28 Days of Bevis Griffin, Day 15: Poetry in Motion
Written by Luke Jacobs
To know Bevis M. Griffin is to be in motion.
A perennial achiever, at any given moment you will find his righteous rock and roll chariot glittering headlong down the highway of equity, justice, and radical love. Bevis is a self-described “Maverick.” Sure. Lighting up the stage while ushering in the 70s as a black glam rock artist carries with it a certain maverick necessity. But Bevis is also a motivator; a magnetic, natural leader. And his motivation and encouragement of those around him are not lost on trivial matters. It is surefooted, rooted, and points toward higher ground.
Consequently, there is an undeniably purposeful and kinetic energy to every phone call, email, or text message that Bevis delivers. I mention this because, interestingly, Bevis and I have never shared the same physical space. It is one of the many oddities that our current pandemic has brought with it. We were introduced last summer by a mutual acquaintance and subsequently formed a great working relationship which in turn led to a friendship. Sometimes the stars align, and I, for one, am grateful for this unexpected, out of the blue, pandemic friendship.
Along with countless others, I, too, moved to Austin a decade ago with a guitar in my hand chasing the muse of music as it led me south to the so-called “Live Music Capital of the World.” In that respect, Bevis and I are similar – albeit decades apart in our Austin arrival times. But frankly, the similarities of our initial Austin experience end there. The Austin of 2010 was nothing like Austin in the 1970s. In my ten-plus years of living as an Austinite, I have listened to many who speak of “Old Austin” with reverence and nostalgia citing the names and venues of yesteryear. I always enjoy these personal histories, and I have often daydreamed about what it would have been like to (fill in the blank). However, I have found that most of these stories center around the efforts and accomplishments of white men. And although there are many talented white musicians who have contributed to the moniker “Live Music Capital of the World,” my relationship with Bevis has illuminated the wide chasm left largely unamplified in the city’s narrative. Indeed, the experience of black musicians living in Austin has been significantly marginalized, to say the least.
Fortunately for Austin, we have Bevis M. Griffin.
Shifting from barrier-breaking-black-glam-rock-phenom, Bevis is committed to a reorientation of the rock and roll narrative not only here in Austin but within our society at large. He is refocusing the lens placing emphasis exactly where it should be: the black music experience. He has lived it. He continues to live it. From the stage to the street, from Los Angeles to Austin to New York City, Bevis possesses a vast trove of historical knowledge with personal stories that both challenge the system and uplift the spirit. In all of my dialogue with Bevis, I have learned that when we pull the conversation back to its bones and reveal the truth of the past, it fosters a connection to the present which results in mutual respect and dignity. It is not easy work, but it is necessary and it certainly is righteous.
To know Bevis M. Griffin is to be in motion. Are you ready to ride?
Luke Jacobs is the CEO/Founder of Perfecto Creative, an Artist, and Recording Engineer