Alex Schultz on 13: “The songs were Lester Butler”

It’s clear that his time with 13 and Lester Butler has had an impact on guitarist Alex Schultz.

When talking with Schultz at the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival last year, he was open, engaging and honest. His experiences differ from some other musicians who worked with Butler over the years, as he fondly recalled the charismatic harp player and singer. And he was more than willing to talk about fleshing out the songs that would become “13 featuring Lester Butler,” his impressions of “Lester’s Legendary Last Gig” and his memories of someone who grew to be a close friend.

On that May day in 2011, Schultz had just gotten off stage where he performed several Butler songs with Pieter “Big Pete” van der Pluijm, Willie J. Campbell and Johnny Morgan. Schultz takes responsibility to be true to those songs and Butler’s memory.

“(The songs) were so unique, and they were so unique to this guy,” Schultz said. “The songs were Lester Butler, and he was such a unique person, unique character. So the songs and the music was kind of singular. They weren’t the type of tunes you would just say, ‘oh, let’s do a cover of that tune’.”

“We got very close as friends. And his approach to the music also was very, like, all-inclusive. You had to be like 110 percent into the music. That’s how he was … To play those songs was like very emotional. Imagine standing next to Lester Butler on stage every night. Some nights it was so incredible and he was so into the music and it was so real, and so I got drawn into it as well, and I played it that way.”

“So it became like an emotional experience to play that stuff. It’s not something you would casually do, and say, ‘oh yeah, let’s do ‘So Low Down.” If we’re going to do that, we’ve got to really feel it and go there.”

Listen to the Schultz interview here, edited for clarity and content:

MP3: Alex Schultz interview May 29, 2011 (26:01)

0:00-12:14: Playing songs from 13; the uniqueness of the music; working with Big Pete; contrasting Butler with William Clarke and Rod Piazza.
12:14-20:15: Writing the songs; demo sessions; “Plague of Madness”
20:15-26:01: How fans remember Butler; Schultz’s friendship with Butler; recovery; memories of Moulin 1998

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All photos by Tina Hanagan except the one with Schultz, Perry and Hanagan.

2 Responses to “Alex Schultz on 13: “The songs were Lester Butler””

  1. Keith Randall Says:

    This is great, thanks so much for this interview.

    It’s a nostalgic one for me because I interviewed Alex back in the 1990s for the British magazine ‘Blueprint’ and just like this interview, the background sounds almost prevented being able to hear what was said – although I hasten to add that the band in the background here sound very good.

    The questions and Alex’s response to them are intriguing, illuminating and inspirational. I’ve said elsewhere that Lester’s creativity and artistry is currently an inspiration to me and that is showing no sign of abating, I’m glad to say, and it’s a great pleasure. It’s wonderful to hear that he and Alex truly were soul-mates and therefore, Alex is inspiring me again, just like he always did in his Mighty Flyers days.

    I’ve also said elsewhere that I was completely off-track about Alex’ relationship (both musically and socially) with Lester. Wow, did I get that wrong! That ’13’ period is obviously a time that Alex rightly recalls with much pride, happiness and satisfaction. And that’s beyond cool – he deserves it.

    Thanks again for all that you’re doing – keep on!

  2. bobby cooper Says:

    upon further review
    it sounds like p 90 pick ups
    and perhaps he says “blow”
    it did for a minute there sound like alex. lol

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