Jon Butcher - lead vocals, guitar; Chris Martin - bass; Derek Bievins - drums; Guest: Stuart Kimball - guitar on "Around and Around" and "It's Only Words" (encore)
The Jon Butcher Axis was vying to be the '80s answer to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but the trio's clearly derivative sound and appearance would actually hurt their efforts. They had the same musical line-up (bass, drums, and heavy guitar); same physical make-up (a white rhythm section behind a flashy African American singer/guitarist); and even a subtle reminder in the band's name (Axis: Bold As Love was the name of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's second album). However, the band was pretty hot in its own right, and certainly didn't need the throwback Hendrix comparisons.
This is the second of two King Biscuit Flower Hour shows taped on the same night in March of 1983. An amalgamation of the early and late show would later be released as a live album released on the King Biscuit label. Butcher, like Hendrix, was positioned as a guitarist, but his real talent was in his voice, which skillfully blends both R&B and rock influences.
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.