Full Throttle Rock: Butch Walker
Article By: Sara Liberte
Originally Published In The June 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Recently, Chris called me up and re-arranged my routine, like he usually does, with the line: “Hey man, we are putting Butch Walker’s bike on the cover this month. Do you want to run a story on him for Full Throttle Rock to go along with this issue?” How the hell was I supposed to say no to that? Chris sent out an intro email, and it was on. I’d like to first point out how amazingly down to earth and genuine this guy is. I mean, I have been chasing down a few musicians or “talent” for this column and they act like they are the biggest rock stars in the world and are so unavailable. Like really, you don’t have 40 minutes for a phone call? Butch Walker ac- R tually has the creds and the dude really is too busy for a 40 minute phone call, but he made it happen on his drive into the studio for work. For me, that speaks volumes about a person. And speaking of volumes, that’s pretty much where I would be if I were to try and fill you in on everything this guy has accomplished over his musical career, which is still going strong and maybe even gaining more momentum at age 42. Music has been Butch’s thing since his high school days back in Georgia. He was playing gigs 6 nights a week and still going to school during the day; that was his life. It wasn’t long after high school that he moved to LA and was playing in clubs all over again. Some Article By: Sara Liberte were larger than others and some were even festival type crowds. We spoke about his most current projects with his band, the Black Widows, and a cool video they put out for their song Synthesizers. The video features Matthew McConaughey bringing back to life his character, David Wooderson, from the 1993 movie, Dazed and Confused. The video is killer, and if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out now. During our phone call, which would sometimes get cut out from Butch’s drive on the PCH, we talked about the numerous amounts of recording work he does in his studio which also houses 4 motorcycles. He told me, “As long as the musicians or record label people don’t mind smelling gasoline in my studio, it works out great, because the bikes aren’t going.”
Butch started riding dirt bikes when he was a little kid, because for him, motorcycles and rock-n-roll went hand in hand. Butch explained, “Look at Evil Knievel… I, like many kids, worshipped that guy. He dressed like Elvis so he basically was a rock star. Then I also had these great posters from the ‘70s of Kiss in complete makeup and all with their own choppers. All this was around me while I was watching Happy Days and my favorite parts of that program were when they showed The Fonz roll in on his Triumph or when the guys got their band to play at Arnold’s. Motorcycles and rock-n-roll were always related for me, so I knew I’d be on a street bike at some point in my life.” Motorcycles are so much a part of his rock-n-roll life that they even played a roll in his bonding with Alecia Moore, better known as Pink. Butch said, “We live up the street from each other and we bonded over wine, motorcycles and music. Me, her and her husband Carey Hart (freestyle Motocross racer), will all take our bikes up the PCH and get out of town for a night; it’s great, we all love to ride.” Not only has Butch worked with artists such as Pink but many more like: Avril Lavigne, Sevendust, Injected, The Donnas, Hot Hot Heat, American Hi-Fi, Default, Gob, Midtown, Puffy AmiYumi, Pete Yorn, Fall Out Boy, Quietdrive, The All-American Rejects, SR-71, Weezer and Dashboard Confessional. Most of his work became hits for these bands and artists. I asked Butch what he is most proud of over his years in writing, producing, recording and playing. He mentioned he is proud of everything he has his hands on, especially if it’s something he’s done for some other artist that turns out to be a huge hit and makes it on the radio. Butch said, “I’m very proud of those moments.”
We also talked about playing live which he said will always be part of who he is. He told me, “I need the audience. I wasn’t real popular in high school. I kinda did my own thing and didn’t have many friends, so when I play live, the entire audience becomes my friends. I even stay and drink with them at the bar after a show; I need them and they keep me wanting to do this all.” I decided to end our conversation with a question we take out on the road with us via Rally TV. I asked Butch if he ever gets a song stuck in his head while he rides. He answered, “Hell yeah I do! Actually, that’s where I come up with some of my best stuff. I specifically don’t ride with music, no iPod, because my brain is so stimulated, my mind just comes up with melodies and music ideas and I just keep playing them over and over in my head. The tricky part is remembering to record them real quick when I get off my bike so I don’t lose them.” Butch will be touring this year with the Black Widows and some of the stops will feature a documentary, Out of Focus, which is crafted just as genuinely as any project Butch takes on. I highly recommend catching a show. I have not had the opportunity to see him live, but I know people who have, and was told his shows are crazy, insane good.