Drinking with Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt
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Drinking with Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  366 ratings  ·  67 reviews
From his days with his band the Marvelous 3 to his current work producing some of today's hottest talent - from Weezer and Katy Perry to Pink and The Donnas - Butch Walker has been a major influence in contemporary pop music. But the road to success wasn't easy. "Drinking with Strangers" takes readers beyond the studio for a rare glimpse into a life that has been defined b...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Harper Collins (first published September 1st 2011)
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Spyder
Feb 10, 2012 Spyder rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Yes, I am a fanboy for Butch Walker... Yes I own all of his records... that said, this is the best music auto-biography since Andy Summers' "One Train Later".

This is his uncompromising, unapologetic story of highs and lows in the music business and his ability to adapt to the best and worst of it.

There are no real surprises in this book if you know anything of his music... his story is already in his songs... all of it. What you will find here is a concise, in-depth expose' on the music business...more
Patti
There were a lot of good things about this book – I liked the insight of the music industry and Walker’s journey of hard work and determination. Walker has great stories and amazing music. I love his albums because they’re very honest and personal.

I’m not sure what Matt Diehl did to help write this book. It has the feel of long late nights of drunken story telling transcribed. When someone writes a memoir, I would think that they would want their experiences written down so that their grandchild...more
Krystl Louwagie
I seriously wrote a super long in depth review of this and it got erased. So...lets try this again...

Admittedly, Butch has never seemed overly intelligent or deep in my eyes, but I love him anyways. He's got some kind of charisma and some kind of biting, loving, uniqueness to him. But it comes as no surprise that the book he wrote is full of pretty amateur sounding writing. A lot of feels like you're listening to him ramble about his own life in a bar, maybe slightly tipsy and slurring. The word...more
Amy
I feel like I read this book in about two seconds. It's a great read; a cautionary tale of the perils of the music industry as recalled by Butch Walker (with Matt Diehl). If you're not familiar with Walker, I like to call him "the man who writes the songs the whole world sings." He's been in, like, a zillion bands (i.e. SouthGang and Marvelous 3) and has been a successful "mid-level" solo artist for over a decade. Where he makes his bread and butter is writing and producing with folks like Katy...more
Josh S
Butch Walker is a great song writer, a very good singer and at one time a pretty damn good guitar player. Butch Walker is also a little bitter. Having been chewed up and spit out by the music business as both a performer and a writer numerous times it's almost forgivable. Butch wears his heart on his sleeve while detailing the ins, outs, ups and downs of a "mid level" artist.

As a book it's a fun fast read (like most musicians memoirs) not only for Walker fans, but those wondering what really hap...more
Robert Beveridge
Butch Walker, Drinking with Strangers (Morrow, 2011)

Butch Walker is, among traditional musicians (“traditional” here as opposed to the normal kinds of musicians I listen to, who specialize in noise, death industrial, and that sort of thing), one of the best in the business today. Over the past decade and change, he's released half a dozen studio albums under his own name after stints fronting hair-metal band SouthGang in the eighties and Marvelous 3 in the nineties. All of them are sterling; Wal...more
Holly
so enjoyed this peek into the life of one of the best artists you've never heard of. Butch's personality definitely comes through. fun behind-the-scenes stories.
Maria
4/4.5 stars - if you're a BW fan, you'll like this book. I like how he talks about his life from the start and then talks about the industry at the same time..I thought he may talk more about the industry, but the insight he has provided is really interesting. a quick read for a bio/memoir and some parts are pretty funny (they def make you smile). I thought he may include more information regarding his last few albums..and especially anymore insight on his songs would be great, especially from t...more
Doug
I have a love/hate relationship with this book. On one hand it liked his straight-up, albeit rough, accounting of his history with rock and roll -- from the his teenage worship of the glam hair bands, eventually getting signed as one himself and then progressing through to production and involvement in the next generation(s). I thought it was great to see him grow & progress both as a man and as a musician. On the other hand, the story if full - nay replete with 'the bad & the ugly', and...more
Laurel
This book has been on my "to read" list for a pretty long time. I honestly think that the reason I put off reading it for as long as I did is because I am a pretty big fan of Butch's work as both a musician and a producer and I didn't want to read this just to find out that Butch is just another Hollywood jerk who wrote a book complaining that he can't make money anymore in the music industry. The wonderful news is that this book is definitely not that!

My first encounter with Butch Walker as an...more
Amanda
In terms of literature, this is not a good book. It seems as if he didn't have an editor at all. It's very rambling. He reuses (and misuses) words and phrases. He jumps around in time. He repeats stories for no real reason.

But in terms of storytelling, this book is badass. This is the show biz memoir I've read in a year and Butch dishes and trash-talks so much more than the other two. There are a lot of wild, crazy rock star stories: taking an illegal helicopter ride with Tommy Lee ("The instant...more
Patty
I read this book over the course of four days and have been ruminating over it since. I agree with the majority of reviews written since the beginning of this year - there are moments of strength in his conveyance of events and insights. However there are moments of weakness in the writing, which makes me wonder what role Matt Diehl played. Butch Walker seems to be a natural story teller, however the writing was not tight enough for a cohesive story. My interest started to wane about half way th...more
Megumi
First of all, I have been a Butch Walker fan for years; ever since I picked up a copy of his second album, Letters, at a nearly closed-down music store in Japan, I loved every single album, song, anything creative that he put out in this world. So, needless to say, I was really excited to open this book. I was excited to read what he had to say about this whole music-industry-thing that he's been involved in for more than two decades, as a singer-songwriter and also as a producer.
No one around...more
Ed
As a memoir, it's solipsistic, plunky like an busted upright piano, and wanders between tender, nerdy, ambling, and benignly scathing. It's quite honest from someone who, by being honest, isn't really shock-shock-shocking you with any deviant behavior (see the loveable Crüe tell-all Dirt). As far as the pacing goes, there's no high-stakes, rising action/denouement fiddle-faddle. Drinking With Strangers is not constructed in any sense. It's simply told chronologically--Georgia, band #1, band #2,...more
Allison
Butch Walker's songs are witty and thought-provoking, and it's no surprise that his book is written in the same style as his lyrics. Drinking with Strangers is a refreshingly honest tale centering on the music industry, but told from Walker's personal point of view. He shares a lot about his life, at times glossing over any substance abuse and marital issues but I didn't have much of a problem with that because it's not some gritty, gossip-y tell-all. He admitted to bad choices he made, like wor...more
Neil
I just wrote a review of this book and deleted it by mistake...so this second try is short and sweet...

...I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys music...From stories about life on tour and as a musician, to perspectives as a insider in the music industry, and on to opinions about how digital music has changed the music industry, the book an easy-to-read with good flow throughout...I listen to a good bit of music and didn't know of Butch Walker before reading this, but as a result chec...more
Mary
Whirlwind tour of a professional musician's life from getting turned on by a KISS album at the age of 8
in Cartersville, Georgia to ongoing success as a recording artist, songwriter and producer in Hollywood. The author did finish high school in Georgia, to satisfy his father, but at 17 headed for California with his hair metal band. The book is unsparingly detailed with names of musicians, groups, competitors, landmark performance, collaborators, agents, and the rest of the business side of the...more
Natalie
Butch is, as I always suspected, a guy with some interesting stories to tell. There's a lot here about the past, current, and future state of the music industry, and he certainly doesn't hold back from telling you how he really feels. I most enjoyed the sections on his post-Marv albums and the circumstances/concepts behind them, but I wish he had pulled it a little more forward to "I Liked You Better..." and "The Spade" instead of stopping with "Sycamore Meadows," even though that remains my fav...more
Amy
If your reading this book for a shock, not a good read for you. If you are truley a fan you will enjoy this book. Butch Walker is very talented musician. People have heard him play one way or another, he's a song writer,producer and performer that is very underrated. I knew about Marvelous 3. I did not know he played guitar for Southgang. I vaguely remember them from the late nights of Headbangers Ball. I'm glad he did not get stuck in the "hair metal" rut. He went on to do so many great things....more
Basil
Four stars instead of five because the lack of editing drove me batshit-crazy; sometimes I yearned for a paragraph that was less than a page long. But whatever. Point is, other than that, this book is fantastic. I already knew I'd love it, since I'm a huge-yet-recent fan of Butch, and there was so much I didn't know about him. And if I was a fan before, I'm an even bigger one now. I give major props to anyone who's willing to call out by name not only the people he loves and respects, but also t...more
Karla
I admit, I only read this book b/c I have a serious skinny boy rockstar crush on Butch Walker...oh and because I need more non-fiction by the end of the year.
It was...okay. Parts of it were very interesting and I enjoyed seeing where some of the songs/lyrics that he has done have come from. Truthfully though, he is not a great writer! I mean writing songs...go for it! Apparently writing a book is different. :) It was hard to get through and many parts I wondered where his editor had disappeared...more
Kurt Adam
A nice look behind the scenes of the music business from the point of view of somebody that has been through the fire (no pun intended) multiple times. Butch was in an 80s hair metal band that got traction just as grunge destroyed the commercial appeal, became a one-hit wonder with his great power pop band, Marvelous 3, and then finally settled as a singer-songwriter and writer-producer to some of the big names in pop (including Pink and Avril Lavigne). He seems to be very unflinching in his dep...more
Steven Matview
I can pretty much count on one hand the amount of autobiographies I’ve read as an adult. If I had one figure I could still count that high. But maybe I should change that because I really dug this book. I read it based off a recommendation from AbsolutePunk and because I wanted to know more about the feud between Dr. Luke and Walker but I ended up glued to every page really enjoying the inside look at the music industry as a whole through the eyes of someone who has been there through the excess...more
Alexandra
This was a really fun, breezy read. He's had an interesting life, this Butch Walker, and I'm glad he's put some of it out there for public consumption. There were a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, and a lot of "Ohmygosh, he knew *that* guy?!" moments. He writes some lovely things about a lot of artists I like, and saves most of his vitriol for a story about the producer Dr. Luke. He doesn't mention him or the artist in question by name, but it's pretty easy to figure out. I think he could definit...more
Fullquieting
Saw Butch Walker on Live from Daryl's House, in one of the best episodes of that really cool show, and when he mentioned his book, I read it. The first half is more biographical and stronger than the second half, where it's a little hard to keep with the narrative. At some point he really comes into some serious money, and the story of his rise like that (as a producer, probably) is left out, a little. Also, here and there, the book forgets it told us things before. Co-written by Matt Diehl. Goo...more
John
First of all, I am a huge Butch Walker fan so I was predisposed to like this book. However, I think anyone interested in music and the music industry will enjoy this book. Butch exposes many of the problems within the industry and he adds humor to most of the stories. As a fan, I would have enjoyed some more explanations behind his solo songs, along with some stories from the road with his numerous backing bands. Overall, it was a great music biography which was not loaded with drug addiction. C...more
Jason Tate
For fans of Butch Walker.
Snem
I read a lot of musician biographies and autobiographies and it was really good to read one from a self-proclaimed "mid-level artist." It was a very honest critique of the music industry and I loved that. I liked his sense of humor. At times there was a cocky tone and I got the impression he thought very highly of his own work and even his self-deprecating moments were calculated to endear himself to the reader. Definite recommendation for Butch Walker fans and I would also recommend this to any...more
Betsy McGee
I LOVED this book! Part heart and gut wrenching autobiography, part music industry expose. I am a fan of Butch's music so I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book and I was not let down! It was wonderful to read and think about in the context of his music...it is clever and engaging, though provoking and emotional...and at times self-depreciateing and reflective...all the things you want in an autobiography. I highly recommend this book for anyone!
Shelly
A must read for any Butch Walker fan. I rarely laugh out loud while reading but this book got me several times. Not that the book is a comedy, but Butch's self deprecating style of storytelling lightens the mood in somber places.

Many complained about the editing of this book. Having listened to Butch tell stories at live shows and via recordings, I had his voice in my head the entire time I was reading and I thought it read beautifully. Loved it.
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“Your youth is the most important thing you will ever have. It's when you will connect to music like a primal urge, and the memories attached to the songs will never leave you. Please hold on to everything. Keep every note, mix tape, concert ticket stub, and memory you have of music from your youth. It'll be the one thing that might keep you young, even if you aren't anymore.” 15 likes
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