event, you sort of feel like they see bands and artists night after night and you wonder if they get bored or tired of it or if anyone really ever stands out.  So you telling me that makes me feel good, I didn’t know.  That’s cool.

I’ll always have a special relationship with Asbury because I was around 24 when my first record came out and I was new at everything.  I had just gotten a deal and a management company took me on and an agent took me on.  I was at my mom’s house in Ohio when my agent called me about three months into me doing this and said, “Hey, I’ve got Springsteen’s phone number here.  They want you to call him.” I was like “What?”

It was crazy, they had invited me to go open for Springsteen’s wife, Patti Scialfa.  I did a run of shows with her and the first show was in Asbury Park.  I came up there with my buddy Paul and we met the whole Springsteen crew and Patti.  Everybody was just so nice and cool, it was a surreal experience for somebody just starting out to have that kind of thing happen so quickly.  We played a show at The Paramount Theatre and Bruce was there for a few nights of the tour.

It was just such a fun experience and I think of that every time I come there and drive by The Paramount Theatre.  I have such great memories.  For people in New Jersey it’s probably not that big of a deal but for someone from Ohio you feel like you’re walking into a 1985 music video or something!

According to your publicist, “Griffin House is a pretty happy man.  He’s got a trifecta of life — music, golf, and family.”  Have you found a nice balance between writing, recording, touring, and everyday life? Yeah, I’ve started to do that.  I’ve been married a little over five years now.  Before that, I think I was trying to search for fulfillment just through my music and having success doing that.  There was a lot of pressure because it felt like everything hinged on one single and depending on how that was going, it was as if all of my chips were in one basket.  It’s been nice to have a more well-rounded motivations.  Music’s not even close to my number one anymore.  It’s way down there after family and taking care of myself and having a well-rounded life with my wife and kids and all that stuff.

The article continues after this ad


Where is golf on the list? (Laughs) It’s down there probably even further than music! But it’s something I enjoy so much, I get a lot of relief just going out and hitting the ball around.  I don’t take it too seriously.  I have a lot of fun doing it though.   I used to be really serious about golf in high school.  I had a scholarship offer to Ohio State and thought maybe I would play in college and try to continue on and go as far as I could.  But one thing led to another and I decided not to take the scholarship and went to Miami University (in Ohio) and got into music there.

Starting in college is later than most people, did learning guitar come naturally to you? No, it didn’t.  It was hard.  I tried playing guitar and took a lesson or two, but couldn’t get the hang of it.  I got very frustrated and put it down for a while.  I did some theatre in high school and sang with some friends who could play guitar.  When I went away to college, I brought my guitar with me and saw so many kids playing that I started to think I needed to give it another try.  So I spent a lot of time practicing and playing chords.  It was tough to get over that initial hangup of getting your hands to do these awkward things and then change them fast and do another chord.  But I kept practicing and practicing.  I think it probably was harder for me as an 18 year old trying to learn it for the first time rather than if I had trained myself early on, but I eventually picked it up.

I lived in an arts dorm where everybody was playing music or painting or creating some kind of art.  It was a good environment to be around.  There were a lot of music majors in there and I learned some great guitar stuff from them.  We’d just sit around and jam and that’s how I learned how to play; just having them teach me songs that I liked and it took off from there.  I started writing my own songs pretty quickly after that.

Do you think it’s easier or harder to build a following in the internet and social media age? It’s kind of a mystery.  Artists don’t live in the day and age when you could just plug into a record label and have them float you down the mainstream and make sure everything goes smoothly for you.  There’s so many people doing it that it can feel like you’re just lost in a sea of music.  But, at the same time, I wake up every day and go, “I can’t believe that I’m going there and playing a show and 200 people are buying tickets.”  That amazes me giving the fact that there’s so many people doing this and they’re coming to see me.  When I first started out I might have thought I was going to be U2 or Bruce Springsteen.  I’m not like them, but I think it’s still a miracle that I can go play for a few hundred people here and there.

I imagine you got this a lot early in your career, but do you still have people think Griffin House is the name of a band? Yeah, that happens all the time.  I have to let them know it’s my real name.  House is my last name and Griffin is my first name — it’s my mother’s Maiden name.   It can be a little weird and frustrating…

Griffin was such an unusual name when I was growing up and now there are hotels called The Griffin House, recovery centers called The Griffin House, even some place in Massachusetts called The Griffin House, a home for aged men or something like that.  When your last name is House, there are going to be a lot of jokes.

Tell me about playing the prison, which led to your latest release, Songs For a Prisoner. It was cool.  It was not something I wanted to do, but I did it because I was invited by my friend/former roommate Jordan Lawhead, who heads up an organization called YouInspire.  I figured whatever experience this was going to be would definitely not be like Johnny Cash Live from Folsom Prison.  I thought the guys were going to either tear me apart or be bored that I’m there.  I didn’t know whatever type of music they liked, but I doubted it was acoustic music from a white guy with a guitar!

So, I went in there and played and they were great.  They were hooting and hollering and clapping along.  When they heard a line they like they started screaming.  All of a sudden I’m thinking this kind of does feel like Live at Folsom Prison.  It was really fun.  Luckily, he recorded the whole thing and we were able to release some of it.  I think you can feel some of the energy in the room on a few of the recordings.  It’s nice to have that capture.  It was a good surprise for me.

Songs For A Prisoner was the latest release by Griffin House but he’s currently running a PledgeMusic campaign to raise funds to put another CD out.    At press time, the campaign was at around 40% of its goal with roughly 50 days left.  Griffin House has several personalized items for those who donate ranging from a custom voicemail greeting to private shows to your name listed in the liner notes of the CD.


Upcoming shows in the area:

4/28 at City Winery, New York City

4/29 at World Cafe Live, Philadelphia

5/6 at The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ

For more by this author, click here

South Jersey Pops To Present Holiday Shows On Sunday & Monday
(CHERRY HILL, NJ) -- The South Jersey Pops, the area’s own non-profit orchestra, will take a world view of this magical season as it presents “Celebrate: A Global Holiday” on Sunday, December 16 in Medford. The second of its four performances during its 49th season, the program will feature holiday carols from around the globe including France, Germany, and Spain, local music to warm the hearts of Philadelphians, along with Hanukkah songs and popular and timeless holiday classics.
Experiment 34 To Hold CD Release At Asbury Lanes
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Experiment 34 will celebrate the release of their debut full-length album, "What Dying Feels Like," on Saturday, February 16 at Asbury Lanes. E34 are a hard, heavy, aggressive mix of punk, funk, rap, metal and psychedelic rock with an inventive chemistry and explosive bond to which audiences of all kinds react well. Tickets for the CD release show are $15 at the door and $12 in advanced. Admission will include a free copy of the CD. 
Daniil Trifonov performs Schumann's Piano Concerto in NJSO debut
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Daniil Trifonov, Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto in his NJSO debut, January 25–27, in the final program of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Winter Festival, “Music Speaks.” Music Director Xian Zhang conducts the program, which also features Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra and the NJSO premiere of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. Performances take place on January 25 at 8:00pm at NJPAC in Newark, January 26 at 8:00pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick and January 27 at 3:00pm at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.
Audible and NJPAC Present "Jazz in the Key of Ellison"
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Audible have announced the first three national performance dates of “Jazz in the Key of Ellison,” celebrating the musical world of the esteemed African-American novelist, critic and scholar Ralph Ellison and his remarkable collection of jazz recordings.
Centenary Stage Presents Michael Davis and the New Wonders
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Centenary Stage Company’s annual January Thaw Music Festival returns to the Lackland Performing Arts Center featuring three musical guest artists throughout the month of January. The series launches on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 8:00pm in the Lackland Performing Arts Center with Michael Davis and the New Wonders.

Melissa Etheridge LIVE! at the State Theatre
The lobby of the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, is buzzing with activity this Friday, November 30, 2018 evening as rock music fans ready themselves for a special Holiday Show by singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge!
Join The Greater South Jersey Chorus For "A Winter's Night" (Or Afternoon)
The holidays bring many special things and, for me, one of the best is the music. It sets a mood, invokes memories, soothes the soul and provides a seasonal soundtrack for my life.
An Interview with Chip Davis Of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
You can experience the magic of the holidays — Steamroller-style — when Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis makes a tour stop this Thursday, December 6, 2018, at New Brunswick, NJ’s historic State Theatre.
Max Weinberg’s Jukebox LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Something is different about tonight’s November 18, 2018 concert at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts starring Max Weinberg, celebrated drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band!
PHOTOS: Matt O'Ree Band at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Matt O'Ree Band returned to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Friday, November 16 and photographer Estelle Massry of Coucou Photography was on hand to take some photos.  David Bryan from Bon Jovi was one of the special guests that night.

Event calendar
Sunday, Dec 16, 2018


CHRIS GULLACE BAND - A BENEFIT FOR ST. JUDE @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 2:00pm

SOLAR CIRCUS / DOOBIE DECIBEL SYSTEM @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

ELEVEN ELEVEN @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 2:00pm

SUNDAY JAZZ @ Hard Rock Cafe at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00am

Joy to the World: A Christmas Suite @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 4:00pm


Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm

A Christmas Story @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 2:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm

Seussical @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 2:00pm

Peter pan @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 1:00pm and 5:00pm

A CHRISTMAS CAROL @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 3:00pm

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm

A Wonderful Life @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

A Charlie Brown Christmas @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm

Hudson Theatre Works presents "And My True Love Gave To Me" @ Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken - 5:00pm


Cocktail Hour: The Show Featuring the B-Twist Orchestra @ White Eagle Hall, Jersey City - 6:00pm

NEW JERSEY BALLET’S NUTCRACKER WITH NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:00pm and 6:00pm

The Nutcracker: The Russian National Ballet @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Carol of the King: The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 3:00pm

Bolshoi Ballet: Don Quixote @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 3:00pm


Shopkins LIVE! Shop It Up! @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 11:00am

View all events


For more on our awards, click here

New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.