There was a time in the early/mid 1980’s when it seemed as if the Jon Butcher Axis was going to explode on the national scene. The trio — led by guitarist/singer/songwriter Jon Butcher and including drummer Derek Blevins and bassist Chris Martin — toured nationally with The J. Geils Band before it had a major label deal and then signed with Polygram. The band released two critically acclaimed discs for the label, Jon Butcher Axis in 1983 and 1984’s Stare at the Sun. They were heroes on their home turf, got local airplay thanks to strong tracks such as “Life Takes a Life,” and had a powerful live show focused on Butcher’s exotic stage presence and innovative guitar work. But the band’s varied sound never quite caught on with the general public, despite a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Performance (for 1985’s “The Ritual”) and gigs like a slot on the syndicated “King Biscuit Flower Hour” radio program. Butcher swapped labels and continued to release discs, including Along the Axis in 1985, Wishes in 1986 (which eventually achieved gold status), and 1988’s Pictures From the Front. The band broke up in 1991, but Butcher continues to record with the band Barefoot Servants (more Hendrix than Dylan), release solo discs, and do TV and movie soundtrack work. He operates Electric Factory Studios in Los Angeles.
(by Dean Johnson)
Published on December 28, 2012