August 16, 2011

Rock Music was an Acquired Taste, Even for Charlie Butten

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Rock and roll drew its inspiration from the blues and country music as well as jazz and classical music. Rock music became widely popular starting in the 1960s, which led to the development of sub-genres in the decades to come, including heavy metal and punk rock. Although Charlie Butten, one of early founding members of Clear-Com, is a sound engineering genius, he actually had to acquire his taste for rock music –the same way one acquires a taste for coffee or olives.
In the mid 1970s, Charlie was working at Don Wehr’s Music City, which fixed instruments and amplifiers for rock bands in San Francisco’s North Beach. Although he was very skilled in repairing guitars, he was unfamiliar with rock music itself.
One day, an English rock band called Cream was visiting and they needed someone to convert their amplifiers to American power. For the next two weeks, Charlie was assigned to get that job done, which he did with such excellence that he was offered an opportunity to be their sound expert. This was his first extensive exposure to rock music and he began to start liking it.

Passman, Arnie. “Such Sweet Thunder: Charlie Butten and his Earthy Sound System.” Rolling Stone. 1971. Mature Musician. 16 August 2011

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