UptheAlbion.com, the Libs & Shambles encyclopedia. Find us on Facebook and Youtube.

Sign up

Bernard Butler

Person overview


Bernard Butler (born Bernard Joseph Butler, 1 May 1970 in Stamford Hill, East London) is an English musician and record producer.

He first achieved fame in 1992 as the guitarist with Suede, at the time an instant phenomenon in UK pop music. He co-wrote and played guitars on every track until 1994, when he left Suede over personal tensions within the band during the recording of their second album, Dog Man Star. He was replaced by Richard Oakes.

In between his own projects he has played on and produced records by many bands including The Libertines.
According to Butler, whose manager at the time was Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis, it was Travis who, in 2002, suggested that he might like to produce The Libertines. Butler thought they had great songs but they "sounded like a total mess". The former Suede guitarist produced The Libertines' debut single 'What a Waster'. The single reached #37 in the UK Singles Chart; however, Mick Jones (formerly of The Clash) was chosen to record The Libertines debut album Up the Bracket. Butler stated that he was meant to do the second single and the album but a combination of The Libertines' relentless touring and Butler's work-induced breakdown in 2002 meant that it never happened, so the band did the album with Mick Jones.

In a 2002 interview, Carl Barat said on working with Butler: "We didn't make a deliberate move to get him in. Really, he came to us. He had heard the tunes and liked what we played and he came and asked us if he could produce the record. He is a really cool guy though. He can be a bit of a perfectionist, but he doesn't mess around with our sound."

The Libertines' 2003 single "Don't Look Back Into the Sun" saw the return of Bernard Butler as producer. The lyrical quality of the song was praised, and the single held as a prime example of Doherty and Barât's songwriting talents. However, Doherty did not work well with Butler and was rarely present during the recording process. As a result, the song had to be pieced together from the vocals he provided, with Butler himself recording Doherty's guitar parts.

Later, the band asked Butler to produce their second record, starting with 'Death on the Stairs', which he loved. But Doherty would keep disappearing. Butler stated, "He and Carl weren't getting on. I worked Pete really hard. When he fucked up I told him he was a cunt and he didn't like it. He’d come in, do one take then say, ‘That’s my vocal.’ And want to leave and I’d tell him to come and listen to how shit it was. I’m proud I did that. ‘Don’t Look Back Into the Sun’ was a great pop song, but so many of their great songs have been thrown away. The second album was dull; it was all about themselves and their perceived relationship. The truth is, at the time those songs were written, they didn’t have any relationship. It was heartbreaking but, because of all those drugs, Pete became a lazy fuck.” The band began recording their second album with Butler, but the relationship between Doherty and Butler was as unsuccessful as before and the attempts were soon abandoned.

NameBernard Butler

Full nameBernard Joseph Butler

Born54 years, 1.May 1970
Stamford Hill, East London, UK