>>VIDEO: Mr. Butch on life and death, in music and words
UPDATED 7 PM: Mr. Butch's death in a scooter accident earlier today has been confirmed by several sources. A memorial service is scheduled for Monday, July 16, at the adjacent Ritual Arts and Regeneration Records on Harvard Avenue in Allston, both favorites of the deceased. Butch's age is a matter of no small mystery, the most definitive source seeming to have been this piece, but best guesses are that he was somewhere between 55 and 57 years old. Reminiscences have been pouring in throughout the day, and we'll be printing an official obit as well as some personal recollections in the next issue. If you would like to share your memories of Butch for publication, post in the comments section below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out of the too-numerous anecdotes we heard today about Butch, our favorite came from Providence Phoenix staff writer Ian Donnis, who in the mid-'80s interviewed Butch several times for the Boston University Daily Free Press. On one occasion, Donnis was looking to interview Butch for the short-lived magazine Streets. At the time, Butch kept his guitar in the old Strawberries Records and Tapes shop in Kenmore Square, and Donnis stopped in looking for him. The manager said Butch had just left to get dinner. Donnis arrived at a nearby Japanese restaurant to find Mr. Butch seated before an impressive spread of sushi -- improbable scenes like this were part of Butch's legend. Butch greeted him warmly and invited him to share the meal. Later, Donnis and some friends took Butch along with them to the Channel to see the Butthole Surfers, with Butch crashing in the van while Donnis and pals went in to see the show. Later, Donnis became separated from his friends -- they'd left without him -- and, without making a big fuss about it, Butch loaned Donnis $20 to get a cab home. To the people who will recall Butch only as a guy who was always looking for a handout, we respectfully disagree: if Butch had little in the way of earthly goods, it was often because he lived so generously, in every sense of the word.
Thanks to local producer/noise musician/photographer Bill T. Miller's definitive web site www.mrbutchshow.com for video and audio of the late Mr. Butch. The clips in the video below were recorded by Miller in 2004 and 2005.
VIDEO: Remembering Mr. Butch: The Kenmore Square folk hero on life and death, in words and music(Via local producer/noise musician Bill T. Miller's fantastic www.mrbutchshow.com)
>> Mr. Butch at MySpace>> Mr. Butch at YouTube>> Mr. Butch at Wikipedia>> Clips from S.G. Collins's documentary Searching for Mr. Butch
The Boston Police Deparment this afternoon confirmed a "motorcycle/scooter" fatality on Cambridge Street in Allston this morning involving a 47-50 year old male. They haven't yet released a name, but some indications -- including some great shoe-leather reporting by the folks over at the Lemmingtrail Board -- are that the victim is the legendary Mr. Butch, who in another era was known as the King of Kenmore Square, but following the gentrification of that area (and the bulldozing of his old HQ, the Rat) moved up into Allston.
Ironically, many Lemmingtrail boarders worried late last month that Butch, who'd somehow come into posession of a Vespa-like scooter and was seen tearing around Allston on it, was a threat to himself and others. There were conflicting reports earlier today that Butch had been hospitalized and released, but the BPD announcement appears to bode for the worst.
Butch has been known to and generally adored by generations of students, rockers, and late-night drinkers. Although he'd been around for decades, his popularity has never waned. His fans were far more numerous than the paltry 621 friends he had on MySpace, and he was voted Boston's "Best Neighborhood Character" by Phoenix readers in 2007 and 2006.
>>UPDATE 4 pm: The Noise board chimes in with definitive-sounding details indicating that Butch is indeed dead, including plans for a memorial service on Monday, July 16 at Ritual Arts in Allston.