Songbyrd Presents
Upstairs, All Ages

DOORS: 8:30 PM // SHOW: 9:00 PM


Songbyrd Vinyl Lounge 

Sunday December 29, 2019


Butch Willis is a Washington, D.C. rock legend. Born and raised in 1960s suburban Maryland, Byron Henry "Butch" Willis came of age in the late '70s post-hippie subculture. After sharing an apartment with infamous local music icon Root Boy Slim, Butch was inspired to become a rock'n'roll star himself.

The unique and unusual brand of "outsider music" that Butch Willis & The Rocks created captivated the local music scene beginning with their appearance at the seminal Primitive Night in 1984. AMATEUR ON PLASTIC chronicles Butch's life and career from the beginning all the way through to present day. It features a host of Butch-appointed band managers Joe Lee (Joe’s Record Paradise), Jeff Mentges (No Trend), Jeff Krulik (Heavy Metal Parking Lot), and director Mark Robinson (Unrest/Teen-Beat). Also co-starring is Al Breon, the Rocks' innovative "throat guitarist." The film combines archival footage, interviews with Butch, and performances of his hit songs "Drugs," “The Garden’s Outside,” "TV's From Outer Space," and “The Girl's on My Mind." Stylistically, the film unintentionally hovers between amateurish and avant- garde, much like Butch’s own music and career.

Amateur on Plastic also parallels the 1990’s era of the seminal indie label Teen-Beat. Behind-the-scenes glimpses at the label’s concerts and private parties provide much of the background and feature members of the bands Unrest, Versus, Tuscadero and more.

Director Biography - Mark Robinson

Mark Robinson is an indie-rock musician from Washington, D.C. He founded the Teen-Beat record label while attending Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. He is best known as the singer and guitarist in the bands Unrest, Air Miami, and Flin Flon. He currently performs with Evelyn Hurley in Cotton Candy and also with Trevor Kampmann as Fang Wizard and Party Milk. In 2014 he started making a series of short films about interesting retail spaces, titled STO. Mark lives in Boston.

Director Statement

Director Mark Robinson first saw Butch Willis and the Rocks perform in April of 1985 as a high school student opening for seminal DC post-punk band No Trend. He became an instant life-long fan. At a basement show in 1988, he saw a microphone not being used, walked on stage uninvited and started dueting with Butch on the song “The Gardens Outside.” After meeting Butch that night, the two stayed in touch and Butch joined Mark’s Teen-Beat record label in 1989. In 2006, Mark had the idea to create a documentary film about Butch. He started interviewing Butch, Rocks band members, and other primary characters that next year. After years of collecting rare audio and video footage, the film was finally completed in 2019.