While to most modern music fans, the name Aalon may be familiar due to Jason Aalon Butler of letlive. and Fever 333, that name had its roots decades earlier in soul music. Learn the family’s story here and how it traces to Fever 333.
Formed in 1977 by Aalon Butler, Aalon was a short-lived American soul group based out of Los Angeles. The band signed to Arista Records and released their debut album, Cream City, which reached #45 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart. The title single peaked at #44 on the R&B Singles chart. The band disbanded before the release of their second album.
Aalon Butler first ventured into music with the release of an obscure single titled “Getting Soul Pt 1 & 2”. He would later join forces with Eric Burdon in 1973 (best known as the lead singer of The Animals [“House Of The Rising Sun”]), who spent a few years with the band War before leaving the band in 1971.
When Eric Burdon went on to form The Eric Burdon Band, he enlisted the talents of Butler. The pair would work together for only a few years before the two parted ways, and Aalon Butler formed his own group: Aalon. Comprised of Butler on lead vocals, Juan Luis Cabaza on keyboards, Luther Rabb on bass, and Ron Hammond on drums, the group released their debut album Cream City with Arista Records in 1977.
Produced by Jerry Goldstein (co-writer of “My Boyfriend’s Back” and producer and songwriter of War), Cream City was the band’s debut and only album. The band recorded the album at Far Out Studios in Los Angeles and Sound City in Panorama City, California. Upon its original release, the album performed very well, reaching #45 on the R&B Albums chart in the United States. In addition, the album’s title track also performed well, reaching #44 on the US R&B Charts.
Cream City would be reissued in the 1990s by Thump Records, gaining a cult following. In addition, their song “Rock And Roll Gangster” would be featured on an episode of The Boondocks: “The Story of Gangstalicious 2“. To date, the group has not reformed or released any other records.
Life After Cream City
Shortly after the release of Cream City, Aalon would disband, failing to release a second album. Butler would quit music altogether in the 80s to take care of his child Jason Butler. While he remained largely absent from the music scene in the following years, Butler would return to music later in life, releasing the 14 song project Love Cruise. Find out more here.
Jason Aalon Butler
Aalon Butler’s son Jason Butler was born on July 17th, 1986, in Inglewood, California. Introduced to music by his Scottish uncle, Jason’s first foray into music was with the post-hardcore band Letlive.
Letlive was an American post-hardcore band from Los Angeles, California, founded in 2002. The band’s founding lineup was composed of Jason Butler on lead vocals, drummer Alex Haythorn, guitarist Ben Sharp and bassist Christian Johansen. They released their debut EP Exhaustion, Salt Water, and Everything in Between in 2003. After a lineup change (with Butler and Sharp as the only remaining original members), the band went on to release their debut, Speak Like You Talk. From here, the band would undergo multiple lineup changes and scrap an album before releasing their follow-up Fake History in 2011.
The band’s lousy luck with lineups continued through the years, as they released The Blackest Beautiful (2013) and If I’m the Devil… (2015). In 2017, Jason Aalon Butler would be the only remaining original band member upon their breakup.
Letlive’s music was characterized by its raw energy and passionate delivery. The band’s lyrics often dealt with social and political issues, and the band was highly praised for their art-rock style.
The band has been described as a mix of punk, hip hop, and trap metal. The band was formed in July 2017 and released their debut EP, Made an America, the following year. In 2019, the band released their first full-length album, Strength in Numb333rs. Much like letlive, Fever 333 is known for its socially conscious lyrics. After the murder of George Floyd, the band released Long Live The Innocent, a live political demonstration and musical performance. All proceeds went to Minnesota Freedom Fund and Black Lives Matter. In 2020 they released their second EP, Wrong Generation.
They are very politically active and influenced by The Black Panther Party as a band. They feel that politicians do not stand for the people and also think that voters often vote for how their vote would impact them instead of others.
Fever 333 named the band after the three core principles that the members view the band to stand for: community, charity, and change.
Whether it is the brief chart success of Aalon or Jason’s work in Letlive and Fever 333, it is undeniable that music flows through the Butler family’s veins. Jason’s father’s time in the music industry may have been brief, but his influence can still be felt today with Jason’s blending of soul and activism. Likewise, Aalon’s music is a snapshot of 1970s soul, and their short-lived time in the industry makes them all the more intriguing. We hope you enjoyed this short article looking into their history!