Featured Artist: John Butler
John Butler is one of Australia's most loved folk singer-songwriters, with a two-decade-long career and seven studio albums under his belt. He has also been a favourite for nearly 20 years at Bluesfest Byron Bay and will be performing solo next Easter, showing songs from his 2018 album, 'Home' as well as classic songs from his timeless repertoire. We caught up John Butler to hear all about his first Bluesfest appearance and how he steers his career with his heart.
What's the most memorable gig you've ever played?
Without sounding like I'm blowing smoke up your a*s it would have to be our first Byron Bay Bluesfest. We played our first show to just a quarter of a tent and after the show, I said to my partner, "Our next show tomorrow we are going to have a full tent." I said it defiantly and with a pinch of entitled arrogance, I'd say. But man I was keen to win this audience over, to say the least! Nothing's changed actually. Anyways, the next night the tent was a quarter full again and about halfway through our set when we were just starting to hit our stride, the heavens opened up and torrential rain bucketed down on the site. At that moment the only thing I could say is it was like lit matches hitting fuel fumes. A massive crowd ran into our tent while we were peaking musically and the tent exploded! The gig hit overdrive. The rain stopped, the crowd stayed and the tent just heaved and exhaled steam from all sides. To my virgin festival crowd ears, this was the loudest roar I'd ever heard from an audience and to this day it's imprinted in my psyche as the loudest crowd. Since then I've played to 70+ thousand at the SCG and played several times to thousands at Red Rocks and other massive festivals all around the planet but that gig, as I said, went into virgin territory and it will be forever tattooed in my heart and mind as one of the greatest performance moments of my life.
You'll be returning to Bluesfest this coming Easter, how will you get ready for the performance?
For me, it's just about getting grounded. It's a big energy to control so I just try to get my body, mind and soul tuned into being able to be the best conduit possible for the song, story and music.
What was the first album you ever purchased?
'Somewhere in time' by Iron Maiden but I bought that for my brother!
'Slippery when wet' by Bon Jovi for the first album I ever asked for.
What are five songs you're loving right now?
"4th Dimension" - Kids See Ghosts
"Walrus" - D.D Dumbo
"I Fall Apart" - Post Malone
"Eye of the Storm" - Mama Kin Spender
"This is America" - Childish Gambino
John Butler performs solo on Sunday 12th April at Bluesfest Byron Bay. Check out the full lineup here.