Show cover of Then This Happened: Musical Stories

Then This Happened: Musical Stories

True stories are told and musical improvisers cut in and out with songs moving the story along. Each episode is about 15 to 25 minutes long. The show is put together by comedian and musician Matt Griffo. It’s recorded in his tiny studio in Chicago.


The Radium Girls
The Radium Girls were female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous paint. The painting was done by women at three different factories, and the term now applies to the women working at the facilities: one in Orange, New Jersey, beginning around 1917; one in Ottawa, Illinois, beginning in the early 1920s; and a third facility in Waterbury, Connecticut, also in the 1920s.After being told that the paint was harmless, the women in each facility ingested deadly amounts of radium after being instructed to "point" their brushes on their lips in order to give them a fine tip; some also painted their fingernails, face and teeth with the glowing substance. The women were instructed to point their brushes in this way because using rags or a water rinse caused them to use more time and material, as the paint was made from powdered radium, gum arabic and water.Five of the women in New Jersey challenged their employer in a case over the right of individual workers who contract occupational diseases to sue their employers under New Jersey's occupational injuries law, which at the time had a two-year statute of limitations, but settled out of court in 1928. Five women in Illinois who were employees of the Radium Dial Company (which was unaffiliated with the United States Radium Corporation) sued their employer under Illinois law, winning damages in 1938.STORYTELLERLindsey ShawSwing Band Matt Griffo (Piano) Mason Jiller (Electric Guitar) Graham Nelson (Harmonica) Ethan Adelsman (Violin)Mike Amandes (DrumsTom Irwin  (Bass)VOCALISTSMatt GriffoDrake Shrader Emily RamirezDerek DemkowitzCat Amato AUDIO GEARSOFTWARELUNA Recording SystemApollo x8pApollo X4Apollo Octo Satellite MICROPHONESAEA KU5A - Griffo & Storyteller TOWNSEND LABS SPHERE L22 - Group VocalsEARTHWORKS SR25 - VIOLININSTRUMENTS E. Guitar - Direct in Using Buxom Betty UAD Guitar Amp EmulationPiano - Coming in MIDI using the Ravel piano sound in LUNA Recording Software from Universal AudioBass - Amp Emulation SVTPro from UAD Upright Bass - Griffo playing MIDI using a sampleSupport the show
18:49 07/12/2022
Bret Hart & The Montreal Screw Job - WWF Wrestling incident
The Montreal Screwjob was an infamous unscripted professional wrestling incident that occurred on November 9, 1997, at the Survivor Series pay-per-view at the Molson Centre. Vince McMahon and his employees covertly manipulated the outcome of the match between Bret Hart, the reigning WWF Champion, and Shawn Michaels. Storyteller Chris HanleyBAND:Charlie Malave (vocal, guitar, electronic drums, synth)Matt Griffo (piano, vocal)Lily Emerson (vocal)Helena Handbasket (Background vocals)Gordon Walters (Bass)Support the show
19:56 05/17/2022
Music vs Brazil's Military Dictatorship - Bossa Nova Style
Most Brazilians believe their national identity is closely tied to the country’s music, as it unites those of all social backgrounds and creates a place of refuge from real life. However, as the dictatorship gained more control and became increasingly strict during the mid-1960s, innovation and creativity in art greatly diminished.One key figure in uprooting this paradigm was Caetano Veloso. He aligned with the hippie movement and joined Gil to create a new form of music known as Tropicalia, which artists used to express provocative ideas and politically daring lyrics in a form of peaceful protest. It combined traditional Brazilian culture with various foreign countries’s artistic characteristics. Certain sections of the public found their voice for freedom in the music, while others reacted angrily to the political content expressed in the art of Tropicalia. This is the story of Caetano Veloso's journey with his friend Gilberto Gil.Samba/Bossa Nova Band(Chambered Electric/Acoustic Guitar) Mercedes Sara Landazuri(Ukulele Bass) Adam Haus(Percussion) Leo Peña 18" bass drum14" snareHi hatRide & standPandeiro, tamborim, shakers14" Floortom VOCALISTSMatt GriffoDrake ShraderKathleen GibsonKerri Morrison STORYTELLERMercedes LandazuriSupport the show
26:09 04/05/2022
The Case of Aileen Wuornos - American Serial Killer
Aileen Wuornos is an American serial killer who murdered at least seven people in 1989–90. Her case drew national attention to issues such as the relationship between gender and violence and the legal treatment of acts of self-defense by women.Storyteller Sharron PalmBAND:Charlie Malave (vocal, guitar, electronic drums, synth)Matt Griffo (piano, vocal)Lily Emerson (vocal)Support the show (
23:08 12/02/2021
The Brunost Cheese Fire - A Norwegian Food Disaster
About 27 tonnes of caramelised brown goat cheese - a delicacy known as Brunost - caught light as it was being driven through the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, northern Norway in 2013.The fire raged for five days. Told by Asgeir Døhl Dybvig from Oslo, Norway.BAND:Charlie Malave (vocal, guitar, electronic drums, synth)Matt Griffo (piano, vocal)Lily Emerson (vocal)Gordon Walters (bass)Support the show
18:34 11/19/2021
Mercy the Coyote gets in trouble in Chicago
A coyote bit a little boy, Chicagoans wanted the coyote dead, but Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in suburban Barrington, IL stepped in to show everyone Mercy.Listen to the unedited podcast and help support the episodes at --> 
11:06 08/27/2021
Super Massive Black Holes and LIGO
Cosmic science. Black holes and how we know about them thanks to multiple scientists and LIGO (The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory).  Listen to the unedited podcast and help support the episodes at --> 
27:19 01/02/2021
The Story of Streeterville - A Chicago Legend
This is a Story about Cap Streeter, a drifter who schemed his way into creating what is now one of the most expensive parts of Chicago.Steph Charaska (Storyteller)BAND:Drake Shrader (vocals) Holly Souchack (vocals)Mary Hynes (vocals)Lexi Alioto (vocals) Arne Parrott (guitar) Matt Griffo (vocal/piano/bass)Dan Krackhardt (cajon)Support the show
26:45 03/12/2020
The Waitangi Day Protest Dildo
The woman who threw a dildo at Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce on New Zealand's national day.Listen to the unedited podcast and help support the episodes at --> 
23:02 02/05/2020
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal
In 2019, a scandal arose over a criminal conspiracy to influence undergraduate admissions decisions at several top American universities. The investigation into the conspiracy was nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues.Listen to the unedited podcast and help support the episodes at --> 
20:58 01/29/2020
Jane Fonda The Activist
Jane Fonda has had a life full of activism and has now begun “Fire Drill Fridays.” The protests, which Fonda refers to as "Fire Drill Friday," are to show support for a Green New Deal and bring awareness to the ways in which climate change affects other parts of human life, such as women's rights, access to drinking water and global militarism.It's amazing to me how many other people she is having come with her to join the cause. It's truly inspiring. This episode is all about how Jane started and at the end about where she is now. The story is told by comedian "Steph Charaska". Listen to the unedited podcast and help support the episodes at --> 
12:41 01/08/2020
The Vantablack Feud - Anish Kapoor vs. Stuart Semple & The Chicago Bean
An art feud over color between Stuart Semple and Anish Kapoor. They have been feuding since 2016 when Kapoor received exclusive rights to the Vantablack pigment, said to be the blackest shade of black ever created.In retaliation, Semple created the "pinkest pink" paint pigment and banned Kapoor from purchasing it, shortly followed by his Faze colour-changing paint. Now the British artist has done the same thing with Black 3.0.Listen to the unedited podcast and help support the episodes at -->
22:57 12/26/2019
Paul McCartney Goes to a Tokyo Jail for a bag of cannabis
In this episode comedian Ron Ervin tells the story of Paul McCartney getting arrested in Tokyo in 1980. Listen to the unedited podcast at and help support the episodes at -->
17:14 12/10/2019
Cleveland Balloonfest ’86
Balloonfest '86 was a 1986 event in which the United Way of Cleveland in Ohio set a world record by releasing almost one-and-a-half million balloons. The event was intended to be a harmless fundraising publicity stunt, but the balloons drifted back over the city, Lake Erie, and landed in the surrounding area, and caused problems for traffic and a nearby airport. The event also interfered with a United States Coast Guard search for two boaters who were later found drowned. In consequence, the organizers and the city faced lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages, and cost overruns put the event at a net loss.Listen to the unedited podcast at and help support the episodes at -->
20:15 12/05/2019