THE BUTTERTONES: WE PLEAD THE FIFTH
photography by debi del grande
RA: I’d let Morgan Freeman punch me in the face, I feel like I would grow immensely as a person.
DB: Mike Tyson, just so I can say I survived.
LG: I wouldn’t want to be punched but stunned by Stone Cold Austin.
SR: I’d like to be the only person in history to be punched by the Dalai Lama.
MC: Miles Davis. I need to be punched into place by my hero.
What do you see as the future of music?
MC: Wild Wing.
LG: I’m going in blind but I would like to see an analog comeback—that’d be a dream come true.
SR: The industry will continue to constantly evolve with new streaming platforms and sharing services. Artists will have to rely less on giant record labels and super producers. Corporations and brands will continue to try and exploit fringe artists for cool points. Guitar Centers everywhere will become empty ruins and stand as relics to the past. The future is now.
What’s the most powerful thing that shaped you as an artist?
RA: Relationships and near-death experiences.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or been offered from a fan at a concert?
RA: One time a group of both genders kept screaming ‘Daddy’ at me—didn’t know what to make of it.
SR: On more than one occasion we’ve been offered tiny plastic hands.
MC: A lovely young lady made me some hair pins.
DB: Two fans baked us Buttertones cupcakes that were lip-smacking good.
How collaborative is your song writing process?
SR: It’s like five cooks in a kitchen. Some days one member will bring the recipe and the others will bring the ingredients. It doesn’t always turn out like the original vision, but something tasty is bound to happen.
RA: A few examples just to give you a little more insight: I wrote ‘Matador,’ Dak wrote ‘I Ran Away’ and the band arranged them. Whereas songs like ‘Grave Digging’ or ‘Geisha’s Gaze,’ Dakota or Cobi would come up with a riff, then I’d write a melody. All of us arrange and sometimes we’d all knock out the lyrics. I would say that this album has definitely the most collaboration out of all our works.
How would you describe the dynamic with Jonny Bell? In what ways did he push you? What did he contribute to the record?
SR: Jonny was a positive force in making this record come together. He shared his wisdom and insight into not only rock ‘n’ roll history, but the state of the music industry today. He would call us out on our redundant habits and motivate us when we were frustrated. He’s got a knack for making bands sound like the purest versions of themselves.
And you also worked with Joel Jerome.
RA: We actually did two full-length albums and a four-song EP with Brother Joel and it was a thrill to work with him because all of us were fans of his band Babies on Acid. He taught us to be patient but also not to overthink things—go with the flow style.
SR: He is a big brother to us all, and without his influence we wouldn’t be the same band we are today. Joel is a pretty zen guy, but he certainly taught me the importance of having strong personal ethics when approaching your art and how to be comfortable in your own skin. I doubt he even knows I feel this way. Also he’s one of the most underrated songwriters around.
Is ‘Two Headed Shark’ a metaphor?
RA: Yes, it’s about a person who over stays their welcome and the duality of man.
Do you think love and torture must always come together?
SR: They’re two sides of the same coin.
There are lots of love themes in the songs—how do you know if you’re in love?
MC: You know when can’t stop sending kiss face emoji’s to that special someone.
Which of your songs would make for the best lovemaking soundtrack?
SR: ‘Sadie’s a Sadist’ because it only lasts 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
RA: ‘Gravediggin’ because it starts off fast and rough, then slow and intimate and ends with a bang.
THE BUTTERTONES’ RECORD RELEASE WITH GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH AND WILD WING ON SAT., MAR. 25, AT THE BOOTLEG, 2220 BEVERLY BLVD., ECHO PARK. 8:30 PM / $12-$14 / ALL AGES. GET TICKETS HERE! THE BUTTERTONES’ GRAVEDIGGING IS OUT MARCH 31 ON INNOVATIVE LEISURE. BUTTERTONES.BANDCAMP.COM