Butts Band

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1972-73)
- Phillip Chen -- bass 
- Roy Davis -- keyboards 
- John Densmore -- drums, percussion 
- Robbie Kreiger -- vocals,  guitar 
- Jess Roden -- vocals, rhythm guitar 


  supporting musicians:

- Larry McDonald -- congas

- Allan Sharp -- congas

- Mick Weaver -- keyboards


  line up 2 (1975)

NEW - Mike Berkowitz -- drums 
- John Densmore -- drums, percussion 

- Robbie Kreiger -- vocals,  guitar 
NEW - Alex Richman -- vocals, keyboards (replaced Roy Davies)
NEW - Karl Ruckner -- bass (replaced Phillip Chen) 
NEW - Michael Stull -- vocals, guitar, keyboards (replaced 

  Roy Davis)


 supporting musicians:

- Bobbi Hall -- congas




- Bronco (Jess Roden)
- The Doors (John Densmore and Robbie Krieger)
- Robbie Krieger (solo efforts)
- Jess Roden Band


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Butts Band

Company: Blue Thumb

Catalog: BTS-63

Country/State: US/UK

Year: 1973

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring and edge wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2050

Price: $20.00


In the wake of Jim Morrison's tragic death, the three surviving Doors staggered along releasing a pair of marginal album. 1972 found drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robbie Kreiger and singer/keyboardist Ray Manzarek in London looking for a replacement for the late Morrison.   They auditioned a numnber of singers including  Kevin Coyne (of the band Siren), Jess Roden (then with Bronco), and Howard Werth (of Audience).  Werth was apparently the heir apparent, but at the last minute Manzaerk had doubts abiut the whole project and returned to Los Angeles.   That left Densmore and Kreiger to decide The Doors nameplate had run out of creative steam, bringing a well deserved end to the band (at least until three decades later when Krieger and Manzarek tried to resurrect The Doors).  Still in London, Densmore and Kreiger decided to continue their musical collaboration.  They quickly decided to form a band, recruiting bassist Phillip Chen, keyboard player Roy Davis and vocalist Roden for the unfortunately named Butts Band. 


promo photo: left to right: Roden - Krieger - Densmore - Davis -- Chin

Signed to ABC's Blue Thumb subsidiary, the group's self-titled 1973 album was chiefly notably for being one of the year's most anonymous collections of rock. With Krieger and Roden contributing the majority of material there wasn't anything particularly wrong with the Bruce Botnick produced "Butts Band".  Roden was a decent (if anonymous) singer; all five members proved competent players their performances never less than professional.  Unfortunately, tracks such as 'Be with Me', 'Baja Bus' and 'Love Your Brother' just didn't generate much heat.  'I Won't Be Alone Anymore' and 'Sweet Danger' were decent FM rockers, while the live 'Kansas City' wasn't bad - credit Krieger's slashing slide guitar for at least generating some excitement.  Probably due to the fact half of the album was recorded in Jamaica, if you had to pick a standout track it was probably the reggae flavored 'Pop-a-Top'. Still, given all the talent in the lineup, the album stood as one of the year's bigger disappointments. (Congrats to Blue Thumb for coming up with such an inspirational album cover ...)   

"Butts Band" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I Won't Be Alone Anymore   (Robbie Krieger) - 4:35

Underscoring Roden's catchy voice, 'I Won't Be Alone Anymore' was a catchy FM-ready blues-rocker that was my choice for the album's best performance.  Great Hammond solo from Roy Davis and Krieger showed why he's one of rock's most talented, if frequently forgotten, guitarists.  rating: **** stars
2.) Baja Bus   (Robbie Krieger) - 4:41

A rollicking bar band rocker with a great great hook, it was easy to see why 'Baja Bus' was tapped as the album's single.   Nice electric piano from Davis and Chen laid down some truly funky bass lines during the song's extended instrumental fadeout.  (Larry McDonald on congas ...)    The track was tapped as an instantly obscure single:



- 1973's 'Baja Bus' b/w 'Pop-a-Top'  (Blue Thumb catalog number BTA 242)   rating: *** stars
3.) Sweet Danger   (Jess Roden) - 4:55

A dark, slightly ominous mid-tempo rockers, 'Sweet Danger' was another album highlight.   Always loved the cheesy synthesizers.  The song was also notable as one of the few spots where Krieger cut loose with a wonderful jazzy solo.   rating: **** stars
4.) Pop-a-Top   (Phil Chen - Jess Roden) - 3:25

Built on a reggae rhythm, 'Pop-a-Top' was the album's most blatantly commercial offering.   Fun song with Chen turning in some fascinating bass lines.  Roden sounded great on this one.   rating: *** stars

(side 2)

1.) Be with Me   (Robbie Krieger) - 4:25

A pleasant, radio-ready pop-rock tune, 'Be with Me' would not have sounded bad on your local top-40 radio station, though there's a good chance you would have mistaken it for Sanford-Townshend Band, or Pablo Cruise.   rating: *** stars 
2.) New Ways   (Jess Roden) - 3:57

One of three Roden originals, 'New Ways' was interesting for displaying some nice harmony vocals over a breezy bar band rocker.  Powered by Roden's raspy voice, the track actually sounded a bit like an early Bad Company effort.  Krieger kicked in some tasty slide guitar.  rating: *** stars
3.) Love Your Brothers   (Robbie Krieger) - 4:54

'Love Your Brothers' started out as a rather forgettable bluesy number; got a little better during the chorus and then went downhill when it shifted into a Mick Weaver organ workout.  Once again, Krieger's guitar work provided the highlights.  See the link below for a link to a live performance of the song.   rating: ** stars 
4.) Kansas City (live)   (J. Leiber - M. Stoler) - 4:04

The liner notes didn't indicated where it was recorded, but showcasing some great Krieger slide guitar, Mick Weaver of Wurlizter piano, and Roden tearing out his vocals chords, the live version of 'Kansas City' was the album's standout performance.   rating: **** stars


The band briefly toured the States in support of the album after which Densmore and Krieger decided to call it quits and the rest of the band went back in the UK.


For anyone interested, neither the sound or video quality are great, but YouTube has an extended clip of the band performing 'Love Your Brother' and 'Kansas City' on a 1974 appearance on the Midnight Special concert television show:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-X4VZaCRPU  Anyone know who the second drummer was ?






Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Hear and Now

Company: Blue Thumb

Catalog: BTS-6018

Year: 1975


Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 

Price: $15.00


By the time a follow-up was ready to record, Densmore and Krieger were the only original members left. Backed by an entirely new lineup consisting of second drummer Michael Berkowitz, vocalist /keyboard player Alex Richman, bassist Karl Ruckner and singer/guitarist Michael Stull, 1975's "Hear & Now" made you wonder what all the effort was for. Sporting two decent singers in Richman and Stull (though neither could match former vocalist Jess Roden), the band certain had talent, but there simply wasn't much in the way of originality.  Krieger was again responsible for the bulk of the ten tunes, with Richman contributing two songs and Stull turning in one tune.  Unfortunately, song for song the results were even more vapid and anonymous than the debut.  What little enthusiasm the debut had mustered was completely absent the second time around.  It's one of those albums where you're hard pressed to pick a standout performance ...  if backed into a corner and given no alternatives, I guess I'd got with Richman's funky 'Feelin' So Bad'.  Apparently aware they'd run out of steam, shortly after the album's release the group broke up; Krieger going on to an all but invisible solo career.  Probably not either Densmore, or Krieger's creative highpoint.  

"Hear & Now" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Get Up, Stand Up   (Bob Marley) - 3:36   rating: *** stars

Admittedly this cover wasn't about to make you forget the Bob Marley & the Wailers original, but all told it wasn't a half bad performance with new singer  Michael Stull turning in an impressive hard-rock edge to the performance.
2.) Corner of My Mind   (Robbie Krieger) - 4:36
   rating: *** stars

I remember hearing this song the first time and running to the turntable to see if I'd put an O.C. Smith album on by mistake.   I'd hadn't rather it turned out singer Stull had one of those deep soul tinged vocals that was well suited for "love man" styled ballads like 'Corner of My Mind'.   Pretty ballad, but probably a tad to adult contemporary for the band's true rock fans.   
3.) Caught in the Middle   (Robbie Krieger) - 3:22
   rating: *** stars

Opening up with some Densmore drums and percussion (including steel drums), 'Caught In the Middle' found the band wading into a light Carribbean groove.  I'd guess it was a leftover from the first album's Jamaican recording sessions.   The song was breezy and mildly enjoyable, but nothing special, unless you had a need to head some Holiday Inn lounge moves.  
4.) Everybody's Fool   (Alex Richman) - 2:45
   rating: *** stars

Written and sung by Richman, 'Everybody's Fools' was one of those AOR ballads that seemed to flood mid- and late-'70s airwaves.  As mentioned, she certainly had a technically impressive voice with a touch of Joplin-blues in it, but the song itself was rather anonymous.   A couple of minutes after hearing it you were hard pressed to remember anything about it. 
5.) Livin' and Dyin'   (Robbie Krieger - Lydia - Tegret) - 3:13
rating: ** stars

With Stull and Richman sharing lead vocals, 'Livin' and Dyin'' was probably side one's most commercial tune.  Don't mistake commercial with good given this  breezy number sounded like something a band like Pablo Cruise would have passed on - exceptionally adult contemporary-ish, this one would have slotted well on one of those late evening jazz shows that were momentarily popular.   Krieger at least turned in a tuneful solo on this one.  

(side 2)

1.) Don't Wake Up   (Robbie Krieger) - 4:13   rating: *** stars

Hum, 'Don't Wake Up' found the band taking a stab at Barry White getting funky ...   seriously forgettable.   Seriously, did Kreiger really write this ? 
2.) If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody   (Clark) - 4:04
  rating: ** stars

The lone non-original, ' If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody' was a decent soul-tinged ballad.  Once again the overall feel (particularly the sax solo), gave the song kind of an adult contemporary feel.
3.) Feelin' So Bad   (Alex Richman) - 4:18
   rating: *** stars

Richman's second song, 'Feelin' Bad' sounded like a half way decent Sly and the Family Stone slice of funk.   I liked her husky voice and suspect this one might have sounded a bit more energetic in a live situation.  
4.) White House   (Michael Stull) - 4:27
   rating: *** stars

Stull wrote it and handled the lead vocals - another pretty, easy going ballad that in isolation was actually quite good with kind of an early Steely Dan vibe.   Unfortunately packaged with the rest of the album it floated by without any redeeming qualities.   

5.) Act of Love   (Robbie Krieger) - 3:05   rating: *** stars

In spite of myself, I'll readily admit that I enjoyed the semi-funky 'Act of Love'.  Krieger actually showcased some of his talents on this one, while Stull really did have an impressive voice and you had to wonder what the album might have sounded like had he been surrounded with some quality material.   



For anyone interested, Richman's still active in music and has a Facebook page at:







Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Complete Recordings

Company: One Way

Catalog: OW 30993

Year: 1996


Grade (cover/record): --

Comments: CD format

Available: --

Catalog ID: --



Released by the One Way label, 1996's "The Complete Recordings" merely repackaged the two studio sets adding two non-LP cuts -Kreiger's 'That's All Right' and 'Lovin' You for All the Right Reasons'.  Absent any hidden treasures, you might as well locate the original LPs which can still be found at reasonable prices.

"The Complete Recordings" track listing:
1.) I Won't Be Alone Anymore (Robby Krieger) - 4:35
2.) Baja Bus (Robby Krieger) - 4:41
3.) Sweet Danger (Jess Roden) - 4:55
4.) Pop-a-Top (Phil Chen - Jess Roden) - 3:25
5.) Be with Me (Robby Krieger) - 4:25
6.) New Ways (Jess Roden) - 3:57
7.) Love Your Brothers (Robby Krieger) - 4:54
8.) Kansas City (live) (J. Leiber - M. Stoler) - 4:04
9.) Get Up, Stand Up (Bob Marley) - 3:36
10.) Corner of My Mind (Robbie Krieger) - 4:36
11.) Caught in the Middle (Robbie Krieger) - 3:22
12.) Everybody's Fool (Alex Richman) - 2:45
13.) Livin' and Dyin' (Robbie Krieger - Lydia - Tegret) - 3:13
14.) Don't Wake Up (Robbie Krieger) - 4:13
15.) If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody (Clark) - 4:04
16.) Feelin' So Bad (Alex Richman) - 4:18
17.) White House (Michael Stull) - 4:27
18.) Act of Love (Robbie Krieger) - 3:05
19.) That's All Right (Robbie Krieger) - 3:18
20.) Lovin' You for All the Right Reasons (Robbie Krieger) - 2:32