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Drinking with Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt

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Overview

The artist named by Rolling Stone as one of America’s best singer-songwriters and the 2005 Producer of the Year shares the inside story of his music career

From his days with one-hit-wonder band the Marvelous 3 to his current work producing some of today’s hottest talent—from Weezer and Katy Perry to Pink, Avril Lavigne, and Panic! at the Disco—Butch Walker has proven himself a major influence in contemporary pop music. But the road to success wasn’t easy. Drinking with ...

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Drinking with Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt

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Overview

The artist named by Rolling Stone as one of America’s best singer-songwriters and the 2005 Producer of the Year shares the inside story of his music career

From his days with one-hit-wonder band the Marvelous 3 to his current work producing some of today’s hottest talent—from Weezer and Katy Perry to Pink, Avril Lavigne, and Panic! at the Disco—Butch Walker has proven himself a major influence in contemporary pop music. But the road to success wasn’t easy. Drinking with Strangers takes you into the studio and onto the stage, offering a rare glimpse into a life defined by raw talent, determination, a drive for perfection, and some ridiculous haircuts.

At age seventeen, Walker left small-town Georgia with his hair metal band and headed for the mean streets of Los Angeles. Full of piss, vinegar, and Jack Daniel’s (mostly the latter), these young Southern musicians were determined to become the biggest band on the Sunset Strip and land a major-label record deal. After many false starts—including an ill-fated concert tour of China—Walker’s rock-and-roll fantasies hadn’t quite come true, so he embraced the do-it-yourself approach. Taking control of his destiny, he learned to make success on his own terms, but not without some memorable, occasionally drunken stumbles along the way. Walker’s adventures taught him a number of life lessons he shares here with insight and candor, revealing the blessings of failure—and what it’s really like to spend your life going from gig to gig, drinking with strangers.

In a voice as wry as his lyrics, Walker pays tribute to his influences, from his parents to Mötley Crüe, from KISS to both Elvises (Presley and Costello). He offers a clear-eyed yet humorous look at the music business—the greed, the booze, the drugs, the infighting, the swindles, the unfulfilled promises—and explores its bad side, too. In documenting his rise to the middle, Walker frankly describes the delicate balance between success, selling out, and just knocking back another shot of whiskey to numb the pain.

Whether or not you are familiar with Walker’s music, Drinking with Strangers is a must-read for anyone who wants to make it in the music world, covering such essential topics as the digital revolution and its impact on both performers and producers, the art of creative collaboration, and what it’s really like to work with cutthroat competitors who might steal your soul (and your song). Unflinchingly told, Walker’s twenty-year journey of failing upwards becomes an unforgettable rite of passage.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061787317
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 189,520
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Butch Walker is a recording artist, songwriter, and producer. He lives in Atlanta and Los Angeles. His latest recording with the Black Widows is The Spade.

Matt Diehl is the author of four books; his writing has also appeared in such publications as Rolling Stone, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, SPIN, W magazine, and Interview. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 30, 2011

    Great read, especially for anyone who loves music, Baby Boomers to Teens

    It seems every kid has the dream of becoming a rock star but few get or take the chance and make it happen. Walker did it twice. If you don't know Butch Walker, you should.

    Well paced, well versed, and extremely candid, his life and contact list read like a who's who musical graph of the past 35 years of American trends, classics, and icons.

    He magically transports you, allowing you a thoughtful and personal first hand look at the seedier and tantalizing aspects of music stardom, business and the heartfelt transformation of an innocent and passionate boy to the amazing man he is today.

    You may find yourself reliving the musical eras of your life, even emotionally or curiously searching YouTube for the bands and videos he mentions, as he invites you onto the roller-coaster ride of his career. He takes us through the history and evolution of the music industry, his many distinct personalities, and amazing life lessons with poignant honesty, ready wit, and sometimes a self defacing irony that never gets dull.

    His honest passion for his work, determination, humble appreciation for his friends and family, and lessons on never giving up as well as taking responsibility for your mistakes also makes it a great gift for any teenaged son or daughter who wants to know what it really takes to succeed, especially in the arts as well as in life.

    The Fates filled Butch Walkers life with enough characters, opportunities, and roadblocks to fill a few hundred more pages... or at least a few hundred more songs. I'll happily look forward to both.
    I never get tired of this man; Walker is one heck of a story teller, both in lyrics and in print.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Highly Recommended, even if you aren't a huge fan of his like I am!

    Very well written with just the perfect amount of humor thrown in. If you like Butch you will love this book, but it also has a little bit of something every music lover can appreciate, even if you aren't a big fan of his.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    Good Read without too much ego

    I gave this book to my husband after reading a review by Tom on MySpace, or he used to be on MySpace, but he was the Tom that was always your first friend on there. He was a Butch Walker fan and met him a few years back and was recommending the book as a good read. We live in Atlanta so the stories he tells about growing up are very visible to us, and the book is written very well in conjunction with a writer from Rolling Stone Magazine. My husband didn't put the book down until he was finished, and loved it. If you like stories about the music business, growing up in the eighties, big hair and the LA scene, you'll love this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    loving Butch even

    His book was as honest and fun as his music

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2014

    Loved it!

    Honest, gritty and fun! A def must read :)

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    Posted October 25, 2011

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    Posted December 12, 2011

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    Posted January 31, 2012

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    Posted April 1, 2012

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

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