Live Preview: Butch Walker

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The Grammy-nominated producer and singer-songwriter talks about new album Afraid Of Ghosts, inspired by the death of his father.

You once described SouthGang, with whom you cut your teeth, as “a seventies band with a nineties appeal”.

[Laughs] Did I really? What I meant was that we were influenced by a lot of seventies rock’n’roll – Aerosmith and Cheap Trick – as well as the bands from the hair-metal thing that SouthGang were a part of.

SouthGang worked with Desmond Child on their debut album, Tainted Angel. How did that rub off on you when you became a producer?

I learned more from Desmond about writing than producing. Although we’re talking about something from twenty-five years ago, and it’s not really relevant to what I am doing now, he definitely taught me the tools of the trade.** **

Have we heard the last of Marvelous 3, the band that bridged those formative years and the present?

I appreciate the fact that people liked that band, but asking that is like saying: ‘I really liked your high-school girlfriend. Why don’t you ditch your wife and three kids and get back with her?’

Classic Rock described Afraid Of Ghosts as “reflective, almost easy-listening but with a subtly insidious edge”.

That’s a good description. I wanted people to listen to the lyrics. It’s not for the headbangers that still want me to be playing a guitar with a whammy bar.

Has Chrissie Hynde heard your new song named after her?

Absolutely. She said she loved it.

What can you tell us about these shows in terms of song breakdown and energy level?

I’ll play a lot of the set by myself, which suits the aesthetic of my new record. I’ll also be playing some of my dad’s favourite songs.

Classic Rock 212: News & Regulars