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Eulogy: Dale Griffin - Mott the Hoople

Celebrities have been passing away at seeming epidemic proportions lately - like a meteor shower of Falling Stars. Lemmy, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Brad Bradford, Glen Frey, etc... too many in too short a period of time! But one that really hit me hard like a punch to the gut was Dale Griffin (aka Buffin), drummer and co-founder of British band, Mott the Hoople. Apparently, Buffin lost a long battle with Alzheimer's.

Mott - always a personal favorite as I was growing up - were part of the Seventies Glam Rock crowd (their hit "All The Young Dudes" was written and produced by David Bowie!), but they were more a precursor to the Punk scene, setting the anti-establishment stage for The Ramones, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, etc. Their addictive musicianship and irreverent lyrics (many times laced with Cockney slang) are still classics. I still to this day follow frontman Ian Hunter's career, and have done so from the moment he split from the band itself. Mott's guitarist Mick Ralphs (aka Ralpher) went on to become one of the founding members of Bad Company. Mott's albums are still in my light-rotation stack - I listen to at least something of theirs once or twice a week.

In fact, the song "Ballad of Mott the Hoople"is playing over and over in my mind as I type.

Buffin has always had an almost childlike joy of life and enthusiasm - more than just a drummer, he truly was the heartbeat of the band.

Although I haven't spoken to him in a number of years, The Crowgrrl did know Buffin and his other Mott bandmates from Back In The Day. The first time I met them was at DAR Constitution Hall in DC at a show where Queen was supposed to open for them, but Brian May was ill and Aerosmith opened for them instead. (I know, right? Who can even think of either Queen or Aerosmith as being Opening Acts?!)

One fun incident I remember was after Mott the Hoople broke up, and some of the members - including Buffin - briefly re-formed as The British Lions. They were playing a show at the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland. After the show, back at the hotel, everyone gathered in Buffin's room for an impromptu small party. One of the things we did at that gathering - and this was Buffin's idea - was to turn on an old movie on the tv (in this case, it was Erol Flynn in "Captain Blood"), turn the sound completely off, and everyone join in making up our own dialogue for what we were seeing on the screen. Totally hilarious and thoroughly fun!

Buffin will seriously be missed!

The Crowgrrl seriously hopes I don't have to do any other eulogies for a long time. We've lost too many lately! It's just unfathomable!

~Athena Schaffer