Chris Butler (musician)
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Christopher "Chris" Butler (born May 22, 1949) is an American musician, writer and artist who is best known for conceptualizing and leading the experimental new wave 1980s band The Waitresses. He wrote all of the band's songs, including "I Know What Boys Like", "No Guilt", "Christmas Wrapping" and the theme song for the TV sitcom Square Pegs.
Early life and career
Active in the Kent, OH music and art scene that also spawned The James Gang, DEVO and Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Butler appeared in several films by KSU's film professor Richard Myers, and played guitar in the blues band City Lights with Jack Kidney. He followed Jack into his brother Robert Kidney's 15-60-75 (a/k/a The Numbers Band), playing bass with them from 1975-78. Butler was fired from the band for blowing off a rehearsal to attend a photo session for his fictional Waitresses band project, which were to be part of Stiff Record's "Akron: Shine On, America" compilation, that also included tracks by Tin Huey, Jane Aire & The Belvederes, Rachel Sweet, The Rubber City Rebels, The Bizarros and Chi-Pig.
In 1983, Butler went to Denmark and produced the second album by the punk/art band Sort Sol.
Starting to get work as a producer, Butler blew up two cars on the Long Island Expressway commuting daily to Water Music Studios in Hoboken, NJ, during the recording of Scruffy The Cat's "Tiny Days" album (1987), and Joan Osborne's "Relish" EP.
After playing drums with Rich Grula on bass showcasing songwriter Freedy Johnston for Bar None Records, Butler produced Johnston's 1989 album The Trouble Tree and played guitar on some of the album's tracks.
1990s and after
In 1995, he was hired by former Tin Huey keyboardist Harvey Gold, now a TV producer in New York City, as drummer and bandleader for "Two Drink Minimum", a stand-up showcase program for Comedy Central.
He holds the 1997 Guinness Book of World Records for the longest pop song recording in history, a 69-minute song titled "The Devil Glitch”. The project was expanded online as "The Major Glitch", and accepted additions to the song in the hopes that it would play for days. The song reached 3:13:32 long.
In 1997, Butler started Future Fossil Records, and released his first full-length album "I Feel A Bit Normal Today". In 2001, he released Kilopop!'s "Un Petit Goûter", a fictional European band's "Best Of". "I've always been a songwriter, and over the years I've been asked to write Waitress-y type tunes for other singers...but none of them were ever used. I had quite a pile of these, plus some fun co-writes lying around gathering dust...so I invented a fake European band that supposedly had had 'hits' with these tunes. I wanted to be a success in Europe, and since this didn't happen in reality, I decided to make it so in fantasy."
In 1987, Butler sold his musical gear, including "Bebe Blue", the Vox Teardrop electric guitar he used to record "Christmas Wrapping", to a Manhattan music store. Over twenty years later the store owners told him that the guitar's latest owner, a woman in Belgium, wanted to sell it to someone who could appreciate its significance. Butler hopped on a plane and repurchased it, though he could not convince himself that the guitar was in fact the one he owned before.
Bands that involved Chris Butler
- 15-60-75 (The Numbers Band)
- Tin Huey
- The Waitresses
- The Cranks
- Half Cleveland
- purplE k'niF
- Richard Lloyd
- The Wirebirds
- Otis Ball and the Chains
- Life in a Blender
- The dB's
- Urycki, Mark. "Couldn't Miss This One: Behind 'Christmas Wrapping'". Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved 2014-12-24.
- "Chris Butler: Biography".
- Warlow, John. "The Waitresses - Chris Butler".
- Writing the longest pop song
- help Butler write song
- "My Guitar, My Past: A Man's Search for His Vox".
- "Don Ralph interview on working with Chris Butler and Ralph Carney in Life in a Blender". Archive.org. Outsight Radio Hours. Retrieved 22 July 2012.