If Nathan Griffith were to incorporate a theme song into his personal life it might be something like Dion DiMucci’s “The Wanderer,” since he’s lived in places like West Virginia, Ohio, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Eugene, Ann Arbor, Philadelphia, Pullman, Moscow, Idaho, Seattle and finally here in Ellensburg.
“I think I liked Philadelphia the best, but if I wound have stayed there, I might have died. They were pretty crazy times,” he said. “Eugene was a great place to live, laid back and mellow.”
His interests are as wide-ranged as his travels, but since moving to Ellensburg in 2015 he become the music librarian for the Ellensburg Community Radio and has a three of radio shows a week on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday under his on-air persona “natty G.”
“I also run the Tiny Stage concert series, which has been shut down because of the pandemic,” said Griffith, who has been a has been a painter, photographer, academic and musician. “The Tiny Stage is a great idea and we’ll get right back to it as soon regulations allow gatherings.
“It’s live music, so it’s a lot of fun for us.”
He’s also the station’s engineer, helping with console maintenance. He has been active in community radio since the ‘70s with his first show on KAXR in Flagstaff, so he knows a little something about a lot of things.
“Through my years, I’ve been on radio since I went to my first college. I’ve moved around the country six or seven times. I was always at a station, including now,” said Griffith, who has a PhD in art history and taught for a few years before he got that wandering feeling, leaving the field for the photography business.
“I was around when FM radio first started. The first couple of stations I first worked at were all sort of manual back in the day, so I’ve seen a lot of the evolution of radio.”
Having lived in different areas of the country, he’s drawn from different influences on the way. He likes anything from the Doors, the Rolling Stones, to the Grateful Dead. But Johnny Cash was an influence growing up and now he’s reached into different elements of electric music and the likes of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Brian Eno.
“My father turned me onto a lot of stuff, including country. He taught me about Big Band and Jazz stuff, so that was the start of my musical education,” he said. “I like a lot of different kinds of music. I have 450,000 songs on my iTunes and I put 31,000 of them on the radio station computer. So, the radio station here has the same access as many, many commercial stations.”
“I’ve seen the Dead, who knows how many times? And that’s still the music I like to listen to, but I like different kinds of music and different performers. Johnny Cash, but it goes literally everywhere. With my electronic music I like Brian Eno and the electronics that started to get really big in the ‘70s and ‘80s.”
Griffith has a free form show from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays. He’s on again Thursday evenings and again on Sunday at 9:45 p.m. with his electronic, new instrumental, and ambient music.
His musical journey and creativity carries over to his photography where he finds his creative outlet in making images as well as music.
“I used to be a musician and stopped in the ‘80s. But recently started back up again,” Griffith said. “I like synthesizers and all that stuff. I’m also a professional photographer, I’ve been doing that for 20 years now. I send pictures into my Getty stock company and you wait for someone to want it and license it.”