Most of you may not be familiar with Butch Walker, and that’s a shame. Yet, it is also understandable. He’s never had a huge radio hit that would push him into the category of one hit wonder. He’s never had an album that was over commercialized and everyone knew. He’s never had negative press that would help push his name into houses of every music fan. Butch Walker is just a regular guy working to pay bills and support his family. The only difference is that his work is music.
These days, Butch Walker may be more known for the bands he has produced (Fall Out Boy, Pink) than for his own music, but make no mistake, Walker is still a musician first. The documentary that I recently watched, Butch Walker: Out Of Focus, discusses that and so much more as it provides a private interior view of a hard rock musician balancing family life, reaching middle age, and still pushing forward his artistic creativity.
Out Of Focus is not just a typical documentary on a rock musician. This poignant look inside one man’s life also has deep insight into father’s relationships with sons, balancing artistic creativity with family needs, and understanding how truly supportive a partner needs to be in order for a marriage to a rock musician to work. Some of the best moments captured on the screen were interviews with Butch Walker’s wife, who admitted that she would never want to compete with his art. She understands that their relationship is not going to have the “normal” family life of come home from work, have dinner, and tuck the kids into bed. She understands it and she accepts it.
Other touching moments in the documentary centered on Butch Walker’s relationship with his son as well as his relationship with his own father and how the two travel down similar paths. The mythos of the name “Butch Walker” is revealed in a very heartfelt moment, and it is easy to see how Walker’s father was always his number one supporter. Walker hopes to be just as supportive to his son as his father was to him. Scenes with Butch and son are well filmed and realistic, as at one point we get to witness Butch’s son complain about having to take a bath. The realism in this documentary is what really makes it special.
Walker started out in a late 80s metal band Southgang before forming The Marvelous 3 and then moving on to a magnificent, albeit not well known, solo career. I first discovered Butch Walker when The Marvelous 3 released Ready, Sex, Go as “Sugarbuzz” was receiving a lot of airplay on my local radio station. After hearing the song a couple of times, I knew that I had to have that album. When I purchased it, I was not disappointed and it provided me a new band to fall in love with. From that point on I continued to follow Walker’s career, not just as a musician, but as a producer as well.
If you have never listened to a Butch Walker record, I highly recommend that you start with his solo album Left Of Self Centered. After that, I would recommend Ready, Sex, Go by The Marvelous 3. Both are amazing records that you can easily get hooked on. After that, there are several albums to check out, including a double live disc. As for learning more about Butch Walker, check out the documentary Butch Walker: Out Of Focus. It is a fantastic documentary that not only captures the life of Butch Walker, but gives an insider look at a working musician and the struggles they lead as they try to make money on their art.
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In 1992, Southgang released their sophomore effort, Group Therapy. This disc was released towards the end of late 80’s and early 90’s glam metal scene. The introduction of grunge killed any chance of Southgang maintaining any level of success.
It is a real shame too, as Group Therapy is a definite step up from the band’s debut CD, Tainted Angel. The songs on this record have a harder edge, and less of that pop metal sound found on the first album.
These Georgia boys went out in style, as Group Therapy is one great, hard rocking affair. Butch Walker added a bluesier style of guitar to the songs on this record, giving the band a better, more relevant hard rock sound.
The production value on Group Therapy is quite high. This disc was produced by Howard Bensen, who also produced Pretty Boy Floyd’s Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz, and Bang Tango’s Psycho Cafe, and years later Chris Daughtry’s multi-platinum debut.
There truly isn’t a bad song on this record. It rocks from
beginning to end! Some of my favorite cuts on this disc are Water Under the Bridge, Tug of War, and Culture Clash City.
Sadly, this is the band’s last record, and a I am guessing that a reunion is highly unlikely.
Mitch McLee, Jayce Fincher and Butch Walker went on to form the Marvelous 3 after the break up of Southgang, but are no longer together.
Group Therapy has been out of print for years. Used copies turn up from time to time at Amazon.com and Ebay, and well worth picking up. If you don’t own any records by Southgang, this is the one worth searching for.
Rating:Out of 10
1. White Trash With Cash
2. Water Under the Bridge
3. Tug of War
4. Fire in Your Body
5. Final Resting Place
6. Legend of C.C. Road
7. Culture Clash City
10. My Best Friend’s Girl
11. Ode to Peggy’s
12. Blue Bird Has Landed [The Uncut Trail Mix]
Jesse Harte – Vocals
Mitch McLee – Drums
Jayce Fincher – Bass
Butch Walker – Guitars