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The John Butler Trio

Good Excuse North America Tour

Call him what you will -- musician, advocate, educator, guru, family man -- John Butler and the rest of his Trio are taking the roots music genre to a whole new level. Touted as revolutionary in effortlessly blending blues, jazz, rock, reggae and soul, John Butler spoke to SF Station about his US tour and what heíd like the fans to take away from each concert.

SF Station (SFS): Youíre known for your political stances, environmental advocacy and family values and they often come through in your lyrics. Is there a song that is most meaningful to you?

John Butler (JB): It depends on which aspect of my life you want to talk about. My life is made up of family, music, politics -- itís all part of this mixed up thing called life. I express certain things at different times. "Peaches n Cream" [on previous album Sunrise Over Sea] is definitely written from a fatherís perspective. Whereas "Fire in Sky" [on new album
Grand National] is about war and "Used to Get High" is about escape.

"Used to Get High" is important to me because it touches on everything: self confidence, escape, politics, drug abuse. Itís a whole canvas explaining why I see the world the way it is -- you canít have peace on the outside if you donít have it on the inside.

SFS: Actually, I have noticed that Grand National takes quite a different skew to your previous album Sunrise Over Sea. Youíve become more personal -- why the change?

JB: It depends how you divide the album. "Funky Tonight", "Daniella" and "Grooviní Slowly" are songs written about the love I have for my wife, but then others like "Better Than", "Fire in the Sky" etc. are about the world. This album is more universal in meaning rather than focussing on specifics. You walk away with a bit more on Grand National. Iíve brought it closer to the human heart, you canít talk about war and poverty without talking about the human being.

SFS: During your US tour, is there one message that youíd like your audience to take away with them?

JB: The same thing I want to take away. I want an experience. Before we go out on stage, I pray with the band that we may all leave the venue a better person than when we entered it. I want them [the audience] to feel my passion and intent to make the world a better place. Itís not enough just to make music. I could do that from my lounge room Ė I want to connect with people.

SFS: In your music you inspire to change the world, what are some things your fans could do at an individual level?

JB: Just follow their heart. Itís so important for everybody in order to be happy.

SFS: Finally, if San Franciscan audiences were to get to
know John Butler on a personal level, how would you spend an ideal Sunday afternoon?

JB: Oh! I would start with a walk on the beach. Make some lunch. Have coffee -- good coffee. Go home or go back to the beach. Lay out on the grass with the kids and my wife. Then head home to make a great pasta!

The John Butler Trio performs at The Warfield Sun Dec 2nd. For more information, check out