No one can accuse Butch Walker of not living up to his potential. For the past three decades, Walker has blazed a unique trail as a member of renowned bands, a critically acclaimed solo artist, a highly regarded producer and a prolific songwriter whose compositions for some of the industry’s biggest names have hit the upper reaches of the charts.
Bradley Glenn Walker began his musical journey in the late ’80s in a string of Georgia Rock bands, the last one being Byte the Bullet, which retooled itself as SouthGang after a move to L.A. and a contract with Virgin Records. Two albums later, Virgin wanted to change the band’s formula in a distinctly wrong-headed fashion, and SouthGang dissolved in response. Walker and some former SouthGang members formed Floyd’s Funk Revival (later known as just The Floyds).
In 1997, Walker pared The Floyds’ lineup to a trio for the Power Pop fury of Marvelous 3. The band signed with Elektra Records and recorded three highly regarded albums. But, sensing a lack of label interest, Walker shuttered Marvelous 3 in 2001.
The following year, Walker began his solo pursuits with Left of Self-Centered, his first album under his own name. Blending a decidedly Pop flair with muscular Rock and rootsy Americana touches, Walker showed an amazing versatility. Walker’s last three albums — 2010’s I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart, 2011’s The Spade and the just-released and patently excellent Afraid of Ghosts — all hit the top spot on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.
As a producer, Walker has worked with an almost schizophrenic range of musical talent, from Pete Yorn, Sevendust and Weezer to Lindsay Lohan, Avril Lavigne, Pink and Taylor Swift. If his solo sales figures have been less than overwhelming, the success of his covered/co-written songs in the hands of other artists has been nothing short of astonishing. Unsurprisingly, Walker’s wild musical ride inspired him to pen a memoir in 2011, Drinking with Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt, and moved filmmakers Shane Valdés and Peter Harding to make him the subject of their documentary Out of Focus.
If the music industry is looking to coronate a new man for all seasons, surely the crown would fit comfortably on Butch Walker’s hit-crammed head.
See BUTCH WALKER with JONATHAN TYLER and THE DOVE AND THE WOLF 7 p.m. Saturday at Bogart's. Get more information and purchase tickets here.