Behind the Boards is a new series where we spotlight some of the biggest producers in the industry and dig into some of their favorite projects. For the inaugural edition, we sit down with alternative rock-whisperer Butch Walker to hear about his work with Taylor Swift, Weezer, Green Day, and more.
Producer and singer-songwriter Butch Walker has been actively working in the music world for over three decades, and has seen firsthand the way the music industry has shifted across that time period.
The Georgia-born Walker got his start in the late ’80s with a glam metal band called SouthGang — when that band dissolved, Walker formed the power pop trio Marvelous 3 in the mid ’90s before becoming an in-demand producer, helming pop rock records with SR-71, Bowling For Soup, and Avril Lavigne in the early 2000s.
His production resume only grew in stature throughout the next two decades, eventually working on songs and albums with Taylor Swift (“Everything Has Changed” featuring Ed Sheeran), P!nk (I’m Not Dead), Weezer (Pacific Daydream and Ratitude), Katy Perry (One of the Boys), and many more.
Meanwhile, Walker’s seasoned career has allowed for bold and exciting personal creations like his tenth solo album, Butch Walker as…Glenn (out this Friday, August 26th). This time, he’s trying something a bit different: playing a character. The LP sees him take on the life and stories of an aging “balladeer who’s been playing bars his whole life to nobody” named Glenn. According to Walker, this is a project born not just out of the pandemic, but through the joy of collaboration — something that the superproducer knows better than anyone throughout his 30+ year career.
“It was inspired by my friend Morgan Kibby, who was in the band M83 and is an incredible artist,” Walker tells Consequence of the new LP. “We got in the studio over Zoom, and she wanted to make a record and had this whole concept planned out.” Walker explains that Kibby took on the fictional character of Sue Clayton, a Palm Springs-dwelling widow who works on the other end of a phone sex hotline, and introduced a character named Glenn that she corresponds with — hence, Walker’s impetus to create his own solo record, but from Glenn’s perspective.
Though Butch Walker as…Glenn has a greater emphasis on storytelling than Walker’s usual solo material, it also demonstrates a skill he’s been honing since his very first band: the ability to collaborate and bring the best out of an artist. In this case, the artist is Walker himself, but each song and album in his career was crafted with the joy of collaboration at the forefront.
Ahead of the release of his new solo LP, Consequence sat down with Butch Walker and took a deep dive into five songs or albums that he’s produced. Below, check out Walker’s breakdown of five standout productions in his storied music career.