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A documentary film from Mark Robinson (Unrest, Teen-Beat), about his favorite rock star, Butch Willis. Butch Willis is a Washington, D.C. rock legend. Born and raised in 1960s suburban Maryland, he 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, and performances of his hit songs “Drugs,” “The Garden’s Outside,” “TV’s From Outer Space,” and “The Girl’s on My Mind.” Amateur On Plastic also parallels the 1990’s era of seminal indie record label Teen-Beat. Behind-the-scenes glimpses of the label’s concerts and private parties provide much of the background and feature members of the bands Unrest, Versus, Tuscadero and more.
“Butch Willis has quickly moved into the most select of rock’n’roll territories, that of the inspirational primitive. Undaunted, he dreams the rock’n’roll dream.” —Washington Post “In the mind of Butch Willis, he and his group The Rocks are the entry-level equivalent of Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, or even the latter-day Rolling Stones. They play straight-arrow AOR hard rock, with a lot of sheen and just a little tiny bit of gristle. By Butch’s way of seeing things, the only reason he and his band don’t have a major-label record contract is due to clerical oversight.” —Phil Milstein (member of Uzi and songpoemmusic.com)