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Tragedy Inspires Butch Walker's New Music

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, March 6, 2009

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Butch Walker has enjoyed plenty of good musical situations in recent years, both on his own and producing hits for Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, Pink and others.

But his latest creation comes from a more sober situation.

Before making “Sycamore Meadows,” the former Marvelous 3 leader’s fourth solo album, Walker lost all his possessions — including master recording tapes — in the 2007 California wildfires that burned down the house he was renting from Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea. But Walker quickly found the silver lining to the situation; the tragedy shook him out of a writer’s block he had fallen into, and, he says, taught him that “it’s quality of life, not quantity of life, that’s important, even if that sounds like a cliché.”

“It wasn’t pretty, but I can honestly say I’m glad I went through it,” Walker, 39, notes. “For a long time, I didn’t buy any clothes or anything. I had a guitar and my laptop — it’s kind of like saying, ‘Oh, I just need my dog and my guitar ...’ but that’s pretty much what I felt like.

“I was taking it back to the beginning, and it worked out really well. I’m happy where I’m at.”

Hardest of all, Walker acknowledges, was losing all the recordings that were stored at the house. But he takes a sanguine view of that as well.

“Honestly, man, it’s just stuff you’re probably never gonna pull up and listen to ever again,” says Walker, who recently produced upcoming music for Dashboard Confessional, Saosin and All Time Low, as well as some tracks on Detroit rockers The Von Bondies’ latest album.

“To me, it was just a sign it was time to make more music. I had to look at it from that perspective. I didn’t want to be the guy who feels sorry for himself.”

Butch Walker and His Gang of Merry Musical Melodymakers and The Films perform Friday (March 6) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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