My Days On The Periphery Of The Music Business: Meeting With Butch Walker Ends In Bitter Divorce!

At the continual urging of friends (some of whom actually witnessed these events) to "write a book, dammit!", I am happy to report that I have just put the finishing touches on "Rocker's Guide To Eating On $20 A Week While Blowing It In The Music Biz".  Today's sample chapter details my very first foray into "collaborating with an established artist".

The music biz folks I'm still fortunate enough to call friends will be the first to tell you that one of the hugest regrets I have is not listening to them all of the times they urged me to concentrate on being a songwriter instead of an artist.  In hindsight, the fact that I hate long bus rides, doing interviews, and performing live should have been a sign, but, admittedly, I was blinded by the titillating caress of stardom.

Of course, getting there meant dealing with A&R guys who were, without exception, some of the most skittish people you could ever dread meeting.  It's amazing anybody gets signed.  Still, crazier things have happened, I suppose.  Such as the time an A&R guy whose last name rhymes with Cock Smell was convinced that I was the next Henry Lee Cougarcamp and tried teaming me up with Butch Walker to either write together or, I dunno, form the world's first reverse super group?

A couple days later, a voicemail from Cock Smell informs me that Butch is gonna be in town for a gig and to coordinate the rental of a local studio for the day with his assistant so that Butch and I can, you know, rock out.

"Rehearsal studio or recording studio?" I ask.

"Whichever."

Recording studio it is.

When his assistant calls, I suggest the priciest studio I can think of and request the best engineer on-staff (now a big-time record producer).  The next day, the owner of said studio calls me, saying, "Dude, you and Butch Walker?  You never fail to amaze me, bro. FedEx just handed me a check large enough for me to bump Koko Taylor and, baby, nobody bumps Koko Taylor.  You owe me, ha ha.  See you tomorrow!"

Since his people have been kind enough to put me on the guest list, I decide to check out Butch' show the night before.  After watching Butch sweat for two hours, we are introduced.  As we shake hands like two mighty warriors joining forces to fend off the forces of evil, Butch says to me he says, "Your songs are good. Real good."

Okay, this next part is my exact mental process:

Butch Walker just said my songs are good.  Then he added "real good".  Is that weird though?  Why did he add that part?  Did he even listen to the CD?  Fuck, you always do this.  Why can't you just choose to believe that he has until proven otherwise and that he really does like your songs and thinks enough of you to try to glom off of your untapped coolness.  Just fucking accept the fucking compliment.

"I know," I respond.

Holy fuck, what did you just say?  Quick, add a "thanks" and maybe he won't notice.

It's too late, though...Butch literally spits his drink back into the red Solo cup in his left hand, then busts out laughing and says, "Dude, I wish I had your confidence."

"Thanks."

Oh, NOW you say thanks.  And did he just say he wish he had YOUR confidence?  Hilarious.

We shoot the shit for a couple more minutes, but then I beg off since I know he's gonna do so any second, as the line of tattooed rocker chicks waiting to meet him is now in the double digits.  We shake hands again and as we part, he says "Take it easy.  Big day tomorrow!"

Long story short, Butch was a no-show the next day, but the room was paid for so I cut a bunch of demos with my favorite engineer (now a big-time record-producer).  I also met the gorgeous studio manager who would become my future ex-wife, something I was very thankful to Butch for right up until she took half my stuff.

It's a cliche, but all these years, I've wondered...was it something I said?

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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