Bevis M. Griffin
Austin, TX - Musician, Vocalist, Composer, Percussionist, Arranger
Bevis Melvin Griffin was born on April 26, 1953 in Los Angeles, California.
His music loving father, Melvin was a self-employed barber and his mother, Navaline was a grocery store manager. “Melvin’s Barber Shop” shared the same block as the renowned R&B nightclub “The Five-Four Ballroom” (located on the corner of 54 th St. & Broadway Blvd.) where many of greatest black entertainers, such as B.B. King, Ike Turner, and Bobby Bland often played.
Since many of these performers were also ‘friends’ of his father, this gave the young Bevis a unique opportunity to personally experience the music of America’s most popular R&B and Blues musicians at a very early age.
Following the “Urban-Blight” caused by the infamous ‘Watts Riots’ of 65’ his parents would later divorce and Bevis moved to Wichita Falls, Texas with his Mother and three younger siblings. Prior to relocating, Bevis was formally trained in classical woodwind instruments and he actively participated in the L.A. Junior Symphony Orchestra program, which cultivated his musical pallet.
Bevis taught himself to play the drums and sing while attending the ‘barely-integrated’ Wichita Falls High School. He would successfully graduate in 1970 due to attending summer school classes as an “academically accelerated” student. This was also where he initially met and befriended his first pivotal collaborator and seminal band-mate, the multi-talented Jimmy Lee Saurage.
Upon graduation, Bevis immediately began his professional career in earnest by relentlessly touring the upper Midwest as an itinerant show-drummer until eventually rejoining Saurage and bassist Barry Minnick in Austin, Texas to form the hard rocking’ power-trio “Franklin’s Mast” in the winter of 1971. This would also earmark Griffin’s eventual rise to cultural prominence as Texas’ first African American Hard-Rock/Glam-Rock/Punk-Rock performer.