John Butler

John Butler is a British singer/songwriter who released a couple solo albums around the turn of the century but was most successful as the frontman of the band Diesel Park West. Born on April 17, 1954, he was a founding member of Diesel Park West, originally formed in Leicester, England, in 1980. Comprised of Butler (vocals, guitar), Rick Willson (guitar, vocals), Geoff Beavan (bass), and David Smith (drums), the band released its debut single, "When the Hoodoo Comes," in 1987 on the independent label Food Records. The single got some airplay, and in turn EMI signed the band to a major-label recording contract. Diesel Park West made their full-length album debut in 1989 with Shakespeare Alabama and experienced some initial success, garnering critical accolades and reaching number 55 on the U.K. albums chart. Subsequent major-label releases -- The Hoodoo EP (1989), the odds-and-ends compilation Flipped (1990), and the sophomore album Decency (1992) -- were less successful, however, and the band was consequently dropped by EMI, which later compiled the best-of collection Left Hand Band for release in 1997. Meanwhile, Diesel Park West released a couple successive full-length albums independently, Diesel Park West vs. the Corporate Waltz (1993) and FreakGene (1995), and experienced some more critical accolades but precious little commercial success. It was at this point that the band's frontman and primary songwriter, Butler, embarked on a solo career, releasing the major-label effort The Loyal Serpent on Chrysalis. Once again, the album was well received from a critical standpoint but was relatively unsuccessful commercially, and Butler was dropped from Chrysalis. Diesel Park West subsequently regrouped for a couple more independently released albums, HIPReplacement (1998) and Thought for Food (2000), and Butler released a second solo album, Worthless Bastard Rock (2001), on the independent label Mystic Records. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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