"I always tell people that life's a journey, not a destination," says Butch Walker, as he reflects on what it felt like to finally achieve his childhood dreams. "When you feel like you've hit the destination, there's a point of freak-out there."
Flushed with success as a producer and songwriter for multiplatinum artists such as Pink and Avril Lavigne, Walker was finally enjoying the fruits of his labor. After finishing a successful solo tour, Walker moved all of his possessions – including everything he had accumulated from almost 20 years of touring – into a beautiful Malibu house he rented from Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.
"I definitely was having this massively proud moment in my life of feeling like I had, for better or for worse, hit the end of the road at 38, feeling like I had already seen and done everything," he says. "I had everything I ever wanted, the whole rock 'n' roll pipe dream. And when I finally got there, I couldn't feel anything."
Everything changed in an instant last November when wildfires ripped through the community, destroying Walker's home and everything in it.
That life-changing experience provided the inspiration for his latest effort, Sycamore Meadows, which showcases some of Walker's most honest songwriting to date. With such introspective songs as "Ships in a Bottle" and "ATL," Walker opens up about the journey that started with humble beginnings in Rome, Ga., and eventually led him to Atlanta.
"It was probably, more than anything, the fire that triggered so much nostalgia, memories and emotions for me," Walker says. "I was able to pull a lot of influence from my upbringing and struggling as a musician in Atlanta over the years to this record."