VIDEO: Chris Butler: Pre-punk, New Wave, DIY Art Band, Post-punk, Semi-Refined Trailblazer Speaks Out


Chris Butler’s musical journey has been remarkable. He found himself as one of the first members of 15-60-75 The Numbers Band, the legendary experimental blues outfit that also launched Gerald Casale who went on to form DEVO. He ran in the same scene that sprang Joe Walsh and the James Gang and Chrissie Hynde who moved to London and formed The Pretenders. He was among the crowd of students fired upon by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970 as a sociology student at Kent State University.

After success with his bands The Waitresses and Tin Huey, he became a producer, a television bandleader, and collaborator with musicians as varied as The dB’s and Richard Lloyd. He continues to perform in PIN 2 HOT, which is now on hiatus, with recent clips here.

He “jump-started” a new charitable organization, the Akron Music Awards with 3 weeks of planning, and made the first awards in March 2020 at Musica in Akron, offering his own micro grants, networking opportunities, professional advice, and publicity, along with support from Patrick Carney from The Black Keys and help from the Panza Foundation. Inaugural winners were The Beyonderers, Fancy Legs, and Funeral Proposals. More information here.

CoolCleveland’s Thomas Mulready caught up with Chris at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame‘s NEO Sound panel discussion & Exhibit Opening at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives in November, 2019 to discuss why Cleveland, Akron & Kent were such a hotbed for punk, art rock, creativity, and DIY innovation. He acknowledges “a stubborn refusal to do anything other than what you really really want to do and believe in.”

View the video here.

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