Matthew Griswold was born in Austin. His music has been featured in TV shows, commercials and films. He is the founder of Operation Battle Song, where he uses music therapy to help fellow veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Griswold has composed four CDs and plays monthly at the Canadian Honker restaurant in Rochester.
1. Music background
Matthew tried to start a music career in the Twin Cities. “The only place I could really play when I was 19 was an ice cream shop and a sandwich shop, so the whole music thing wasn’t really working out,” he said.
2. In the Army now
“It just jumped in my mind one day that I wanted to join the Army. But I joined the Army like you would order a pizza: I called the Army and said, ‘I’d like to join the Army, and the only thing I want on my Army pizza is to be able to travel to Europe.’”
3. Back home again
“When I was fresh out of the Army, the job market wasn’t great, and I had PTSD, so I wasn’t all that marketable. I started my music career out of necessity, like the guys from the 1930s Depression. I needed to play to eat.”
4. I don’t know but I’ve been told…
“The Army uses music in the old utilitarian way — to keep the body calm and to keep everyone synchronized in rhythm through cadence. Music has such a deep heritage in the military because it is used to cope with the effects of war.”
5. Operation Battle Song
“In 2011, I had the chance to share my story with music therapists and music therapy organizations. Now, quite a few music therapists have been using music exposure therapy for veterans because music can stimulate emotions — it can even stimulate a person’s heartbeat and can be used to calm a person down. I talk to veterans on this issue and give them inspiration and encouragement.”
“If music isn’t making you feel an extreme emotion, then it’s really not doing its job.”
7. What you need
“I’ve never been starstruck by artists. Music has never been a thing where I am chasing fame — it is more of a necessity in my life.”
8. On performing
“I think of myself more like a chef that caters to the venue. I will play a song differently at an Irish pub compared to a coffee shop or a formal restaurant.”
9. Money for nothing
“There is a lot of entitlement when it comes to music. It is so widely thought that music should just be out there and the people making it and creating it don’t deserve any credit.”
10. Where to find Matthew
Matthew will be playing at the Canadian Honker on May 20 and June 10.