Bio

Band biography

Dynamic rock/blues band Red Butler is fast making a name for itself across Britain and Europe. Audiences instantly tap into the fire and passion generated by the young band from Sussex.

The band’s journey, since 2012 has seen them through a significant evolution, especially during the past 6 months. Dan Spellman joined Alex Butler (lead guitar) Charlie Simpson (drums) and Mike Topp (bass) during the latter part of 2016 and became lead vocalist following the departure of Jane in December. The tightness of the new line up owes much to the fact that Alex, Charlie and Dan played together as ColdHeat for 4 years from the tender age of 14. Fans, new and old, have been thrilled by the heavier sound coupled with the ever present energy and excitement which are a Red Butler trademark.

November 2016 saw the culmination of 18 months preparation with the release of the band’s second album, “Nothing To Lose” produced by Wayne Proctor. This followed the success of their debut release, “Freedom Bound” in 2014. Due to the success of the current line-up, and in response to popular demand, the band will release an EP this summer and are working towards a full album later this year.

‘Nothing To Lose’ was a collaborative project drawn from the band members’ individual experiences of life and music. Red Butler see the need to deliver a message to younger people whilst retaining the support of their established blues/rock audience, this theme will be further developed as they work on a third electric album. Influences include SRV, Free, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Gary Clarke Jr. Royal Blood and Vintage Trouble. Touring with the Laurence Jones, Billy Walton and Danny Bryant added enormously to the band’s experience.

The quality of their music has seen Red Butler win national awards. Successes include:

  •  Alex – runner up in Young Artist category – British Blues Awards 2016.
  •  Band – third place in Best Blues Band category – British Blues Awards 2016.
  •  Representing the UK at the European Blues Challenge in Italy 2016.
  •  Winners of the UK Blues Challenge 2015.
  •  Runners-up in the British Blues Awards 2015 (Alex, Young Artist and Band, Emerging Artist).
  •  ‘Best New UK Act’ 2014 – Blues Matters Magazine.

Although busy working on new material the band continue to thrill audiences as they develop a heavier sound whilst preserving the passion and sensitivity that is their style. The presence of Dan on rhythm guitar has generated more space for Alex to express himself and opened up the opportunity for duetting guitars. The onstage chemistry is obvious to audiences and the band is reveling in the experience.

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LEAD GUITAR 

 

JOINED

Formed Red Butler February 2012

Equipment

Hofner Verythin Limited Edition 2012

Hofner verythin Contemporary Series

Feline Alex Butler Custom

Fender 2012 American Standard Strat

Harley Benton TE-90

Jack The Hat Custom – Based on 60’s Plexi

Rotosound strings

Line 6 M9, NRG Fuzz, EH POG Octave, Crybaby Wah, Seymour Duncan Pickup Boost. All pedals modified and maintained by NRG Effects.

PREVIOUS LINE UPS

I performed with several school and college bands. A couple of the more serious projects included ‘Cold Heat’ (rock/blues covers band) featuring Charlie Simpson on drums.  Also played with ‘Chief Executive’.

INFLUENCES

I grew up listening to my parent’s music collection, which influenced me more than I perhaps realized at the time. My Father provided classic rhythm’n’blues such as John Lee Hooker, Spencer Davis and various STAX/Chess Records artists.  My Mother introduced Stevie Wonder, Free and a rockier/funkier side to things.  Over the years I have been drawn to (and studied) many styles including flamenco, surf guitar, jazz, finger style, rock, folk, blues and gospel.  Whilst listening to music I endeavour to draw inspiration from instruments away the guitar – sax, cello, flute, vocals etc.

FAVOURITE ARTISTES

From a wide variety of styles there are too many to mention, but amongst them would be Derek Trucks, Robert Randolph, Allman Brothers, SRV, Davy Knowles, Miles Davis, Sonny Landreth, Paul Kossoff, Gary Moore, Paul Rodgers, Eric Bibb, Seth Lakeman, Paco De Lucia and many more!

LIKES LISTENING TO

Whilst driving I tend to listen to either classical or acoustic blues/folk.  I have always been a fan of classical music and find it can broaden my musical mind listening to the composition and layering of instruments.  I also enjoy acoustic elements and storytelling of artists such as Seth Lakeman, Ian Siegal and Eric Bibb as they paint a really great picture in the mind.  When seeking ideas for songwriting and new approaches I tend to listen more to electric blues.

HOBBIES

Outside of music, and teaching music, I enjoy reading and cycling/walking with friends.  As I spend so much of my time inside for music I take as many opportunities as possible to enjoy being active in the fresh air.

ASPIRATIONS

To perform shows across many continents to a variety of audiences. Also to encourage young people by maintaining a modern sound and approach, thereby making the music more accessible and encouraging them to explore further the great heritage of blues music.

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LEAD VOCALS AND RHYTHM GUITAR

 

JOINED

June 2016

PREVIOUS LINE UP

Cold Heat from 2008 to 2011 (with Charlie and Alex) followed by Snakebyte (heavy rock covers band)

INFLUENCES

AC/DC, Black Stone Cherry, Iron Maiden, Extreme, Metallica, Oasis, Rainbow, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Status Quo, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Danny Elfman, Oingo Boingo

LIKES LISTENING TO

Everything!  As I’m writing this I’m listening to ‘Best of Scottish Pipes and Drums’ (one of my favourites).  I suppose my main ‘go to’ thing to listen to is Heavy Rock and Metal, but equally I love listening to film compositions (especially anything by Danny Elfman)

HOBBIES

American Football is (apart from playing music) my biggest passion.  Whether it’s watching it or playing it I have liked American Football for as long as I can remember.  Anything that has an engine of some kind is of interest to me, mainly motorbikes and aircraft as that’s been in my family for many years, with both my parents serving in the RAF.  I suppose my ‘nerdy’ hobby is steam engines.  I’ve always been fascinated by them and even volunteered at The Bluebell Railway for a while.

* Bluebell Railway is a voluntarily preserved and operated steam railway in Sussex.

 

 

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BASS 

 

JOINED

Spring 2014

PREVIOUS LINE UPS

Various similar 4 piece line-ups in Brighton playing blues and rock n’ roll.

INFLUENCES

Fleetwood Mac, Thin Lizzy, SRV, Iron Maiden, Johnny Cash, Wishbone Ash, Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Paul Simon and many more.

FAVOURITE ARTISTES

I like to see passion on stage – stand out performers for that reason would be Lindsey Buckingham, Phil Lynott, Steve Harris, SRV, Bon Scott to name a few.

LIKES LISTENING TO

Usually I prefer live albums, favourites include Deep Purple – Made in Japan, Thin Lizzy – Live & Dangerous, Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison, Iron Maiden – Rock in Rio, Fleetwood Mac – The Dance.

HOBBIES

Firstly, music – playing, listening, performing/attending gigs and buying CDs. Secondly, sports – namely football and tennis.

ASPIRATIONS

To write and record a series of albums, including a live album, and tour across Europe with Red Butler. One life long dream is to perform at Montreux Jazz Festival.

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DRUMS

 

JOINED

May 2012

PREVIOUS LINE UPS

Cold Heat with Alex and Dan would be the most serious of them.  We were a classic rock covers band gigging from 2008-2011. I’ve been in various bands and line-ups at college and a jazz big band.

INFLUENCES

My main influences in music when writing are King King, Robert Randolph, Aynsley Lister and probably Joe Bonamassa.  My main drumming influences are Simon Phillips, Chad Smith, Steve Jordan, Ash Soan and Teddy Campbell.

FAVOURITE ARTISTES

This has always been a difficult question that I have never been able to answer.  I like so many different artists at different times and for different reasons and in different categories that I couldn’t possibly choose one.

LIKES LISTENING TO

I like listening to an eclectic range of music from blues artists such as Buddy Guy and B.B.King to more modern blues/rock such as King King and Aynsley Lister to all different artists and genres such as The Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hip Hop, Electronic dance music and Reggae/Ska.

HOBBIES

Seeing my friends and people who are close to me is a big part of my life. I also like walking – just walking out into the countryside and getting lost and trying to find my way home again. I like to cook and experiment with different flavours and ingredients. I’m a big film fan and try to fit in time to watch a film when I can.

ASPIRATIONS

I would love to be touring the world, playing my music to thousands of people who appreciate it. I’d like to take the Blues genre and make it more appealing to a younger audience whilst still keeping the essence of Blues alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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