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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I must admit that I am long overdue in checking out Cinder Road. The band has been growing in popularity, and opening for likes of Daughtry and Tesla, hasn’t hurt their cause one bit.
I recently caught Cinder Road live. My wife and I enjoyed their show, so I had to check out their new CD, Superhuman.
Much like Stonerider, whose album I reviewed on Monday, Cinder Road is a 2nd debut by this 5 piece band from Lutherville, Maryland. The band already has a couple of albums to their credit under the moniker, Plunge. I haven’t heard any of those songs, but thank god they changed that awful name!
Cinder Road has a sound that is probably closer to Butch Walker’s Marvelous 3, than anything remotely hard rock. Their songs have a hard edge, which make the songs easily palatable for main stream music and hard rock fans alike.
I prefer the harder cuts on Superhuman. My favorite songs on this record are, I’m So Sorry, Should’ve Known Better, and Get In Get Out.
Superhuman is a solid effort by Cinder Road, and one that should garner some mainstream success for the band. The music is a little lighter than those usually reviewed at HRH, but Superhuman is certainly a disc worth exploring!
You can check out more of their songs, at the band’s myspace page here.
Rating:Out of 10
1. I’m So Sorry
2. Bad Excuse
3. Back Home To You
4. Should’ve Known Better
5. Get In Get Out
6. Learning To Love
7. Feels So Good
10. Drift Away
11. Don’t Be Scared
Cinder Road is:
Mike Ruocco – vocals
Chris Shucosky – guitar
Pat Patrick – guitar
Nat Doegen – bass
Mac Calvaresi – drums