Butch Walker reveals his secret political fantasy
Butch Walker’s newly released eighth album, “Stay Gold,” quickly follows up 2015’s folksy, introspective “Afraid of Ghosts,” which was influenced by the passing of his father.
For this album though, the musician/producer, who splits his time between Los Angeles and Nashville, is ready to rock. Besides making his own music, Walker’s written songs for the likes of Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Pink, and produced for Brian Fallon, Fall Out Boy and Frank Turner. As Walker tells us during band rehearsals in Nashville, “I love my job.”
What was the main inspiration behind “Stay Gold”?
I was coming out of this more emotional time with the previous record: my dad had passed and a close friend, too. That was a sad record — beautiful, I love it. It was like therapy for me. I had been worried I wouldn’t ever write again after that record. I had spilled my guts. It was a dark record and I worried I had nothing left.
Thankfully that wasn’t the case.
Yes, this record is about celebrating, sometimes celebrating vicariously through characters. A lot of it is about the small Bible-thumping conservative town I grew up in. But it’s more about falling in love and getting out and wanting more than the small town, small-mindedness where everything is black and white. There’s this thing where people never see eye-to-eye and it’s all to do with a f—d up ego.
Speaking of which, the video for “Ludlow Expectations” is a GIF featuring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump flirting.
That’s my secret fantasy. They’re a secret power couple and just playing everybody. Don’t get me started on politics. But I enjoyed taking the piss with that.
How did you come to write “Descending” with Ashley Monroe?
Ashley and I have been buddies for ages. She was flying into L.A. and we were talking on the phone about relationships and how it’s a constant struggle to keep love going. She just said, ‘We’re descending,’ and I was like, ‘What, your marriage or the plane?’ And she said, ‘The plane!’ We got together after she landed and within five minutes we had the song.
You’ve written many songs for other people. How do you know when a song is best for you or someone else?
It’s a case-by-case basis. But when an idea comes you don’t think this would be great for so-and-so. All you think about is finishing it and finishing the thought and the melody before you lose it. Having said that, if it’s about my dead dad or my fifth-grade girlfriend it’s personal and not for someone else. That would be kind of weird.
Butch Walker gets back in touch with his rock ’n’ roll roots on “Stay Gold.”