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Working Class Audio #220 with Butch Vig!!!

“Artist” is the single word which best describes producer, mixer, composer,and multi-instrumentalist Butch Vig.  Born in Viroqua,Wisconsin, his parents Doc and Betty exposed Butch to a variety of music and fine arts culture during his youth.

While attending the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he received a degree in filmmaking, Vig focused on experimental music composition – an area that would serve him well into the future.  While at the UW, Butch jumped into the local music scene and joined the band Spooner as its drummer.  Unlike most drummers, content to bang out the rhythms, Vig pursued music composition with the band and stepped behind the studio glass to shape the recorded sound as a producer.

After graduating from the UW, Butch co-founded Smart Studios and began producing and mixing albums.  His perseverance as an independent producer in Madison carried far beyond Wisconsin’s borders, as artists from around the country began to hear the clear, edgy, hard rock sound shaped by Butch’s productions. His work with Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins  and Soul Asylum in the 90s has been hailed by music critics and authors who have placed his work at the top of the decades best recordings.

Additionally, Vig has created many exciting remixes for such prominent artists as U2, Beck, Korn, Alanis Morrissette,  Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. In 1995 Vig returned to performing and writing with a band he formed that goes by the name of Garbage.  The multi-platinum, Grammy Nominated band has achieved worldwide critical and commercial success as it ushered in yet another new direction for rock music. Recently, Vig has produced critically acclaimed albums for Against Me,  Green Day, and The Foo Fighters, winning a Grammy for their album “Wasting Light.”  He was recently ranked #9 on NME’s Top 50 Greatest Producers Ever.  In 2014, Butch produced The Foo Fighters HBO documentary “Sonic Highways.” In 2016 Garbage released their acclaimed sixth album “Strange Little Birds”. In 2018 Butch produced the soundtrack for Puppy Love, and he recently wrapped up production on the new Silversun Pickups album.

-Jim Berkenstadt

About this Interview:

Butch joins me to talk about growing up in Viroqua, Wisconsin, the trajectory of Smart Studios, one band leading to another, being diverse, vibe crushers as well as Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Garbage. Special thanks to former WCA guest Justin Perkins for connecting us!

Show Notes and Links


  • Host: Matt Boudreau
  • Guest: Butch Vig
  • WCA Theme Music: Cliff Truesdell
  • Announcer: Chuck Smith
  • Editing: Anne-Marie Pleau & Matt Boudreau
  • Additional Music: The License Lab