- Butch Walker strikes a rock-and-roll pose onstage, moments before the 1970s asked for its sign back.
Singer-songwriter Butch Walker might have just made the biggest mistake of his career. Last month, he released Cover Me Badd, a live EP (available only on iTunes) consisting of various cover songs. It rocketed into the online music service's top 10.
Now, the 35-year-old Walker -- a Los Angeles vet who fronted '90s pop-rockers the Marvelous 3, wrote songs for Avril Lavigne, and produced the Donnas, among others -- is in danger of becoming known as the guy who sings other people's songs. "People come to me after shows and say, 'I love your Kelly Clarkson cover ["Since U Been Gone"],'" he sighs. "They don't say a single thing about my own songs."
Still, the tunes on Badd range from sincere (a faithful cover of Elvis Costello's "Allison") to sly (a Queen medley that climaxes with an operatic "Bohemian Rhapsody"). "I grew up on equal parts cock rock, hair metal, punk, and over-the-top glam metal," says Walker, who's on the road testing new material for a CD due sometime next year. "What else can I do? I can't be a rocket scientist." Walker plays the Cambridge Room at House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue) at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $12, available by calling 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci
My Kind of Music
You're the DJ at iPod Nights.
Brian Lowe knows a craze when he hears one. Inspired by "no-wax nights" in the U.K., he's brought the trend to town for House of Blues' iPod Nights. "The next wave is the digital-file event, because it seems everybody has an iPod," says Lowe, HOB's marketing manager. Every Wednesday night, clubgoers can plug their digital music players into the club's sound system and contribute three-song sets. On the horizon: a Gong Show-like game in which the audience judges the contestants' song choices. "At this point, we're not pulling the plug on anybody," says Lowe. "You're going to hear some things you like and don't like. But feel free to cheer or boo as you deem fit." iPod Night starts at 10 p.m. in the Cambridge Room at House of Blues, 308 Euclid Avenue. Admission is free. For more information, call 216-274-3340. -- Cris Glaser
More Than Jake
One of Letterman's favorite comics comes to town.
To hear comedian Jake Johannsen tell it, he comes from a small town in Iowa. A very small town. "Dad's the mayor," he offers in his trademark befuddled and bewildered delivery. "We elect the mayor by radio. Dad was the fifth caller." A longtime favorite of David Letterman, Johannsen has made frequent appearances on the comedy-television circuit over the past 20 years -- including an HBO special that snared him a CableACE Award nomination in 1992. Johannsen performs at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre (2035 East Fourth Street) Thursday through Sunday. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $12 to $23, available by calling 216-241-7425. -- P.F. Wilson
THU 11/10 Three years ago, Nashville singer-songwriter David Mead finished his third album of rustic folk music. Then his record company merged with another, he was dropped, and the CD never came out. Six songs from that album were released last summer as Wherever You Are. Mead's on the road supporting the EP, with a stop at Wilbert's (812 Huron Road) at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $10; call 216-902-4663. -- Michael Gallucci