From The Desk Of Butch Walker: Michael Jackson

Butch Walker built his reputation with hard-hitting, self-produced rock albums marked by a bright, polished sound. When he set out to make Afraid Of Ghosts, an LP partially inspired by the death of his father, he decided to forget about perfection and aim for a more visceral, acoustic feel. The songs on Afraid Of Ghosts were written over the course of a year, then recorded with Ryan Adams and his band in a four-day burst of creativity. It’s the first time Walker worked with an outside producer. Walker will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new feature on him.


Walker: Never before has their been such an incredibly diverse and genre-bending artist than Michael. All my metalhead friends back in school fucking loved him. There was always one kid in school who rocked the glove and the jacket that you could buy at Chess King or the Merry Go Round boutique at the mall. Even all the redneck, country-music-lovin’, God-fearing jocks in the South loved him because their girlfriends liked him. Every Christmas or Thanksgiving, I would hear at least one asshole racist relative at the dinner table even say, “Well … he’s one of the good ones.” Or something stupid like that. Michael broke down the racial barriers, made it cool to be be a feminine dude, all while having this sexy-as-hell bravado at the same time. It was always weaving in and out of the fabric of my youth, from the skating-rink make-out sessions between the Pac Man machine (“PYT”) or getting me all choked up over a girlfriend who just left me for the quarterback (“She’s Out Of My Life”). He would make you a soft, exposed romantic one minute, then the next minute, have Eddie Van Halen ripping guitar solos on his shit (“Beat It”). Tragic what fame does to some people. I will always hold him in the highest regard.