Butch was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been performing drums/percussion/voice for over 55 years. Butch studied with renowned San Francisco Symphony percussionists, Anthony Cirone and Joe Sinai. His drumset studies were under the guidance of Jim Spelman, Scott Morris, and Mike Curotto. At the age of 17, he started making a living playing in the nightclubs of Northern California.
In 1980, he relocated to Southern California to study with master percussionist John Bergamo at California Institute of the Arts, focusing on World Music and percussion.
Butch composed and performed with Lorretta Livingston and Dancers for the “Music Center On Tour” educational outreach program, and started an affiliation with the Bella Lewitsky Dance Company. He is a founding member of the percussion duo, Damaru. He appeared in the Mike Kelly/Steve Prina/Anita Pace production of Beat of the Traps, which premiered in Vienna, Austria at the very first “Wiener Fest Wochen Art Festival.”
Butch recorded and toured with Mercury recording artists Lowen & Navarro from 1989 to 1992.
In 1993, he met a man called “E” and toured with him in support of E’s second solo album, “Broken Toy Shop,” on Polygram Records.
In 1995, E and Butch formed the band called EELS and were the first band signed to the new Dreamworks record label in 1996. Their first single “Novocaine For The Soul” garnered them several video nominations for “Video of the Year” and won “Best New Artist” at the European Brit Music Awards in 1997. The EELS’ songs can be heard in movies such as “Shrek,” “Shrek 2,” “Welcome To The Whoop Whoop,” “Road Trip,” “American Beauty,” “Scream 2,” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” to name a few.
In 2002, after five albums with The EELS, Butch left to tour and record with fellow Dreamworks artist, Rufus Wainwright, in support of his album “Poses.”
In 2003 and 2004, he toured with Tracy Chapman in support of her album, “Let It Rain.”
Butch has worked with producer T-Bone Burnett on projects, including “The Big Lebowski.” He has played on tracks for Michael Penn, Tracy Chapman, Rob Dickinson, The McGarrigle Sisters, Fiona Apple, Peter Bradley Adams, Tracy Bonham, and renowned poet Rich Ferguson, as well as the soundtracks for “Rated X,” “Get Carter,” Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects,” Al Pacino’s “Two For The Money,” “The Bad News Bears,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” and Warner Bros. epic movie, “300.”
Butch released his first solo effort on Chisel Sound Records (an independent DJ label/2006) called “BUTCH BEATS: ORIGINAL DRUM BREAKS VOL. I & II.”
2007 saw Butch join the legendary Grammy-winning artist, Lucinda Williams, as her permanent drummer.
As of summer 2019, Butch has recorded and toured Lucinda’s last five records: “LITTLE HONEY,” “BLESSED,” “DOWN WHERE THE SPIRIT MEETS THE BONE,” “THE GHOSTS OF HIGHWAY 20,” and the reimagining of “THIS SWEET OLD WORLD.”
As Lucinda’s backing band, BUICK 6 (Butch Norton, David Sutton, Stuart Mathis), has released their own instrumental extravaganzas on Lucinda’s HIGHWAY 20 RECORDS label: “PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS” and their new release “MUSIC FROM AN IMAGINARY DOCUMENTARY.”
In 2019, BUICK 6 backed LU on her CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD 20th Anniversary Tour to sold out venues all over the world. Working with producer RAY KENNEDY (from the CAR WHEELS sessions) Lucinda and BUICK 6 just released “GOOD SOULS, BETTER ANGELS” on HIGHWAY 20 RECORDS (Thirty Tigers) in April of 2020. As soon as the world opens back up, LU and the boys will be out on the road performing this new record.
Butch has teamed up with fellow drummer MICHAEL JEROME (Richard Thompson, Better Than Ezra, Lizz Wright, Blind Boys of Alabama) for a new duo project, called “A.K.A. BUTCH JEROME.” They’ve just released their first independent ethnic, eclectic, experimental percussion record, “LA PRIMA LINGUA.” It’s available on all platforms, Summer 2019.