Who is Butch Walker?

Butch Walker

Who is Butch Walker?  If you haven't heard his name yet, you will.  With his new CD Letters just recently released, and his producing talents heard all over the radio, not to mention his amazing live show that's probably recently come to a town near you, his name is sure to start sounding familiar.  Splash Magazine spoke with Butch about everything from his feelings on LA to Emo to Elvis Costello, and of course his new record.

Fresh off from his tour with American Hi-Fi, which ended at the famous Roxy in Hollywood, he only had nice things to say about his tour-mates.  According to Walker, American Hi-Fi are "great, great guys".  The unique tour featured an opening set by Hi-Fi, who then switched over to be Butch Walker's backup band.  They proceeded to jam for two full hours and somehow managed to have the most fun onstage that I've even seen.  It seems the concept was American Hi-Fi's Stacy Jones' idea, who suggested to Walker that they be his back-up band.  Then after quite a bit of drinking, a tour was born.  Walker has quite a fan base around the US, and even has fans flying in from Japan to catch his live show.  He says it's a little "freaky" but "beautiful" as well, and he wouldn't be doing this without his fans.  Look for another Hi-Fi/ Walker team up possibly as soon as October.  Then it's off to Japan in November for them.

Live at the Roxy

Butch Walker might sound familiar to you because he fronted a band called The Marvelous 3 in the late nineties, and they scored a top 5 hit with "Freak of the Weak".  But after their follow-up record met with mediocre success, Walker decided to break up the band and eventually record some solo music.  Walker's new record Letters scores a hit here at Splash.  With catchy lyrics and melodies, it comes off slightly more mellow than his live show, but no less enjoyable.  There are a lot of Los Angeles/ Southern California references on it, and Walker says this was due to living in Los Angeles at a very influential time for him.  Moving from a small town in Georgia to LA in his teens was quite a culture shock, and he experienced a mental growth spurt during the time and part of this record was him reflecting on those times, and coming to terms with this "love/hate relationship" he has with LA.  Walker says this record isn't "organic or stripped down, just more honest", and he feels that this record differs from his pervious ones in that he feels it is more timeless, and he has no regrets about it.  Previously, he had a tendency to think too hard on most things to attempt to get a reaction from people, but he approached this record differently, and merely wrote for himself.

As for his writing process, Butch has never been the type to set aside a time to sit down and write.  Instead, things come randomly and sporadically like waking up with a melody or lyric stuck in his head, or being out and leaving himself a voice message full of song ideas.  His biggest influence musically is Elvis Costello, and he proclaims that with a tattoo on his arm.  Elvis Costello's music spoke to him lyrically at a time when he needed it, getting him through a bad break up and teaching him about songwriting.  He says he has numerous unfinished songs just lying about.  And in fact, one of those unfinished songs he wrote on piano about three years ago turned into a decent pop song finished with the help of Avril Lavigne.  You might have heard "My Happy Ending" on the radio recently.  Well, not only was this song produced by Walker, but co-written as well.

So where does Walker's sound fit in today's ever-growing list of music genres?  He says he's definitely not Emo, which has become the go-to phrase for new bands trying too hard to be different.  Just because you have witty or clever lyrics doesn't make you Emo, according to Walker.  He joked that you can call him No-Mo, or Don't-Mo.  And don't call him a rocker either; he'd prefer to be classified as a singer/ songwriter who loves performing.

Currently, Butch Walker's name might be most familiar to you from his producing credits.  He's produced for many top artists including Avril Lavigne, Simple Plan, Midtown, Sevendust, American Hi-Fi, and The Donnas.  He got into the producing gig because he didn't want to settle for being just an artist.  Many of his heroes were both artists and producers who received plenty of acclaim for tackling both sides of the studio.  He says he's all about being the "big daddy".  He's not offended that he's becoming better known as a producer than an artist, although it is quite bizarre to him.  One thing about producing that interests him is working with all age groups of artists.  He feels like a kid most of the time, until he gets together with someone much younger than him, and then he acts like a dad.  He enjoys working with people that just want to have fun with everything as opposed to being pretentious and serious all the time.  As for specific comments on artists he's worked with, he says working with The Donnas got him in touch with his feminine side: they have the same taste in music and clothes; and Avril Lavigne was a very sweet girl and fun to be around.  Some people have been attacking Walker's credibility working with Lavigne, but he's not worried about that, and says she's fun to be around, and he'd work with her again if given the opportunity. 

So again, who is Butch Walker?  Well, he's an artist, a performer, a writer, a producer, and an all-around neat guy.  He's a name that you'll want to remember, because you'll be seeing a lot of him in the future, either on the radio, on stage, or behind the controls of one of today's biggest artists.  And pick up a copy of his new CD Letters while you're at it.  You won't be disappointed.









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