Michael Butler is a rock and roller at heart. From playing bass in a number of very cool bands to recording his Rock and Roll Geek Podcast to his work on the Podsafe Music Network he is the perfect person to talk about what podcasting is all about and the benefits it offers musicians. Michael was kind enough to answer a bunch of questions for us and this is what went down.
Rock and Roll Report: You have played the bass in a number of bands throughout the years. Who have
you played with and who are you playing with currently?
Michael Butler: I formed a punk rock band called Stevie Stiletto and The Switchblades in 1982 in Jacksonville, FL. We toured the country a few times and put out a couple of LPs and a lot of singles and EPs. We moved to San Francisco in 1989. I joined a band called Goodbye Gemini with some of the guys from Los Olvidados and in 1991 I joined Exodus. I recorded one album with them and we toured with Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Body
Count and some other bands. Exodus got dropped and broke up. I joined Mindzone with Billy Rowe from Jetboy and also formed my own band with me on lead vocals called the Flexapleasers. In the late 90’s I formed American Heartbreak with Billy Rowe and we played for 10 years. We are currently on hiatus while I play with Billy in Jetboy. We also have band called The Butlers that plays 70s hard rock covers. That is me,
Billy, Casey from American Heartbreak, Graham Shaw from Immigrant and Craig Berhorst from Ruffians.
RRR: You consistently cite Pete Way as your favourite bassist. Who else has influenced your bass playing?
Michael Butler: Dee Dee Ramone, Stig Pederson from D-A-D and the bass player from 999
RRR: I hate all these sub-genres that are floating around these days. Peruvian marching band metal, Swedish emo power pop, Goth Gregorian Chants. How would you define rock and roll?
MB: It is pretty much all rock and roll to me. The kind I listen to though is loud guitars, catchy choruses. I like a little anger in my rock too.
RRR: On top of being a musician you are a podcaster. First of all, what is your definition of a podcast and how does it differ from both traditional and Internet radio?
MB: A podcast is an internet radio show that can be subscribed to and listened to on a portable device. Traditional radio has douchebag program directors who control the DJs, if there even are DJs anymore.
RRR: How long have you been doing the Rock and Roll Geek podcast?
MB: I started on Sept. 14th, 2004 I think
RRR: What other podcasts have you done?
MB: I do a metal video show called Bangin With Butler, The Rock and Roll Geek Indiecast, Cooking With Butler, Rock and Roll Geek Video, Rock and Roll Geek Gadget Guide, Good Clean Fun and whatever other show that comes to my head to start.
RRR: How did you get into podcasting?
MB: When I started, the term wasn’t invented. It was called audio blogging. I stumbled upon that when I found Adam Curry’s website. I pretty much copied him when I started. It kind of evolved into my own thing pretty quickly. Plus, I always wanted to be a dj and this was an easy way for me to do that.
RRR: You are involved with the Podsafe Music Network, something that the Rock and Roll Report Podcast uses regularly. How did you get involved and what do you do exactly?
MB: When Podshow signed my show, they offered me a job on the Podsafe Music Network. When I came there, it was all unsigned artists. I started getting bigger bands on the network from the first day I started. I
got Fat Wreck Chords on there the first day, 2nd day, Saddle Creek and Epitaph. Since then, I have gotten a ton of labels and some of the largest music distributors in the world, as well as a ton of PR companies and big bands. I am pretty proud of that.
RRR: There are thousands of songs on PMN as well as a bunch of labels. Do they come to you to make their stuff podsafe or do you approach them? How does it all work?
MB: I used to approach them, now more are coming to me. I still go after labels pretty much every day though. Usually, they sign up and send me their promo CDs with a band’s one sheet, which has a list of songs they would like to add. Now, since Mevio has launched (http://www.mevio.com ) I am getting a lot of videos too.
RRR: How do you define “podsafe” and what are the benefits to bands and labels in being podsafe?
MB: Podsafe means you can play the song on your podcast and record companies won’t sue you. The benefits are that podcasters are passionate about the music they play and they are great promotion for your music. It is practically impossible to get your music on the radio nowadays so why not let podcasters promote it?
RRR: One of my big gripes when I go to a podcamp or a podcasting meeting with other music podcasters is that we are preaching to the converted. Podcasters know what podcasting is all about so that is not who we need to address. It’s the music fans that we need to educate as to what we are all doing and the incredible amount of podcasts that are out there. What do you think podcasters should do to get music fans more dialed in as to what podcasting is all about?
MB: I always get amused when podcasters are promoting their shows at these things. It is a big circle jerk. We should be promoting our shows to the lady at the grocery store, kids at shows, and anyone else we can.
Burn a CD of your show, make some stickers, hand them out to people. I usually don’t tell people it is a podcast. I usually just say internet radio show. I got tired of explaining the term to people.
RRR: What do you see as the future of podcasting?
MB: I have no idea. I wish music podcasters had as much power as radio did in the good old days. I think it may happen sooner than later though. I am always getting CDs, books and other promo stuff from labels,
bands and publishers, asking for plugs.
RRR: Do you think podcasting has a future amidst all this web 2.0 stuff like MySpace, Facebook, Last.FM, etc?
MB: As long as there are people who want to be famous, there will be podcasting. I subscribe to a ton of podcasts.
RRR: I am a big fan of the Rock and Roll Geek Show and especially the Rock and Roll Geek Indiecast as well as Two Shitty Dudes (Good Clean Fun).
MB: Thanks, friend!
RRR: How long does it take you to prepare your podcasts and what technology do you use to do it?
MB: I do very little preparation. I write down some things I may want to talk about but forget to mention half of it. I do a lot of preparation and research when I do interviews though. I use a mixer and it goes into an external recording device. Not much editing. When I do, I use Bias Peak on the Mac. Sometimes Soundtrack Pro. I edit my video shows on Final Cut Pro
RRR: Tell me about the ASS of Rock. What made you set it up and how many podcasts are on it?
MB: It is short for the Association of Rock and Roll Podcasts. I just thought it was a nice way to get a bunch of shows that play rock on one site. I think there are about 25 rock shows on there right now. We just got a mention in Classic Rock Magazine. That’s pretty cool. I do almost no mantaining of the site. If someone signs up, I give them login access and they post their shows there.
(ed note: The Rock and Roll Report Podcast is part of the Ass of Rock )
RRR: Who are your favourite bands from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and now and why?
MB: My favorite bands are Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and AC/DC. I also love Joan Jett, Wildhearts, Replacements, Backyard Babies, Hellacopters, D-A-D. and those kind of bands. Pretty much Hard Rock. If they have good songs, I like them.
RRR: Anything else you want to add?
MB: Thanks for the interest, friend! Let’s get a beer sometime.
RRR: Sounds like a plan!
You can subscribe to the Rock and Roll Geek Show and all Michael Butler’s other podcasts by going to by going to www.rockandrollgeek.com
The Ass of Rock can be found at http://rockandrollgeek.org/wordpress-assofrock/
And finally, check out the Podsafe Music Network at http://music.podshow.com/