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Drinking with Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt

Drinking with Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt [Kindle Edition]

Butch Walker , Matt Diehl
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Rolling Stone magazine called Butch Walker one of “America’s best singer-songwriters” and voted him a “Producer of the Year.” An American music industry giant, Walker has worked with some of today’s hottest talent, including Weezer, Katy Perry, Dashboard Confessional, Pink, Tommy Lee, Fall Out Boy, and The Donnas to name but a few. In his riveting memoir, Drinking with Strangers, Walker tells the fascinating story of his life and remarkable career, taking readers on a breakneck ride from his Georgia roots to the Hollywood music scene, and giving us a close up insider’s view of life behind closed recording studio doors.

About the Author

Butch Walker is a recording artist, songwriter, and producer. He spends his time in Georgia and the Hollywood Hills. Visit his website at

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3313 KB
  • Print Length: 285 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061787310
  • Publisher: William Morrow (25 Oct 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XVN1KS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #521,849 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read from a great artist 7 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video|Verified Purchase
An enjoyable insight into the life and talents of one of my favourite artists. It's an interesting look into the world of Butch Walker and the stories behind the music he has written and performed, as well as an authentic overview of the changing music industry. Hugely entertaining, touching and genuine, 'Drinking with strangers' is an education and an inspiration for 'strangers' and fans alike. It demonstrates a passion and integrity rarely found within the music industry nowadays. And if you don't have it already, buy 'The Spade'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great cd 27 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great gift - bought this for my boyfriend for Christmas and he loved it. Fantastic cd - recommend buying this!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Come on God, please give him 38 more! 1 Oct 2012
By Quills
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Butch Walker and Matt Diehl have combined to write an autobiography that has a very strong voice, making it feel when you're reading it as if you're sat next to Butch at a bar, listening enraptured as he tells you all about his life; and what a life it's been!

I've been a fan of Butch's since the days of the so-called one hits wonder, Marvelous 3. Though many might only have heard of their smash hit 'Freak of the Week', there's so much more to this uber-talented songwriter and musician, and together Walker and Diehl guide you from his early adventures in hair metal, through to the massive highs and lows with Marvelous 3 and then out again the other side as he somehow emerges relatively unscathed to become the solo artist he is now.

For anyone with even a fleeting interest in the music scene, this autobiography really isn't to be missed. Butch holds nothing back, and the result is a fascinating insight into the debauched, cut-throat nature of today's popular culture, all with his own personal touch that makes you understand just why it is that over the years he's found himself drinking with so many strangers at bars across the world. Who can possibly resist listening to this modern day troubadour tell his tales? Not me, that's for sure.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video
Just finished reading this book after owning it for a day and a half, could hardly bear to put it down, one of the best autobiographies I have ever read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Butch Walker's Drinking with Strangers 25 Oct 2011
By L. A. - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thank God, for the Kindle. I just read Butch Walker's book in one sitting. Butch candidly tells of his life, inspirations and trials in his own voice. He really pours his heart and soul into this book, just like he does with his music. I feel that I understand and connect better to his albums from the Marvelous 3 days to present. The book was so easy to read, I could't put it down.

My husband (a professional musician) started reading this. He said he could really feel where Butch was coming from.

This book is a must read for any Butch Walker fan. You will love the photos.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe It's Just Me.... 11 Nov 2011
By Timothy K. Schwader - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Butch Walker has been a part of my life for the better part of it at this point, and his first foray into the literary world hits the highlights - and a few of the lowlights - that explain why. Yeah, I was a teenage metalhead too (and I still love my metal). I fondly recall seeing SouthGang more than a few times, and still listen to their records when the mood strikes. I was ga-ga over Marvelous 3. Still am. Butch's solo records are, each and every one of them, the best album to have come out in each of the respective years that they were released, in my opinion. His latest, 'The Spade' Spade is not just the best thing I've heard this year, it's the best record I've heard in the past 10 years at least. When the latest tour kicked off in Athens, GA, earlier this year, I was there. I traveled out for the shows in Atlanta and Nashville too. Butch is worth it, no question.

But a book... what to think? Rock star autobiographies made for great reading when I was a teenager. I couldn't get enough of 'Hammer Of The Gods' or 'No One Here Gets Out Alive', and must've read each of them half a dozen times. Sleazy antics, larger-than-life tales of excess, glamorization of... what, exactly? It all made sense back then, but seems stupid today. I hadn't read one in years. YEARS. Thankfully, this book doesn't (for the most part) travel down that well-worn path. 'Drinking With Strangers' is a memoir, sure. It covers a bit of Butch's days as a young and reckless teenager, features a few decadent tales from his time on the Sunset Strip during the 'hair metal' heyday of the early 90s, and delves into some intense and personal stories about his personal life, his time spent writing with and producing other bands, and his personal struggles with the music business (and life itself). But this book is so much more than just a memoir. It should be required reading for aspiring musicians, with its exceptional insight about the crooks and weasels that permeate the music/entertainment industry and for Butch's unflinching admissions of how many times he's screwed himself over in the business.

Ultimately, 'Drinking With Strangers' is a mandatory read for Butch Walker fans - he explains why he doesn't play the songs so many want to hear anymore, the true inspiration behind many fan-favorites, and the real stories behind the beginnings, middles, and ends of all of his projects - and is highly recommended to everyone else. Even those who are not familiar with his name have heard songs that Butch has written, produced, sang or played on, or in some other way been involved with. Butch Walker is something of an American music Everyman in many ways, but even more so, he is a true original, a uniquely talented man with a gift too big to be contained. I'll never stop buying (yes, BUYING) Butch's music. I'll never stop going to his shows. And if he writes another book, I'll buy and read that too. Why? Because Butch Walker is f***ing amazing, and this book contains 20+ years' worth of stories proving that point.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pull Up a Stool and Have Drink With Butch Walker 27 Oct 2011
By Jay Amabile - Published on
Maybe the cover of Butch Walker's new book should've depicted a name plate that reads BUTCH WALKER: ROCK AND ROLL CHAMELEON. Who's Butch Walker, you ask? Really? Do I still have to explain that one? One way or another, chances are you know Butch Walker. He's reinvented himself more times than Madonna. He's gone from hairband member in Southgang, lead singer and guitarist in late '90s rock band Marvelous 3, an accomplished producer for the likes of Weezer, Katy Perry, Pink, and Avril Lavigne, to at the present moment, "just under the radar" indie rocker. If you're becoming acquainted with Butch Walker now, it will only take reading the 253 page Drinking with Strangers Music Lessons From a Teenage Bullet Belt, a book he wrote with Matt Diehl, to feel like you've known him forever.

Butch Walker's brief memoir does not recount explicitly epic rock star stories as printed in The Dirt or The Heroin Diaries. Perhaps Lifestyles of the Excessive and Eccentric is a more appropriate title for books about the lives of rock stars, but don't expect to read about week long benders from Butch, unless they involve songwriting. Occasionally he recalls messing around with a couple of girls, or drinking way too much, but it's not comparable to the exploits of Motley Crue. As much as he tries distancing himself from the hairband era, the best parts of the book turn out to be descriptions of random moments in his life, coincidentally with members of Motley Crue. For instance, the time he took a reckless helicopter excursion with his friend Tommy Lee. Walker even reveals a time he hung out with the Cruemaster himself, Nikki Sixx, and discovered just how over the top his lifestyle is. Walker's obsessive desire to be a better musician, songwriter, and producer has, for the most part, kept him from falling into the usual rock and roll indulgences.

My one main annoyance in the book was Walker's constant name dropping of Pink. We get it Butch, you're friends with Pink! Walker and Pink are friends and have worked together on music, but he tells us more about his relationship with Pink than anything about his actual wife and mother of his child, Nora. The most we learned about Nora is that she is a heavy sleeper. He rarely, if ever, gushed about his young son, although he did express how overwhelming it would be if he had lost them in the devastating wildfire that took his home California a few years back.

Even if Butch's career didn't go exactly the way he planned it, he's never given up. He's now considered a true songwriter and musician and it's taken over 20 years of hard work to gain that recognition. Aspiring musicians should use this book as a guide; it may change how they approach their career. Walker points out that if you can attain just enough success it will provide the ability to be creatively free, independent, and even financially secure enough to avoid kowtowing to major label bull. It seems to me that Butch should be more appreciative of his first taste of success - the hairband days, but he's way too in love with the present moment to waste time looking back.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked it better before you wrote this book… 26 Dec 2013
By Trevor F. Johnsen - Published on
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I’ve been a Butch Walker mega-fan since I saw the Marvelous 3 open for Collective Soul in mid-1999, when my girlfriend at the time wanted to see Collective and I took her, because that’s what I do. I was so impressed by M3 that I went and bought the “Hey Album” the next day. I don’t do that a lot, opening bands are usually torture. A few days later, I’d liked it so much that I bought “Math & Other Problems”… and greedily swiped up “Readysexgo” the day it came out. His solo career, through the changes, was the soundtrack to my college career. I loved them all, from “Left” to “Letters” to “Rise & Fall” to “Sycamore” to “Maya” to “I liked it better when you had no heart”. He’s still probably my favorite songwriter, and he is one of my biggest musical influences… and I was stoked to buy this book and I read it in 2 days.

BUT… Butch spends the whole book basically apologizing for each album he’s ever made. I guess he’s his own worst critic, but still… when he apologized for Southgang it didn’t bother me, when he apologized again for The Floyds I kinda laughed. I get it, you’re not proud that you were in a hair band and that FFR was rebelling against Southgang and trying to be the polar opposite. “Math & Other Problems” is probably my favorite record he’s ever done, and he basically apologizes again that he “was trying to sing like Elvis Costello” and whatever. But l love Butch, so obviously read on… he called “Freak of the week” a banana, and states that “Readysexgo” was basically recorded to convince Elektra to drop them. He recorded “Left of self-centered” to please M3 fans and admits that he doesn’t like the album… which of course is my second favorite record he’s ever done. I appreciate the rock Butch, the singer-songwriter Butch, the borderline country Butch, but “Left” & “Math” are flawless in my mind, and the guy basically hates them! I read on, he calls “mixtape” another banana, although at the time he recorded “letters” he described the album as “who he really is”. When he did “Ready” and “Left” he was all “too much rawk for one hand” being this rocka and roll savior and whatnot… and I love the evolution but it drove me crazy to read this book and see him regret each phase of his journey. “Rise & Fall” was his T-Rex phase, and he was basically sorry for that one. He doesn’t seem to hate “Sycamore meadows” though. After reading this book, I was in a Butch lull until I recently got his documentary DVD “Out of Focus” which deals with him making “The spade” and talking about his career. That film brought me back, because it shows that he does enjoy what he does. For a guy who’d been signed to 4 major labels and had a relatively big hit song, among other minor hits, and an excellent producing and songwriting career, he could do much worse.

The saving grace of this book is him talking about the business and recording side of his career. I liked the part where the Southgang producer was so demeaning toward him and the band that Butch decided to learn how to self-produce and engineer and mix and do it all for himself. I learned from that. He also talks about the shadier side of the business, Charisma forcing him to co-write with Desmond Child and sending Southgang to China to get rid of them, Elektra’s treatment of the Marvelous 3, and Avril’s songwriter/producer stealing Butch’s ideas. I also liked the publishing aspect of the book, and learning that you take the publishing deal you can and get the biggest advance because you’ll never be able to pay it back anyway. That made me smile because I work with a talented guy who’s turned down 2 publishing deals because he wasn’t happy with the ongoing terms of the contract, and Butch taught me different. Sometimes you take what you’re offered.

He’s still Butch Walker, and he’s still the straight-up KING of indie-pop, and he’s still an amazing musician/singer/songwriter/guitarist. But I can’t give this book an excellent review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butch Walker = definition of a true artist 3 Nov 2011
By Jeff Williams - Published on
Quite simply a must read for any true Butch Walker fan. Loved his brutal honesty and stories behind all my favorite songs. Thank God for rare & true artists like Butch in this very sad state of music we live in today. Butch is only one year my senior, so it was great to relive and relate to the evolution of music history with him. Classic Van Halen & Cheap Trick changed my life too. Cheers Butch! Thank you for all the joy you constantly bring to my life.
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