Spree Music with E. Lovria: Butch Walker and the Black Widows
One-hit wonders have a way of striking a nostalgic chord. And while the song may fade with time, the artist often continues to explore other avenues of the music business or joins other musicians to form a new band and create new music. I fondly remember bopping around to one such song in my college days, the late 90s pop-punk hit “Freak of the Week” by Marvelous 3. The band’s former frontman, Butch Walker, will be bringing his brand of pop-punk to the Tralf on Tuesday, October 18 with his latest music collaboration, Butch Walker and the Black Widows.
Butch Walker’s rock roots can be traced to Georgia in the 80s where his magnetic performances and memorable guitar hooks grabbed the attention of local audiences with his first bands Bad Boyz and Byte the Bullet. He moved to LA with Byte the Bullet, which changed its name to SouthGang when they were signed to Virgin Records. Throughout the 90s Walker’s persistence as a performer and growth as a musician eventually paid off. He gained national attention with the hit “Freak of the Week” in 1999 with his band, Marvelous 3. But the band wasn’t able to keep the momentum they gained with the single and they amicably called it quits in 2001. Walker moved on to string of solo albums and went on to become a highly sought producer, working on over 40 albums for well-known artists such as Pete Yorn, Weezer, Katy Perry, and Avril Lavigne. In 2005, he was named Rolling Stone’s Producer of the Year. His songwriting abilities have also paid off and many of his songs have been hits for bands such as Hot Hot Heat, Fall Out Boy, Default, and Gob.
This current stage of Butch Walker’s critically acclaimed music career began in 2009 with the release of “I Liked You Better When You Had No Heart,” which received favorable ratings. With his latest release, The Spade, Walker’s use of clever lyrics is highlighted by the band’s heart-pounding percussion and catchy guitar licks. He speaks to his older fans with the album’s first single “Summer of ’89” as he sings, “Nobody knew Bryan Adams wasn't cool/The TV just told me he was.” Yet, in the same song, he relates to a younger crowd with, “Like the football jocks/Trying to please their pop/And the stoners aping everything their bad uncles taught.” Walker’s performance style is just as sharp and witty as his songwriting. A veteran performer, Walker’s live show features musical bantering between band mates and an invitation to the audience to sing along which can create the feeling of camaraderie among all involved.
Elizabeth Lovria is a graduate of Lake Shore Central Schools and Syracuse University. She resides in Hamburg with her husband and their daughter.