Bernard Butler (born 1 May 1970, Stamford Hill, North London) is an English musician and record producer. He has been noted as one of Britain's most original and influential guitarists and is often seen performing with a 1961 cherry red Gibson ES-355.
In 1989 he forged a songwriting partnership with Brett Anderson forming the group Suede co-writing and playing guitars on every recording until 1994. Taking 3 1/2 years to emerge the group appeared fully formed with 1992’s classic debut “The Drowners” , followed by hits “Metal Mickey”, the top 10 “Animal Nitrate” and the number 2 epic “Stay Together”. The Mercury Prize winning debut “Suede” became the fastest selling record chart topper in years creating a media frenzy. The defining “Dog Man Star”, a sprawling concept of rare ambition resulted in Butler’s untimely exit, determined to bang rather than fizzle out. The group continued without Butler and his contribution will remain the defining moment in the band’s history.
Immediately he collaborated with the singer David McAlmont on what was intended as a one-off burst of pop, heralded by the anthemic ”Yes". The hit song was bound together by experimental b-sides taking in folk, soul and art rock directions serving to confuse when bookended as the compilation “The Sound Of…McAlmont & Butler”. The album was preceded by the torch like “You Do” before the split leaving an intriguing footprint across Britpop’s otherwise jingoist, hedonistic landscape. Butler signed to Creation Records releasing two solo albums, the acclaimed "People Move On" yielding the hit single "Stay", and "Friends and Lovers” before the collapse of the legendary label. In 2001 Butler teamed up with McAlmont for a second McAlmont and Butler album, Bring it Back, and they toured the UK after the release of two singles, "Falling" and "Bring it Back".
In 2004 Butler formed a new band with Brett Anderson, The Tears, releasing their debut LP, "Here Come The Tears", produced by Butler, in June 2005. Singles include the top 10 "Refugees", and "Lovers" alongside a wealth of acclaimed b-sides.
In 2005 he was introduced to Welsh singer Duffy and contributed to her five million-selling debut album Rockferry, which was nominated for three Grammy Awards. Butler produced and co-wrote the title track, as well as "Syrup & Honey", "Please Stay" for "Telstar - The Movie" and co-wrote "Smoke Without Fire", which was used in the 2009 film An Education.
He has worked extensively as a producer, making records for The Libertines, Tricky, Black Kids, Kate Nash, Nerina Pallot, Teleman, Findlay Brown, Daley, The Cribs, James Morrison, Frankie & The Heartstrings, Texas and Paloma Faith. Butler won the Producer's Award at the 2009 BRIT Awards, Producer of the Year at the 2008 Music Managers Forum Awards, and was nominated for Best Producer at the 2009 Music Week Awards .
Between 2000-10 Butler played many shows with the legendary folk guitarist Bert Jansch, featuring on his albums "Crimson Moon" and "Edge Of A Dream" sometimes joined by Johnny Marr and Beth Orton. After Jansch's untimely death a Royal Festival Hall tribute concert saw Butler accompany Robert Plant amongst the pantheon of folk’s remaining heroes.
He has played guitar on records by Aimee Mann, Bryan Ferry, Roy Orbison and Neneh Cherry.
In August 2013, Butler played two shows at The Slaughtered Lamb in London, UK, accompanying Ben Watt on electric guitar, which led to his appearance on Watt's second album "Hendra" . They have toured extensively during 2013-14 including the UK , USA and Japan.
In October 2013, Butler's new group Trans released the Red EP, the first in a series of EPs featuring tracks grown out of improvisational sessions with Jackie McKeown, Paul Borchers and Igor Volk. The recordings were made at Butler's own Studio 355, all sessions improvised, recorded in their entirety and later edited with very few overdubs. The Green EP followed in March 2014.
In May 2014 McAlmont & Butler played two celebrated London shows in support of the Bobath Centre assisting children with cerebral palsy. In 2015 Butler prepared an extensive reissue set for 1995's "The Sound Of..." through Demon Records. The Deluxe box was followed by a short UK tour culminating in a sell out at London's Roundhouse. Ben Watt's follow up "Fever Dream" was recorded shortly after and the pair again toured Japan, the USA and the UK in support.
2016 saw the release of the long awaited solo album by Kate Jackson "British Road Movies". Released to critical acclaim the album was co-written and produced by Butler who also performed most of the instrumentation. He has also produced Mark Eitzel's celebrated "Hey Mr Ferryman" - recorded in a short burst at Studio 355 in London and released via Merge in 2017. The debut from newcomers Pace, and the debut album by NYC rock group QTY were also completed during this time . The long-standing partnership with Duffy was reignited when the pair collaborated on a version of Nina Simone's "I Put A Spell On You" as accompanying score to Burberry's Black campaign. The song was recorded live in one complete take at the legendary Abbey Road Studio 1, Duffy performing in the middle of the room surrounded by orchestra and Butler's core band. The pair continue to collaborate on new material.
In 2017 Butler spent mny weeks helping in the development of new artist Delilah Montague, collaborated with Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers, and began a radio show "BB & The King". Broadcast live from North London via Boogaloo Radio each Friday, Bernard Butler and partner Mark Kingston bring 2 hours of music and conversation around an episodic theme. Each week is archived via a Mixcloud page. He continues to work on his own material as well as McAlmont & Butler.