JamBase Questionnaire: John Butler

Welcome to the fourth installment of JamBase's weekly feature where we put a baker's dozen of probing, wide-ranging questions to the bright lights in the jam scene (and beyond) in order to expose juicy tidbits about their musical minds. Last week we heard from STS9's David Murphy and upcoming weeks will include insights from Trampled By Turtles, Cornmeal, U-Melt, The Sadies and more!

John Butler
Decidedly socially and environmentally conscious, the John Butler Trio also rocks pretty bloody hard. There's a snarling intensity to Butler's impassioned vocals and finger destroying guitar work that's pretty un-hippy despite a reputation for being one of the kingpins of the patchouli mafia. Butler has always been more complex than that soundbite, something abundantly clear on his latest offering, April Uprising (released April 6 on ATO - JamBase review), where his punk, pop and lover man sides get an earthy airing. Oh, he's still a reliable source of 21st century common man anthems, but Butler is reveling in his complications these days and enjoying a welcome surge from his new rhythm partners Nicky Bomba (drums) and Byron Luiters (bass).

Folks will have ample opportunity to see the new configuration in action as the Trio begins summer dates with perfectly empathetic tour partner State Radio on May 20 in San Diego, opens for Melissa Etheridge at S.F.'s Candlestick Park (5/22), and makes stops at Bonnaroo (6/13), Central Park's SummerStage (6/15) and the Gurtenfestival in Switzerland (7/16-7/17). This is a band that spills it all out on the stage – and has since its inception – armed with fresh, interesting material and a renewed sense of purpose, all of which makes this a fine time to explore what Butler and his mates are laying down. (Dennis Cook)

Here's what Butler had to say to our inquiries.

1. Great music rarely happens without...
Instruments and soul.

2. The first album I bought was...
Somewhere In Time by Iron Maiden. "The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner" is a great song. Or at least that's how I remember it.

3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was...
Missy Elliot's Under Construction.

4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be...
A fricking Green Beret!!! Can you believe that? Then a pro skater, then an art teacher, and finally realized music is what was for me.

5. My favorite sort of gig is...
One where the crowd gives as much as the band. It's pretty essential to a good gig.

6. One thing I wish people knew about me is...
Don't know. I think if I answer this it will just sound gay. It's one of those kind of questions.

7. I love the sound of...
Kookaburras (an Australian bird), my kids laughing, Hendrix's Marshall and Timbaland's beats.

8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as...
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.

9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at...
Just last week in France.

10. I always find the coolest audiences in...
The summer, everywhere on the planet.

11. The worst habit I've picked up being on the road all the time is...
Belching.

12. The Beatles or the Stones? Por qué?
Mmmmm. I like 'em both, but I guess The Beatles. Yep, THE BEATLES!!!

13. The craziest thing I ever saw was...
This was when I was 16, watching a group of drunk guys at a festival push a car through the festival boundaries. Then, a whole crowd, with me in it, started ramming the gates. The crowd behind us pushed so hard that they started pushing people underneath us; kinda like a wave. Then we became the bottom of the wave. It was crazy, scary, dangerous shit. Then all hell broke loose and all the punters raided the venue's semi-trailers full of alcohol. It was anarchy and chaos. I'm glad I made it through that festival.

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[Published on: 5/1/10]

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