I’ve been a long time fan of song writer, producer, guitarist, and singer Butch Walker and have had this book on my “To Read” list for quite a while. I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint. For those who don’t know him, Butch was the lead singer/songwriter for the 90’s one-hit-wonder band Marvelous 3. You may have heard their great single “Freak of the Week” back in the day or the 2 excellent albums they put out (Hey Album and ReadySexGo). What you may not know is that Butch is responsible for many of the top charting singles of the last decade as both a songwriter and producer working with such varied artists as Avril Lavigne, Pink, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, Dashboard Confessional, Midtown, and the list goes on and on.
In addition to his work for others Butch is an accomplished solo artist as well, putting out 6 albums with a 7th on the way in February. While his for-hire work tends toward glossy pop rock, his solo work is more layered, more intimate, and more varied.
Being a fan of Butch’s anyway, I loved reading about his misadventures in the music industry. The book discusses his childhood and teen years living in Rome, GA playing in various bands before rising to pseudo-fame in the late 80’s with the hair metal band South Gang, only to watch the Sunset Strip glam scene implode and regrouping 10 years later when Marvelous 3 hit big. His adventures producing and writing for others is a entertaining read. Walker’s frank honesty keeps the tight 260 page book moving quickly and the behind the scenes anecdotes are a lot of fun.
What I didn’t expect was how inspiring his story is. Learning about his struggles in the industry, both personally and professionally, went a long way toward getting me back on the keyboard and signing up for CBR7 after basically taking a year off.
For fans of musician biographies – or just music fans in general – I highly recommend Drinking with Strangers. It’s a quick read, its highly entertaining, and its pretty insightful to the state of the big label system now vs. a few years ago. If you are already a fan of Butch Walker you’ll flat out love it.
If you just want a quick taste of his solo work, check out the songs “Trash Day”, “Here Comes The…”, and “Synthesizers”. Also available on Amazon Prime is Out of Focus, a documentary about Butch centered around recording of the amazing The Spade album. Also check out www.butchwalker.com.