Marvelous Three – Interview [2000]

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Marvelous Three

out of the mouth of marvelous 3 ‘s butch walker!!!

While everyone else is busy looking for a new rock star, I just tell them Ive already found him. Butch of the Marvelous 3 has what it takes, but more than that, his honesty and cool demeanor really make him who he is. Butch sleeps, eats, and breathes rock n roll. And after a decade where no one wanted to be a star, I think weve finally found one that is willing and ready to step up to bat.

The Marvelous 3 has lived up to their name, just releasing another standup record, ReadySexGo. It picks up where Hey! Album left off and just gets bigger, louder, and more ballsy than albums past. If you are ready to find out more, read on. If not, skip it, but dont blame us because you missed the bandwagon.

Hey, Charlie! Didnt we do an interview before?

Yeah, for the first album.

I remember. How are you?

Im great. How about you?

Im good.

You know, when I got the email from Elektra asking me if I was down for an interview and saying you had a new album coming out, it was a nice surprise.

Its like ending up with ten extra dollars in your checking account. (laughs)

If I had heard about it six months ago, then I would have had to wait and wait. But it crept up on me.

Its like pulling your jeans out of the dryer and finding twenty dollars in the pocket. (laughs)

Right! So what have you been up to?

Ive been working in my home studio preparing show intros and stuff like that for the upcoming tour. Were going to have a pretty cool production on the road this year. Lots of lights, sounds. Its just going to be a big rock show. I mean, what can I say without sounding cliché?

So are you getting that road withdrawal and the itch to get on the road again?

Im dying. I mean, weve been off the road for six months, maybe more. We were dying to come off the road before after the big hoopla of being on the road last year. We had already been on the road for five or six years straight before that, so it was time for a break. We had toured nonstop up until we got signed. You take six months off to record a record and you have no idea what kind of security complex you get from that and being out of the scene for so long. We just want to get back out there.

Did you learn a lot from touring after being signed and from touring with other bands?

Oh, yeah. And being in a tour bus with a crew doing all the work for you, youve got food and drinks, I mean, you learn a lot. First off, you have to learn to let other people do the driving, break down your shit every night. You learn not to complain if you dont get tomatoes on your tour rider because its a lot better than the twenty bucks we made the year before playing. You learn a lot of things, especially not to take this for granted. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy softy, I learned a lot of things about heart from this last tour. And I especially learned to cherish the moment because we see a lot of these bands come and go and we could be next. I dont know. I dont plan on being next, but you never know. We were around years before we got a deal, so it wasnt like we just got out there.

Its not like you just showed up from nowhere with no history, all of the sudden with a record deal.

And then get dropped a week later because the single didnt do good and then they break up. Fuck that.

Did you write on the road or get into the studio and start putting the album together?

I wrote a lot on the road. I dont tend to get real jiggy with writing too much on the road because I dont spend too much time trying to consolidate the two, because its really tough to try and focus on a show at night, I do all the business, and then write. Its not easy to write. I cant sit down and just say, Im going to write. It doesnt work like that. If Im sitting there and a lyric or melody comes to me, which is how it usually happens for me, then Ill write it down in my book. I dont force it. Actually, when I got off the road I was so ready that I just dove headfirst into my studio. I bought a house, built a studio, and holed myself up and wrote a record.

It has to be pretty sweet having a studio at your house.

Im very happy about it. Its something I never got to do before.

Is it nice because if you get some inspiration and boom, you can run right into the studio and put it down on tape?

Yeah. The whole record was done that way.

I wanted to see what was up because you seem to have this whole anthem thing down.

I feel it, I feel where you are coming from. That is what I wanted to do. I wanted this to be as over the top, unapologetic, big chorus, and massive sounding production that I could ever do, because, like I said, if this is the last record I ever get to do, I dont want to take a chance on not doing that again. They made records like this back in the 80s and I loved it, and then there was this whole period in the 90s where it wasnt cool and where everyone was making these dry, raw indie records.

Like lo-fi rocks!. (laughs)

Yeah. (laughs) Fuck that. Ill be punk and Ill be rebellious. Ill put out a record that sounds like Def Leppard for all I care. Itd be Pyromania 2000. It doesnt bother me. At this point Ive come to terms with who I am, and people love us for the kind of band we are, which is just a rock band. We arent trying to be trendy or what is on the radio at the moment. Im more proud of this record than any Ive ever done because I wasnt scared to go for it and actually try to sing and play guitar solos. It can be written off as cheesy, I dont give a fuck. You know? Its a record Im proud of.

And thats what really counts. Everyone says its the fans who you have to satisfy, but if you arent happy, then what does that say? But if the fans like it too, then its even sweeter.

So far Ive played it for people, and believe me, Ive played if for everyone and their mother. I wanted to make sure I wasnt high when I got out of the studio, telling everyone it was great. I didnt want everyone going, Dude, you were on crack! (laughs) But so far, everyone Ive played it for loves it. They like it better than the last.

That is funny because I think everyone has gone through that, where they do something on their own and are like, This is the greatest thing ever, and then you show it to someone and they think you are crazy.

I know. You have to be careful because you dont really know when you will lose your sense of perception. I dont want to do that.

Well, you said that you werent afraid to do the solos. How did it come that you brought Jeremy Popov (Lit) and Yogi (Buckcherry) onboard for some guitar work?

Well, we did a lot of touring last year and played with a lot of bands, but the cool thing is we ended up being drinking buddies and great friends with a lot of these cool bands. It was just a great communal vibe. After being friends with these guys, we swapped numbers, and when I went in to do the record I was talking to a lot of my friends in bands and they said it would be great if we all got together on some tracks. I was all about it so I wanted to make it happen, so I called up the guys in Buckcherry and Lit and I asked them over to put shit down. Im pleased that all these people wanted to work on a Marvelous 3 record.

Even though you guys have a different sound than Buckcherry, you guys are similar in that you play straight rock. Its not phony.

Yeah, and Buckcherry so rock!

I got to hang out with Keith and Josh from Buckcherry and they couldnt have been nicer, but their show was amazing. I think, even though they didnt have this huge stage show like Lenny Kravitz, they upstaged everyone on their tour.

Definitely, because they care about putting on a great rock show. That is how we became friends, because we share the same sense of celebratory rock, just getting out there raising hell and not holding back. That is what I love about Josh and them, because they just get out there and rock and never forget about that. They were considered not hip because they did that for a long time, but I think they stuck to what they did and their time came.

Speaking of these guys coming in on guitar, I wondered what sort of guitar player you are?

Well, I think we spent a lot of time listening to records on the bus, both modern and older records, and wed be like, Remember when we were sixteen listening to Motley Crue records and doing covers? You know, there are elements of those records in the production and the way they sang, if you take away the cheeseball lyrics, maybe we would be cool to put a record out that was the Marvelous 3 but celebrating that essence. When we were young, I was a guitar shredder and I was playing Van Halen and Ratt solos note for note. And same with singing. It was okay to scream, but now its considered cheesy. But we crossed the line there.

I remember those days when Mick Mars or Eddie Van Halen could play a five-minute solo without the crowd walking out. Do you think a lot of that quality is missing today?

Definitely. Its terribly missing. That is what I mean. All of the sudden it wasnt cool to sing in key or go for it like Freddie Mercury went for it. And it was considered not cool to whip out a guitar solo that had structure that wasnt just feedback and noise. I mean, Im all about feedback and noise, but make it work and talk. I dont know.

It is a rare band that does it. The only bands I see do it are veteran bands who have a strong fan following like a Chili Peppers or Stone Temple Pilots.

Totally. I agree.

Do you think its a lack of skill or the fear of sounding cheesy?

I think its because people are worried that its going to come across as cheesy. They dont want to do that because it isnt alternative. I mean, what is alternative anymore? Id like to set the definition for a new thing, but we arent trying to resurrect the dead and bring back Bon Jovi. I just think we are being who we really are.

Speaking of genres and defining music, when I hear Marvelous 3 or Buckcherry, I think rock, straight-ahead good time rock. There is no sub genre there.

I had a guy ask me a while ago, How do you describe your music? And I told him, Rock. There is nothing better.

When I listen to Buckcherry, I hear some 70s and some 80s and its just the rock of rock, if that makes any sort of sense.

Exactly.

I think of Bowie and Def Leppard.

Absolutely.

I was wondering, especially with this album, if you are a huge Bowie fan?

I love him, of course. To me, that is the essence that I miss. I feel like rock has been back and its always going to be around. Rock n roll will always be timeless. I dont know that well be sitting around the campfire singing “Nookie” in twenty years, but I do know that we arent going to forget a great hook and a great melody.

I think a great song is one that you can put on stage and just completely turn the place out with but can also go and sit down with an acoustic guitar and still make it work and as powerful as it was big and live on stage.

Exactly.

I have to ask, because as soon as I saw the title I thought I could feel where you were going with it, is “Cigarette Lighter Love Song” influenced by the videos from the 80s where theyd sing the ballad and everyone would hold up the lighters and sway back and forth?

Totally. Someone just recently asked me what kind of music we play and I couldnt define it except to say rock, but I said if I had to classify it Id say cigarette lighter rock. I had “Cigarette Lighter Love Song” before it was titled and I ended up putting it on the record and said, This has such a cigarette lighter thing going on, So that is where the title comes from. I set out to close out the record with a huge power ballad, so I wrote it and had these lyrics that I was touched by and were personal to me. So I felt it was the perfect subject matter for the tune. The chorus melody is lifted from “All The Young Dudes” by Bowie. And he was cool with it because he loved the song. I told him, Im giving you credit.

Actually, I didnt get paper credits so I didnt see that, but I heard it. And I hate to change the subject halfway through, but are those credits spoken at the end of the album going to be on every album or just the promos?

Oh, yeah. I also thought it would be funny because this album to me sounded like a rock soundtrack record, so I thought it would be funny because I saw in my mind the credits rolling over “Cigarette Lighter Love Song”. The guy who was next door in the studio next to us is the guy who does the voice over for all those dramatic movie trailers, so I thought it would be cool to have him come in and do this cheesy spill. We had him voice over all the credits listed inside the album. I think after about Red Bulls and Vodkas anything is funny.

Has anyone ever done that before?

I think we are the first. I like the fact that it might spark a new trend.

I wondered if you were the first, because I thought there is no way it couldnt have been done before after how many decades of recording history.

I appreciate that because for me to come up with that after being so wasted, I was like (in a hilarious mock drunken voice) Hey, how about we let this guy do the credits at the end? (laughs) Jerry (Finn, producer) was like, What do you mean, credits? I was like Talk on them. And he thought that was brilliant.

It is because I just cant believe no one has done it before.

Well, if we sell ten albums itll be the first album ever that had voice over credits on it.

Youll be on VH1 in like thirty years going, It was me! I started it!.

Yeah. That would be funny as hell.

Is that remix at the very end going to be on every album too?

Yep. Thats on there too. It wont be listed though. The credits and the “Im Losing You” are alternate tracks.

How did that version of “Im Losing You” come about?

Actually that is the original version of it before it had guitar and drums added. I was writing that song for someone else, but I got stingy and kept it for myself. I thought it was great because it was different from other songs on the album and added some depth. People dont understand that I could be writing country hits for all you know and not saying anything about it. For some reason, you cant do that on your own records. They want everything to have one sound and one dimension. I ended up putting a rock version of it on the record, but its some more ear candy at the end. Its that extra twenty dollar bill you find in your pants.

I heard it and was like, Is this the futuristic Marvelous 3?.

I know. It was meant to be a kind of funny and a campy version of it, like back in the day youd hear different versions of songs on a record.

“Radio Tokyo” had this Bowie element, but also it had this, and I dont know if you care for them, Spacehog thing going on.

I love Spacehog. That first album was amazing.

The second album is so over the top, but I love it.

I love that record. I actually got really into that record.

The first few times I heard it, I couldnt figure out if it was either the cheesiest thing Ive ever heard in my life or if I absolutely loved it. And you know what I realized? I just love that album.

Its like a night at the opera. Like a Queen record.

And even though some of the lyrics are so dumb, the melodies are undeniable.

Totally.

Like hes singing about some shoe or something and it doesnt even matter.

Yeah, Lucys shoe or something.

I think there is something to be said about a song that you just enjoy and that it doesnt always have to change your life.

It should be fun.

When Im listening to a Marvelous 3 album, Im not thinking that you have to change my life. Why should it be that heavy, you know? I listen to it and Im happy.

Thanks. I really appreciate that. But you are right, that is the way it should be.

+ charlie craine

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