"We need more Bowies, more Princes, more Eazy-Es." Fever 333's Jason Aalon Butler talks dream collabs, the legacy of Letlive. and the stunt that got him told off by Metallica's crew

Fever 333 frontman Jason Aalon Butler
(Image credit: Press)

There are few people who can match the energy of Jason Aalon Butler. He’s long mixed music with activism, making impassioned speeches from stages and sporadically climbing all over venues. As Fever 333 gear up for a new album, we decided to ask him your tough questions. 

And, as Hammer went to press, Jason’s former band Letlive announced a surprise farewell tour for 2025 – proving you can never predict what he’ll do next. 

Metal Hammer line break

Do you plan your stage stunts, or is it a moment of inspiration/madness? Sarahisapixie, Instagram 

“Definitely the latter. I’ve never planned them, because if I overthink them, the excitement of the feat will dissipate as the show goes on. It would also come off as contrived. It would look more like [circus] Barnum & Bailey than a punk rock show. That’s the opposite of what I want.” 

Hammer: Have you ever had a moment where you thought, ‘I’ve gone too far’? 

“Only twice. I stupidly put my hand through a window while playing in Lubbock, Texas. I duct-taped a piece of merch to my arm because there was an actual shard of glass through it, severing my median nerve and flexor tendon. Another time, at the Showbox theatre in Seattle, I planned to swing from a rafter across the barricade onto the stage. I made it right to the edge of the stage. If I hadn’t done, it would have been a shitty fall.” 

Do you ever regret not carrying on under the Letlive banner?
Bonnie Earle, email 

“With Letlive, it was a moment in time. I often feel like it was ahead of its time. The amount of people who talk to me about coming back and doing a show does not reflect the adoration or support we were getting back then. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, as they say. That being the case, it was important for Letlive. to be that moment in time, simply for the artists who were influenced by it. It was an emotional exercise.” 

As an activist for Black communities within rock music, who would you say has influenced Black culture within rock?
Collidewiththesky_x Instagram 

“As far as rock is concerned, there’s the obvious, like Fishbone and Bad Brains. We see these people as the faces, as they’ve been given screen time and magazine shoutouts. But I actually think that the marginalised young Black people in the hoods and small towns nobody thinks would listen to rock music have the biggest effect. They are taking punk and metal into places that it would never be otherwise. 

I grew up around a lot of cultural activity that didn’t lend itself to hardcore and metal. Because of that, I quadrupled down on how much I loved it and desired to be a part of that scene. You risk a lot being a Black person in these areas, dressing a certain way or having a certain song on your headphones. That in itself is a feat.” 

Hammer: Do you feel more of a responsibility for standing up for those individuals and promoting their efforts now? 

“Absolutely. I’ll say it this way. Billionaires owe it to the world to give back and to undo the fucking-up that they’ve done by becoming billionaires. To become that wealthy, you have to exhaust and exploit. I use that example because you must work similarly when you become a certain type of artist. 

I’ve made my career by discussing the perils I’ve been through from a unique intersection. My lived experience, a shared experience with so many Black folks and vulnerable communities worldwide. It would be fucked up for me not to pay that back to the community and make sure it benefits from me talking about it, so it doesn’t turn into exploitation.” 

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Who would be your dream collab for Fever 333?
Commisar_ryan, Instagram

“There’s a lot of new, younger rappers I’d love to get involved with. My duty as an artist is to unite worlds. I’d be up for doing something with G Perico, a West Coast rapper from my parts. Getting him on a track that’s authentic to him and Fever would be what it’s about. Vince Staples would be fun, too, because his intelligence when it comes to the culture is something the scene could benefit from. I can’t stand people doing something just to get the look. It needs to come from a want to create something new.”

Which musician made you think, ‘Yeah, I can do this!’?
Alice Setter, email 

“My dad [Aalon Butler] was in a position, and still is at age 70-plus, of being one of the most talented people I’ve ever met and seen perform in my life, no doubt. He was my example growing up, showing me how to be an artist and a man, for better or worse. Seeing him do it was influential and built an archetype for me.” 

Hammer: What was the biggest lesson he taught you? 

“To be super-real. Due to our relationship’s sometimes turbulent nature, I always wanted to be better. He was so good that it was always this silent competition. Some of it was vocal. It was all about making sure that I knew I could play Rock ’N’ Roll Gangster, one of his biggest songs. Making sure that I still had the funk, no matter how crazy and gnarly I got. That I could be James Brown if I wanted to be.” 

What was the view like from the Download tower last year?
Gareth Jones, Facebook 

“I grew up skateboarding, so it was just upping the stair count. It was an incredible view. What I wasn’t aware of was that Metallica provided those towers. One of their production dudes spoke with me afterwards. It wasn’t an effort to disrespect what they’d built; it was just a moment. It’s rock’n’roll, bro!” 

Bring Me The Horizon are the most important metal band of the 21st century – yes or no?
Em Collier, email 

“It’s much more nuanced than just yes or no. Saying that, that band has transformed both themselves and the scene socially and musically so many times. They’ve encouraged people to be better or look at themselves in a new light. Their ability to ride whatever wave they’ve created, I don’t think people understand how much of a skill and a talent that is. It’s not just because they have their finger on the pulse. It’s an observation of culture. Being able to navigate through that chaos, especially when you started as a deathcore band, is crazy. I don’t know any band that has evolved the way they have.” 

Has becoming a parent changed the way you approach political activism?
Ian Shaye, email 

“How I understand people’s purity has been verified. My grace towards people is much wider than before, because I understand that people make mistakes. One thing becoming a father has confirmed is that we can be better. There is a piece of us that’s magic, but that piece can be disrupted and taken over. Now, I look at people differently when they do things, whether I agree with them or not. There needs to be that element of understanding.” 

Who would star in a biopic of your life?
Anna Deb, email 

“Oh, it would be my homie, Brandon. He’s in a band called Ain’t Shit. People may not know him yet, but they will know him. His band is sick, but he also looks like the spitting image of young me. We shot a pilot for a series based on my and my friend’s lives, and he was the person we had playing me in it. So I’ve already found him!” 

Hammer: Living in LA, have you ever been tempted to work in film? 

“Any agent out there trying to get a mixed, eloquent, emotional older-than-young man involved, I’d do it. I’m fascinated by being able to play different characters but also portray certain stories through my filter. It’s an amazing medium, so I’d give it a try.” 

Does metal need more fashion sense?
Stephen Ward, email 

“Metal doesn’t need more fashion sense. Metal needs to remember what it means to have style. That differs from fashion. Style is something that you emanate. It’s an essence. It’s an outward expression of an inward idea. I used to work in fashion, and I understand the purpose. But what we need is more Bowies. More Princes. More Eazy-Es. That’s what I believe.” 

What would you rather fight – a dinosaur-sized chicken or 100 chicken-sized dinosaurs?
Brett Anderson, email 

“A dinosaur-sized chicken, for sure. I would fry that bitch. I don’t even have to think about it. Imagine 100 chickens and then throw dinosaurs into the mix. We don’t understand the power of dinosaurs. We weren’t there. It would be much easier to get the better of the chicken regarding their smarts. So, yeah, gotta be the huge chicken.”

Fever 333 are on tour from October 17. For the full list of dates, visit the band's official website

Jack Rogers

Jack has yet to hear a breakdown that he hasn't fallen head over heels for. First putting pen to paper for Louder in 2023, he loves nothing more than diving straight into the feels with every band he gets to speak to. On top of bylines in Prog, Rock Sound and Revolver, you’ll also often find him losing his voice at a Lincoln City match or searching for London’s best vegan kebab.