Like any proper frontman for a band with trials seemingly tailor-made for a VH1 "Behind the Music" special, Jesse Butterworth's story has plenty of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. But unlike like his musical contemporaries who we won't even bother to namedrop, the drama isn't of the seedy, illegal or scandalous variety. Instead, the trials that Butterworth has endured could be chalked up to the unexpected, unpleasant, unrelenting hard knocks of life-something he's experienced plenty of during the course of the past two years. As for the sex and drugs? More on that later.
Just in case a name like Butterworth doesn't immediately ring a bell, let's start with a few details. He served as the singer and guitarist for a critically acclaimed, Dove Award-nominated rock outfit called Daily Planet-a venture that started with three close friends during his college days at Azusa Pacific University in California.
But more than just a way to kill time between classes, the band gained a regional following and eventually attracted the attention of the Nashville-based label, Reunion Records. Then one move across the country later to Music City, the band quickly had a debut record to its credit, No. 1 radio hits and an opportunity to play in front of more people.
But "all that glitters is not gold," as the old adage goes. And it wasn't long into the band's tenure that this truth became an unfortunate reality. It was during a show on the West coast when everything changed for Daily Planet. At the conclusion of the band's popular '80s medley, Butterworth did his signature leap from the drum riser, but this time he did not land on his feet. Landing awkwardly, he suffered the grisly kind of leg break you can't bounce back from without some major healing time. Unable to tour and promote their record, Daily Planet found itself without a record deal, or a tour and wondered if it would be feasible to continue.
"Walking away from the band was something that none of us were really prepared to do. I mean, it had never really entered our minds before then," Butterworth recalls. "But we all really felt God pulling us in different directions, and at the end of the day, it was our families that were the most important to all of us, not whether the band makes it or breaks it."
With the band officially over, Butterworth and his wife, Marisa, decided to move from their new Music City home back to the West coast to regroup and decide what's next. After jars of pain medication, (hence the drugs part of the story), six months of rehab for his leg injury and the surprise announcement that his wife was expecting a baby Butterworth, (hence the sex part of the story), Butterworth still couldn't keep music off his mind and found plenty of new inspiration for the songs that would become part of a solo EP.
"Leaving Nash Vegas has brought a whole new perspective on my life in a very welcomed way," Butterworth says. "When you live in a city where almost everyone you meet has something to do with the music biz, you can't help but feel slightly trapped. After leaving Nashville under less-than-ideal circumstances, I would find myself sitting in my living room all by myself and picking up my guitar. Not because I needed to practice or because I wanted to write a 'hit' but because I had to. I have to write and sing. It's the most effective tool that I have to express myself."
With impending fatherhood, more songs on the creative burner and his first book, Catch Your Breath, that'll hit shelves in 2005, Butterworth has a promising future ahead of him, despite all the setbacks. "Even through all of the setbacks and downfalls over this last year, I feel like I've fallen in love with music again. The best way I can explain it is the difference between a writer who writes for the purpose of being published or the writer who writes because he has to. I would much rather be the latter."
Full Name: William Jesse Butterworth, III
Birthday: October 25th, 1977
Most played albums on my Ipod: Sara Groves 'All Right Here', James Taylor 'Hourglass', Ben Folds 'Rockin' The Suburbs', Switchfoot 'Beautiful Letdown', Rufus Wainwright 'Want One', Chris Rice 'Smell The Color Nine', The Beatles 'Abbey Road', Elton John 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', Counting Crows 'Hard Candy', Butterfly Boucher 'Flutterby', Gabe Dixon Band 'On A Rolling Ball', John Mayer 'Room For Squares', Gavin DeGraw 'Chariot'... I could go on forever.
Favorite Movie Quote: "So there I was, fresh off a destroyer, with nothin' but a dance belt and a tube of chap stick." Christopher Guest in Waiting For Guffman
Favorite Food: Buffalo wings smothered with Mrs. Butterworth's syrup.
Or Mrs. Butterworth smothered with buffalo wings. Either one.
Favorite Childhood Toy: I was really into the Ninja from G.I. Joe.
He could fight in any weather and never wear shoes or a shirt.
Why? Because he's a ninja.
Best Advice: 'If you can't laugh at yourself, you're missing out on
the best joke of all.'
Here's what people have said about Jesse Butterworth and Daily Planet:
A breath of fresh rockin' air. - The Dallas Morning News
The music is solid and Jesse is freakin' hilarious- and he's a great hugger. (Don't ask). - The Tennessean
A strong first impression, positioned for a promising future. - Music News & Review
Thoughtful lyrics and superb musical overtures. - Crosswalk.com
Superb songwriting. - CBA Market
An intelligent, powerful and passionate brand of rock. - Amazon.com
He reaches out and truly connects with you. - TSRocks.com
He never ceases to blow me away with his incredible talent and knack for writing a great song. If his lyrics and music don't move you, nothing will! -The J Man Review
Radio: #1 CHR 'Flying Blind', #1 CHR 'Every Moment', Top Ten CHR 'By Surprise', Top Ten CHR 'Everything Revolves'
Awards: Dove Nominee Best New Artist of the Year (Daily Planet), and Best Rock Song. Recognized by SESAC, Brentwood Benson Publishing, and Reunion Records for outstanding writing achievements in 2002 and 2003. Daily Planet's 'Hero' album landed on these top ten lists: Radio and Records, Christianity Today, CMCentral.