Butch Walker’s latest release, Drinking With Strangers, opens with the catchy…wait, this isn’t a record… it’s a book. Sorry, I get into a pattern here. Co-Authored with Matt Diehl, this funny tale of Walker’s love/hate relationship with the music industry is pretty much summed up nicely by Walker when he describes his 20 plus career in the biz as “failing upwards.” He chronicles his love of rock and roll staring with KISS at age 8, then graduating to Van Halen, and living the metal life from his high school days in a small Georgia town, then moving to the Sunset Strip where his band, SouthGang, gets signed, but burns out. Walker doesn’t see that as a bad thing though, and for good reason. He shows how he has changed with the times, a chameleon of sorts, and always ends up being five years too early or fifteen years too late and how he always escapes being the next big has-been. Obviously Butch has a lot of talent and love of music is how he has made it in the business this long.
The book is basically the long version of the song “Going Back / Going Home” from his 2008 album Sycamore Meadows (probably my favorite Butch album) which goes as follows:
Cut to a life
Being born in ’69
Low class suburb,
My mom and my dad,
Drinks being drunk
And fights being had.
I lost my virginity to a girl in my band
She was four years older, she made me a man.
So addicted to sex
Every chance that I got.
With whoever I wanted
Until I got caught.
So I took my penicillin and I took my band
To a town made of glitter girls and cocaine friends.
Got handed the job by the age of eighteen.
Saw more than most people that I know had ever seen.
Played every bar, drank till black and blue.
Did the morning show bullshit
And went to China too.
Where they left us to die, without a ticket to flee.
Inciting the riot, we were only 23.
Packed it up, started over just as fast as we can.
Selling tapes making merch in the back of a van
Living hand-to-mouth for the next five years.
Took up drinking wine, gave up drinking beer.
Signed another big deal with a devil in a dress.
A ‘one hit wonder’ I think, describes it best.
Decided to burn out, then to fade away.
Went back to the van the very next day.
Picked it up, made a living without any help.
Made amazing friends, if I saw so myself.
If living like this at thirty-eight is a bore,
Then c’mon God, please give me thirty-eight more.
Of course the book also focuses more on the production side of things and how he has worked with some of today’s biggest stars (Pink, Avril, etc.) in production/writing while maintaining his ultra-cool persona and being true to himself. Basically it is a book for Walker’s fans, (of which I am a big one) but accessible to anyone that has tried to “make it” in the music business, and for the casual reader as well. At a little over 200 pages it is a quick, easy, enjoyable read, not unlike some of Walker’s best songs!
About the author: To change this standard text, you have to enter some information about your self in the Dashboard -> Users -> Your Profile box.