Maestro Butts was interviewed by music writer Robert Von Bernewitz for the professional blog Musicguy247.com.
Robert Von Bernewitz is a guitarist and music lover - an ardent collector of classic vinyl recordings (dating back to Caruso!) - a high quality blues musician on Long Island.
His blog is devoted to a celebration of people involved in music - as performers, engineers, builders, and composers in all fields of music.
His blog has included interviews with Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), composer Brian Ferneyhough, Don Brewer (Grand Funk Railroad), soprano Dominika Zamara, Eric Burden (The Animals), composer George Crumb, songwriter Holly Near, Polka Bandleader Jimmy Sturr, Violinist Leila Josefowicz, Producer Peter Asher, Composer William Bolcom - and many others in all areas of music.
On July 27, 2017 Von Bernewitz pulbished his wide-ranging interview with Maestro Robert W. Butts.
A few quotes from the story:
R.V.B. - The service that you are doing for the state of New Jersey - and the tri-state area - is amazing. You are keeping the arts alive and you should be proud of your efforts.
R.V.B. - You had mentioned that you started with the guitar, Were you influenced by the folk revival?
R.B. - I actually started with The Beatles. I would sing Peter, Paul and Mary. I would sing songs about nature. It was the influence of The Beatles that got me into songwriting and composing. I did a lot of performing. I was in the country music world for a while. I toured with a country rock band for a year.
R.V.B. - What was the name of the band?
R.B. - It was called "The Quality Coal Company." My band was called "Phantom Canyon."
R.V.B. - Where did your travels bring you?
R.B. - With The Quality Coal Company, we toured Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana... that region. Phantom Canyon led me to Nashville. I lived in Nashville for three years.
R.V.V. - You mentioned that you studied with Vincent La Selva. What did you take from him that stays with your music of today.
R.B. - Mostly what I learned from him was technique... how to work with the orchestra. A lot about balance. He taught me the importance of the parts that are not necessarily heard by the audience. In other words, instead of worrying about the melody - everybody knows the melody - what really makes the music come alive is maybe the viola part... or maybe the second bassoon part. He taught me how to look at inner parts of a score... the depth. He taught me how to analyze the score from the inside out rather than from the top down. I took from these courses, the new understanding on how the orchestra works and how to bring the music to life in a greater depth
R.V.B. - You do have a lot to be proud of. Your music is wonderful. Your orchestra is fantastic. There is more good things ahead for you in the future I am sure. I appreciate you taking this time to share your story with me