Jon Butcher - lead vocals, guitar; Chris Martin - bass; Derek Bievins - drums
Recorded shortly after the release of his debut LP in March of 1983, this showcase was captured for the highly hyped Jon Butcher Axis—a power trio shaped in the image of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Axis is remembered today as a breakout Boston band at the dawn of the MTV area.
This is the first of two powerful performances recorded in Butcher's hometown for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. An amalgamation of the early and late show would later be released as a live album on the King Biscuit label. Of the material performed at this show, the two best tracks are both covers: Bad Company's "Shooting Star" and the Buddy Holly classic, "Not Fade Away," which closes the show. "Life Takes A Life," which was a moderate MTV video hit, is another highpoint. His rhythm section of Derek Bievins on drums and bassist Chris Martin should also be noted. They play with a belly of fire and intensity.
Although Jon Butcher would never break through as a big star—either in the U.S. or abroad—his exceptional musicianship and powerful vocals gained him a loyal and determined cult following. And while he still records and tours to this day, Butcher first forged his reputation amongst contemporaries as heir apparent to rock guitar potentate Jimi Hendrix thanks to shows like this one. In the end, that passing of the torch failed to transpire, but not before Butcher got to write and record a string of impressive, moderately well-received songs and albums.
Born and raised near Boston, Butcher was actually inspired to pick up the guitar as a toddler watching Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and other singing cowboys on Saturday morning television. By the time he was in high school, he was fully committed to the rock 'n' roll cause. By the early-1980s, Butler had formed his first version of Axis, and was playing to packed clubs in downtown Boston.
He was discovered by J. Geils Band lead singer, Peter Wolf, who helped get Butcher and the Axis trio a two-album deal with Polydor. Butcher eventually dropped the name Axis, and changed the band around when he moved over to Capitol Records in the mid-1990s. He currently remains a regular road warrior, touring several months a year.