Pink Lightning
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Pink Lightning

Detroit, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Detroit, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Rock Post-punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Pink Lightning - Blue Skies"

An Interview (of sorts)

“We often feel we’re creating a new language entirely when we’re writing these songs…”

Pink Lightning’s drummer, Neal Parks calls the band’s latest album “an awesome collaboration between many talented people,” and proclaims how he loves playing music with these four other “great humans” that he calls friends.

The Players

Chris Butterfield sings (as much as he surges) up front, slithery and snapping his body as much as he does his voice.

Leo McWilliams’ dynamism on the accordion invites adjectives usually reserved to describe the wild valiancy of punk-rock styles.

Parks, meanwhile, back there on drums, is pure frenetika, keeping time but pummeling in some fierce fills with limbs like a pinwheel, usually overheating himself to the point of necessary shirtlessness.

Tom Bahorski is simply the wizard, a guitar hybrid of blurring punk shreds and oozy blues, psyche-rock sensationalism with tasteful atmospheric distortions.

That leaves Everette Rinehart, on the bass, the heart, the pulse, the soul, standing cool in the eye of the Pink Lightning storm, (with his own eyes behind sunglasses),nodding lightly, focused, deploying the grooviest waves while the rubbery Butterfield pingpongs off of him and into Bahorski.

But what’s it sound like? Tweaked rock. Dark pop. Weird punk. It waves here and there to nuanced extremes of mutated genres: a sound with vigorous rhythms, vibrant guitar effusions, and soaring accordions under warbled falsettos and bellowed crooning.

It’s a sound that only the players comprehend fully. Even if you think you’ve decoded it as you’re
taken with the tumbling fervor of the varyingly danceable tempos, you still might not speak the special “language” developed between the five players in Pink Lightning.

“It’s constantly challenging, our process…” Butterfield says. “It’s not a paint-by-numbers sound. There’s never conversations about ‘what needs to be there’ in a song, for the sake of the listener or for listen-ability. It’s more intuition; we make it how we intuitively know it should be.”


The signature cohesiveness of Pink Lightning’s collaboration, when writing, recording or performing, is something altogether erratic, forceful and yet, in unison. “Yeah,” Butterfield nods to that as I suggest it to him. “It feels like that…like how starlings get into those massive cloud-like formations that wave here and there across the sky…” He pauses to Google the right word for it:

“Murmuration!” he shouts.

Murmuration aside, says Bahorski, the album, Blue Skies, went through “…a lot of permutations!”

Because it took two years to be completed, Bahorski says, that opened the door to “gradually ease in some more ideas,” says Bahorski. The specific “door” that opened was Scott Masson’s door, into his home studio in Ferndale, where the band did post-production work with the certain “permutations” enhancing your listening experience including pianos, organs, mandolins, banjos, along with some saxophone, tambourine and Rinehart stand-up bass.

The listening experience evokes a sense of being right up by the amplifiers, close enough to feel the singer’s sweat or to have to duck a pivoting bass neck. Kinetic and tension-building, as rock should be, rickety and rabid, as punk could be, grappling with catchy hooks, ebullient rhythms and enticing melodies, as pop needs to be…but, just, weirder, wilder. Always in formation, though.

Canned Energy

“We all write as a team,” says McWilliams, “that’s why things might get really frantic, sometimes. Our process is very energetic to begin with. We’re all trying to get our ideas out and it all comes out at once, allowing for lots of different influences and styles to come out. I think we weave all those things together and it turns into some weird Pink-Lightning-tapestry.”

“It’s definitely a challenge to try to can energy, like that,” says Rinehart.

“We’ll tweak a song over the course of weeks so when we sit down and play we merge ideas,” says Parks.

“Slow…” Bahorski nods, “…long…not painful, though! Just painfully slow, maybe?”

“But even then,” says Parks, “another song was written and recorded in just eight hours…”

“I’m so manic I don’t know what I think about anything,” Butterfield shakes his head at himself. “I work so slow! This album should have been completed last year, but, it is what it is. But, really, there has been an evolution since the last album.”

This band was formed on a baseball field near midtown Detroit. But, really, it grew out of McWilliams, Rinehart and Parks busking as a jazz-trio (complete with washtub bass) on the corners of Eastern Market, where they fatefully encountered Butterfield. The official vows, some Musketeer-like raising of arms and bats to show their commitment, happened later during a pickup softball game. The group, with guitarist Matt Paw, recorded and released 2011’s First Rodeo EP (a post-punk inclined declaration of their angsty-waltzing styles) followed by the somewhat scattershot, if still potent full length Happy To Be Here in 2012.

“I think with (Happy), we were just trying to get it finished so that we could start working on (Blue Skies),” Rinehart says. “Not intentionally, though. We learned a lot making that first record, we were looking for our style and it came through at a few points, but (Blue Skies) truly defines what Pink Lightning is, as a band.”

The tracks were laid down in 2013 at Tapwater Productions in Detroit with Dilan Wade. The energy was then enhanced by Masson with instrumentations later “tinkered” with by Bahorski.

Led By Intuition

Rinehart: “We’ve certainly improved individually as musicians.”

McWilliams: “We’re getting more comfortable as a band with taking risks. We think music is beautiful like that and I think we’re getting better at harnessing those opportunities.”

Rinehart: “And (Bahorski) seems to truly live to create music and that’s certainly challenged the rest of us to keep up.”

Bahorski: “I like to tinker! Song cycles! They’re vital! But, I don’t’ know, I still feel like ‘the new guy.’”

Rinehart: “More importantly, (Bahorski)’s become one of my best friends.”

Butterfield: “I don’t know what else I can say about (Blue Skies) other than what I put into it, what I’ve says on it. It does feel cohesive, the whole thing. Pushing in different directions together to see what comes of it, still being led by our intuition. That’s a good place to be.” - Deep Cutz

"Pink Lightning return with excellent sophomore album"

Pink Lightning seems to be having a lot of fun.

The Detroit band's first album, released in 2012, was titled, Happy To Be Here, and if their latest album, Blue Skies, is any indication, they are still pretty happy to be recording and playing music.

Blue Skies, which is slated for release Dec. 13, is a joy, mostly because you can hear how much fun the band is having while recording it.

But the self-released Blue Skies isn't all smooth sailing. In fact, it starts out pretty rough.

The first track, "There's Always Next Year," begins as an assault on the ears. It's pure auditory barbed wire.

If the first minute of the album scares you away, though, you're missing out. The opening seconds are just the cactus-like exterior. The real milk of the album is inside.

After the first track, Pink Lightning goes on a tear, playing high-tempo, high-energy songs that make you wish you were seeing them perform live (and you should see them perform live, they kick ass on stage).

The band describes itself as a "freakout, and that's about as apt of a term as you will find for this band of rascally misfits.

The album bends genres throughout, but maintains its rock and roll billing. The song "Postcard [Image]" is heavy on guitars, but is slightly reminiscent of a song you might hear in an old Western, if, you know, Rob Zombie directed Westerns.

"The Comic's Relief" is one of the many songs on the record that display singer Chris Butterfield's solid vocal range. He's not Freddie Mercury, but he doesn't need to be. All the songs on album are right in his wheelhouse.

The true gem on Blue Skies, though is a tune called "Scientific Method," a fast-paced jaunt that leaves you wanting more and more of Pink Lightning. —Mike Larson - Metrotimes

"URGH! A Detroit Music War Battles"

Eighteen Detroit bands captured and filmed back to back to back in multi-camera HD/16mm/Super 8 by a team of Detroit artists directed by acclaimed experimental filmmaker, Brandon Walley. Vid phone footage encouraged also with various takes to be used throughout the feature length DVD

Get a film credit, a sweeet pin, guest list urself, own the poster or t-shirt etc... but more importantly help turn a detroit project with some of the best, most talented, creative & hardworking bands in this city into something much, much larger. Thank you!!

URGH! A Detroit Music War will be shot live at the legendary PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, June 11th. 1 nite + 2 stages + 7 hrs of girlz & boys caught forever in the act. a homage to the no frills, punk aesthetic of the 1982 cult classic >!_A_Music_War

As a prequel, the '82 film will be screened on Thursday, May 19th @ The Park Bar in Detroit. followed by the Smiths United. details>

doors @ 6
first chord 7 sharp
8 bucks

7:00 - The Savage Seven - Main
7:20 - Jehovah's Witness Protection Program - Bar
7:40 - The Kickstand Band - Main
8:00 - Phantasmagoria - Bar
8:20 - Phantom Cats - Main
8:40 - Illy Mack - Bar
9:00 - FUR - Main
9:25 - Pewter Cub -Bar
9:50 - FAWN - Main
10:15 - Lightning Love - Bar
10:40 - The High Strung - Main
11:05 - Pupils - Bar
11:25 - The Satin Peaches - Main
11:50 - Pink Lightning - Bar
12:10 - Lettercamp - Main
12:35 - Legendary Creatures - Bar
1:00 - Duende! - Main
1:25 - Carjack - Bar


















THE SAVAGE SEVEN - See more at: -

"Cameras to Shoot Detroit Rock "War""

Eighteen bands will come together in Detroit on Saturday and battle – sonically, speaking – from two stages at the Lager House in Corktown while the cameras roll. WDET’s Rob St. Mary reports on the making a local concert film – “Urgh: A Detroit Music War”.
(click the audio link above to hear the story)

In 1982, a chronicle of some of the punk, post-punk and new wave bands on the international scene landed in cinemas. It was called “Urgh: A Music War” and featured about 30 acts with a broad range of sounds… from the Police…
“Driven to tears”

to the Dead Kennedys…
“Bleed for Me”

to Devo…
“Uncontrollable urge”

just to name a few.
On Saturday, a similar chronicle of local rock music circa 2011 is taking place. Organizers call it “Urgh: A Detroit Music War”.
Michael O’Connor is one of the producers of the event. He’s with the Detroit band FUR… which is playing as part of “Urgh”.
O’Connor says the night blends his interest in the original film with the current state of the Detroit music scene.
"I’ve been a big fan of the movie and I just wanted to put a show together with some of the bands that were some of my favorites and my friends’ favorites in the area.”

O’Connor says the idea bloomed from just a multi-band show into a film when he started talking about the idea with his friend Brandon Walley. Walley is directing and editing the Detroit edition of “Urgh”. He says the goal is to capture the energy of each band.
"I definitely want it… when someone’s watching the DVD… maybe they don’t know the bands… maybe they aren’t fans of music or the genre but it’s going to be riveting and it’s going to keep them glued to the TV and be very entertaining enough where fans will want to watch it all the time and constantly go back to their favorite band."

Much like the original film, the producers of this music war have recruited a diverse line up for the fight. One of the bands is Pink Lightning. Chris Butterfield sings with the group.
“Each band will be forced do like three of their best songs and it will be for a concert film, so in theory, they will play their best set.”

Another of the acts is Duende.
Jeff Howitt is the singer and guitarist with Duende. He says Saturday night’s bill will show what’s happening in Detroit, right now.
“The bands that were really setting the bar for the high-energy rock-and-roll that the city offers… but also with the diversity in mind that it’s not all just rock-and-roll… and they we all come at it from different angles.”

And in order to cover all those angles, the producers of the concert film have created a Kickstarter account to help fund it. Walley says they are hoping to raise five-grand before the doors open… and the cameras roll on Saturday night.
“People can pledge from all over but especially in Detroit… it’s kind of like fan… a chance for them to help create something… something that’s going to be really cool and they should be really proud of backing… even if it’s only a couple bucks.”

Michael O’Connor says the audience can do more than just watch the bands… they can take part in the creation of the film. O’Connor says cell phone technology is making that possible.
“This is sort of a show for you too because I think it should be the one night to celebrate the whole scene… not just the bands. We are encouraging people to use their video cameras to shoot some of it… and we’ll have a link that people can send that into… and hopefully use some of that footage interwoven through the film and be credited for that, of course, too.”

The producers of “Urgh: A Detroit Music War” say interest from bands wanting to take part has been huge… but ultimately… many had to be turned away due to time and space considerations. Jeff Howitt of Duende says there is simply no way a single film can be the definitive look at Detroit music today… but really… that’s not the point.
“It is one snapshot… one night in Detroit.”

Director Brandon Walley says he believes the concert film will have the potential to bring more attention to Detroit’s rock scene. Walley says he expects international film festival screenings and a DVD release this fall.
“Hopefully it can live on outside of Detroit and we can show the rest of the world another positive of great things happening in Detroit right now.”
The 18 band battle, "Urgh: A Detroit Music War" takes place Saturday evening at the Lager House in Detroit.
I’m Rob St. Mary – WDET News.
For more information:

For more information on the Kickstarter:

The Bill:


"The Local List 2014: Michigan Music"

So here we are...
A list of close-to-all of the music made by Michigan artists that I really dug... At least 94% of it.
This is essentially a giant thank-you note to all the local musicians/songwriters/bands who produced all these songs. It was never about a ranking, even if I did have a favorite... It's more an expression of gratefulness for how much great music has been made (and continues to be made) from the crop of Michigan musicians (in just one-year-alone...)

Extremely Honorable Mentions!
(...Because I don't want to turn this WHOLE post into a ratings-game!)

Varsity Rats – “O.G.” ~ Watermelon Bananarama
Kickstand Band - "Under A Bad Sign" ~Halloween Special
Jim Roll – “For You” ~The Continuing Adventures of The Butterfly Kid
Red Robe – “Disaster Artist” ~ Party Favors EP
PONYSHOW – “Folks” ~single
Hollow & Akimbo – “Singularity” ~Singularity Single + remixes)
Buffalo Coven Party – “Pariah” ~single
Double Winter – “Air & Sea” ~A Moment With Double Winter
Doc Illingsworth – “Flaky” ~Flakes
Little Animal – “Dance With You” ~single
The Landmarks – “April 6” ~Schisms EP
Christopher Jarvis – “Dreams Of Falling” (ft. SelfSays & James Linck ~The Clairsentient
Growwing Pains – “Hysteria” ~Growwing Pains
Le Voyage – “Resonate” ~LeVoyage
John Krautner Band – “Lion’s Eyes” ~Burger single
Beset By Creatures Of The Deep – “Monolithic” ~1
Man Vs. Indian Man – “Never Knowing” ~single
Ritual Howls – “Taste Of You” ~Turkish Leather
Deadly Viper Assassination Squad – “Cold Feet” ~2014 EP
Nigel & The Dropout – “Entropy” ~Tumultuous
Casual Sweetheart – “That Girl” ~single
Ill Itches – “Hallelujah” ~LIVE EP
Beast In The Field – “Wakan Tanka” ~Sacred Above, Sacred Below
Kopelli – “Let Em Know” ~Gentleman Jack
Benjamin Miles – “End Of The Line ft. Red Pill & Mister” ~Wishing Tree
Turn To Crime – “Sunday’s Cool” ~Can’t Love
Loretta Lucas – “Cassanova” ~Cassanova EP
Blue Snaggletooth – “Sleeping Mountain” ~Beyond Thule
Lizerrd – “One Of Us” ~Be Here Now
TART – “Rabid Dogs” ~single
The HandGrenades - "Wrapped In Plastic" ~52
The Solar System - "Brian Arvo" ~Xaxxon

Heavy Rotations

25. Voyag3r – “II Guanto Nero” ~Doom Fortress”
24. The Blueflowers – “I Can’t Let Go” ~At The Edge Of Disaster
23. The Beggars – “Your Love Will Rot My Brain” ~The Beggars
22. J. Walker & The Crossguards – “Never Say Die” ~single
21. Caveman Woodman – “Gimme Some More” ~S/T EP
20. Mexican Knives – “Nightmare” ~single
19. Child Bite – “Ancestral Ooze” ~Strange Waste
18. YUM – “YUM” ~YUM
17. George Morris & The Gypsy Chorus – “Girls On Parade” ~Black & White EP
16. No Body – “The Valley” ~The Uncanny Valley
15. Frontier Ruckus – “Darling Anonymity” ~Sitcom Afterlife
14. Gosh Pith – “Waves” ~single
13. Tunde Olaniran – “The Raven” ~Yung Archetype
12. Sleepless Inn – “Karl Simon” ~Rainbow Room EP
11. Johnny Headband – “Leave Me So High” ~single
10. Duende – “Mezcal” ~Mezcal
9. Passalacqua – “The Baptism (w/SYBLING)” ~CHURCH
8. The High Strung – “Point Of View” ~I, Anybody
7. Scott Masson – “St. Vina” ~ Pink Oil
6. Doc Waffles / Eddie Logix / James Linck “Lights On Rider” Anthem ~ Portrait Of A Gentleman
5. Protomartyr – “Come And See” ~Under Color Of Official Right
4. Rebel Kind – “You Are Free” ~Today
3. Pink Lightning – “Postcard (Image)” ~Blue Skies
2. Prude Boys – “Piano Keys” ~Cassette Demos
1. Matt Jones & The Reconstruction – “Darkest Things” - Deep Cutz

"Top Local Music Albums of 2012"

Any slow part of these songs is tinged with the same kind of anxiety struck at the roller-coaster-cab’s ominous lurching at the very top of the slope… click-click-click-cli—ick…then the drums tumble back in and the bass starts rollicking, guitar like a fire-whip and accordion, yes accordion, hummin and heavin with anarchic splendor at the riotous dance-rock dust-up. Our singer’s fuzzed-out effusions add a tweaked carnival barker’s bolstering to this blend of punk-punctured disco and rubbery indie-funk mutations. - Ferndale Patch

"Top 10 Local Songs of 2011"

Cover Story
Jeff Milo goes local for his top 10 of 2011

By Jeff Milo

Published: January 4, 2012

Jeff Milo

Favorite local songs of 2011

1 Pink Lightning "Why I Drink Fancy"

2 Prussia "St. Elmo's Fire Pt. II"

3 Glossies "Let's Get Awkward"

4 Passalacqua "Bridge Card Hustle"

5 Zoos of Berlin "Movie On August Ray/Tamarind"

6 Johnny Ill Band "Good Posture

7 Deadbeat Beat "No God"

8 Doc Waffles (ft. SelfSays) "The King's English"

9 Crappy Future "CF"

10 Bad Indians "The Path Home"

11 K.I.D.S. "Nightwalkers" - Metrotimes

"Interview with Pink Lightning's Everette Rinehart"

Pink Lightning causes quite the racket! An accordion fueled gypsy punk riot fusing hot white disco bass thumps with the post-punk twitch of Joy Division, Talking Heads, and Pere Ubu.

Live, the band also proves to be a real hoot; an energetic spectacle that never fails to keep hipsters, punks, and art damaged weirdoes from booty shaking.

We threw bass player, Everette Rinehart an email with a list of some topics we wanted to pick his brain on and. lucky us; he bit back and threw us a response.
pl 1

“We try to have fun with our live shows…”

Who are some of Pink Lightning’s non-musical influences?

Everette Rinehart: I think there is very little in the city of Detroit that does not influence us as a band. The art, the food, the people – all of it influences us- the good and the bad. I think our music often has a darkness to it that is accompanied by a lot of fast paced fun. It kind of creates a duality that we borrow from the city.

Whether it be Alice Cooper, the Heidleberg Project, or The Evil Dead, creative people in Detroit always seem to be doing something outrageous or on the cutting edge. Why do you think that is?

ER: I think it inspires Detroiters to push the envelope a bit more, and when you do, you get support from your peers for giving it a shot. From what I hear, this is what sets Detroit apart from many other cities – the support we give to our creative people. There is a lot of positivity among what could be considered competition.

What’s the strangest venue you guys have ever played?
Pink Lightning after an energetic set at Wally World

Pink Lightning after an energetic set at Wally’s World

ER: Definitely this DIY venue in Chicago called Wally’s world. It was right under the L line, so there was a train every 10 minutes. We played in a small room that fit about 15 people other than us, but there was another room that was up a few stairs that had a kind of window cut out to see the band, so there would be like 5-10 more people up there watching from above.

What made you guys add on the tuba, Viola, and trombone players to the band? Does this now change how you guys write music?

ER: They were kind of added as more of an afterthought. We wanted a real full sound, so we invited some of our friends to play with us. Everyone writes their own parts, so it ended up being really easy to add everyone in once the Pink Lightning core had the tracks down.

In terms of a stage show and creating a live experience what kind of theatrics have you guys done in the past?

ER: We try to have some fun with the live shows. I’ve played a couple shows dressed as a Shriner, one show in a full body gold spandex super-hero suit, two shows in full drag, and one show with a large paper-mache aqua-naught helmet. Generally, Chris gets to do most of the theatrics; we have to keep playing our instruments.

I heard Seinfeld was at your show, is that true? You should have Kramer at one of your shows.

ER: I know! What’s the deal with that?

On second thought…

What about The Jerky Boys? They were hilarious! Does Pink Lightning like the Jerky Boys?

ER: I had a Jerky Boys tape once. Probably still do… somewhere.

Do you guys like movies? I mean everyone likes movies. What kinda movies does Pink Lightning watch?

Hey dare, jerky!

ER: I will literally watch any movie and probably enjoy it -even if it’s terrible and I know it.

Is it true you guys have a pizza slice named after you? How does that come about?

ER: It’s pretty rare, because it has duck breast prosciutto, which isn’t a common topping, but it does exist- but only at Supino Pizzeria in Eastern Market.

I think having an accordion player in the band is really cool. Where exactly did that idea come from?

Leo gets funky

ER: Leo literally stole his aunt’s accordion and started playing it on the street for money.

Did Leo always play accordion or is this just something he picked up a couple years ago?

ER: Leo was literally birthed from the bellows of an accordion.

Who exactly is the most famous accordion player? Is it Urkel? Drew Carey? What about “Weird” Al? It’d have to be “Weird” Al, right?

ER: Yup.

What future musical and non-musical plans are in store for Pink Lightning?

ER: We have talked about doing a kind of monthly (or maybe bi-monthly?) review. We would want it to be more of a variety show with all kinds of performances –comedy, performance art, interpretive dance- really anything that’s interesting.

An early inspiration of PL’s

Is there anything you guys wanna plug? How do we get a hold of your music?

ER: We will be playing at Planet Ant in Hamtramck on Saturday, November 2 following some live improve comedy from One-Quarter Bruce. Also, we will be playing the Found Sound Holiday party show, which will be at the Shelter – more to come on that one. - Atomic Leg Drop Zine

"Bands to See at Hamtamck Blowout"

This band was born on the streets of Eastern Market – literally, with a wash-tub bass and an accordion, cribbing and mutating indie-punk interpretations of gypsy romps and rock-tinged rag. Now they're a fully functioning dance-rock outfit, theatrical, ebullient and endearing. - Ferndale Patch

"The Buzz"

Imagine trying to dance with five partners at once. Fast, freaky, fun. That moment in the basement of the house party where you kinda just lost it, yanked off the tie or let your hair down as the drums keep hitting and suddenly you’re sweating – that’s Pink Lightning. Plenty of hooks and flared with a manic kind of sass, lead singer wobbling upon the breezed blast from the amps like a crooning/yowling kite, guitarist arching his whole body from his nose to his knees at one riff then bent backwards as he shreds blends of funk and garage-gut-punches, bass player looking keen and cool with a suave smirk as he grooves a shoulder-juking buoyancy that spurs on the wheezy wails of that exquisite rock-ready accordionist to his right and all the while the drummer, some agit-disco trundle with a wild-eyed, often shirtless rock-energy, madly intent on keeping kinetics up up up. That’s Pink Lightning. This Detroit quintet spent their summer crafting new tracks to follow-up April’s “Happy To Be Here” LP, but much of their September 7 set at Woodruff’s will be new to you since they don’t make it out to Ypsi often enough. - Ispy Magazine

"Pink Lightning Strikes at Dally in the Alley"

This year’s Dally in the Alley was blessed with impeccable weather, providing an excellent draw to the popular annual street fair, celebrating its astounding 35th year. The all-day-into-night event features a variety of local vendors, culinary wonders/street food nightmares, the timeless practice of debauchery in the street and, most importantly, a wide, free assembly of the local musical fauna.

Local screen-printer InkInBloom, a member of the up-and-coming Ocelot Print Shop collective.

Nearly a week later, I am still contemplating this homemade potato chip concoction, which represents either civilization’s greatest achievement, or its downfall.

Impromptu breakdancing at the techno stage.

Debauchery not quite yet in practice, but rest assured that no Dally is complete without one or many street beers consumed by eager participants.

Bands of all stripes hit the fair’s three stages, with live music acts performing throughout the day and running the gamut from zydeco, to techno, to good old-fashioned rock and roll. Falling somewhere between the latter and bizarre psyche-rock with a twist, the highlight of the day’s offerings for this blogger was certainly Pink Lightning, who took the stage on Forest St. just as the sun was going down.

Truly, no still image can capture Pink Lightning’s onstage presence and energy.

Chris Butterfield is the band’s frontman and a highly animated ringleader indeed, sporting white gloves and a carnival moustache that strongly argues for Pink Lightning’s collective Halloween appearance as Queen at the Crofoot this year. Onstage, Butterfield is frenetic and unpredictable — half-musician, half Batman villain — fluctuating between emphatic vocals and spastic, engaging dancing. The band also features Neal Parks (Drums), Everette Rinehart (Bass Guitar), Tom Eahorski (Guitar), and Leo McWilliams (Accordion), and collectively, Pink Lightning puts on a dynamic, high-energy show. But you don’t have to take my word for it; you can check out their debut album, Happy to be Here, or better yet, catch the unparalleled live show tomorrow night (Friday the 14th) during Scrummage Fest 2012 at PJ’s Lager House. Seeya there! - Knight Arts

"Detroit Rock 'N' Roll Band Pink Lightning Is Just Happy to Be Here"

I first heard of Pink Lightning through the many times I visited the now closed Record Time, the legendary Detroit area record store that the band's lead singer Chris Butterfield used to work at. I first caught a live Pink Lightning show at the now closed Club Bart in Ferndale and I was amazed at the energy and talent of this band. The establishment closures are a mere coincidence, in no way will Pink Lightning shut your place down. They might turn it into a party, but it's all great clean fun.

Pink Lightning is a rambunctious quintet that puts the fun back into rock-n-roll without surrendering themselves off as a cheap novelty act. They have that "it" thing about themselves that conjure up the days when bands were not afraid to let loose and have true personality. "Pink Lightning embodies an underdog spirit," says Chris Butterfield in a recent chat. "The anxiety we still manage before every show, we channel into energy. Often times, we'll approach a performance with a theme in mind. We enjoy that process."

Along with Chris Butterfield on the vocals and circuit bender, Pink Lightning is originally comprised of Neal Parks (Drums), Everette Rinehart (Bass), Leo McWilliams (Accordian), and Matt Paw (Guitar) for the recording of their debut album Happy To Be Here, but Paw has since been replaced by fellow Detroit guitarist Tom Bahorski who you might have heard as a member of The Ashleys.

With Happy To Be Here, the band debunks everything "too-cool-for-school" or "emo" in indie rock and makes a record that's all about enjoying the party of life. "Pink Lightning is a Venn diagram," explains Butterfield. "Despite the amalgamation, we've always considered ourselves a rock-n-roll band with some quirks, sure. The songs are happy accidents."

Pink Lightning celebrated the album's release with a show this past Saturday at The Old Miami in Detroit. The band's lead singer Chris Butterfield takes the awesome foolery of the band to the next level on stage. Donning a magician's tuxedo paired with everything including a top hat, Butterfield is an energetic epicenter of the band, setting a boisterous tone throughout. "Jerry Lewis may be my single greatest inspiration as a performer," describes Butterfield on being the band's lead. "His films demonstrate a unique and unrestrained physicality. I'm drawn to that kind of expression. Absurdity is also subversive. That's how I idealize rock-n-roll. I project my cartoon self. That excitement is a direct response to the music of my bandmates. They provide the perfect context."

Pink Lightning is completely serious about not taking everything so serious, and that's where the synergy of the band hits its mark both live and on record. The balance of good bluesy, rhythmic, indie rock with their play on absurdity creates this musical dichotomy that makes Pink Lightnings's potential real. And when I asked Chris Butterfield to describe Pink Lightning as a band, he simply says "We like to laugh."

Pink Lightning's "Happy To Be Here" is now available online at - Huffington Post

"Ear Candy"

Pink Lightning

We Don't Break

By Jeff Milo

"...just, try to play high energy music..."

Guitarist Matt Paw speaks for bassist Everette Rinehart, accordionist Mike McWilliams, and drummer Neal Parks: "We're glad we don't have to sing back up vocals" (behind lanky sparkplug balladeer Chris Butterfield) "... because we're fucking tuckered out by the last song."

"I love the anxiety I feel," Butterfield says, "before performing. I like to project that anxiety onto an audience."

Musically as attuned as brothers, and personally as rowdily anecdotal as lightly grizzled beer league socialites, these five form the rickety rocking post-punk groove of Pink Lightning, a band born on a volleyball court, ameliorated upon a baseball field and galvanized inside a cluttered fifth-floor Eastern Market loft.

Parks, Rinehart and McWilliams were busking on corners at the Market in '08 when Parks got his fellow Wayne State student Paw to join them up at his loft, with initial jams leading to their first show (as an instrumental band).

Pink Lightning shows tend to emit that idealized, rattled up spirit of rock 'n' roll, where the stage is more a flimsy cage steadily undermined by the vigorous (yet still exacting) jitter and juke of the song's players – who are keenly moving and grooving to their own melodic fire. They keep cohesion, because this comradely quintet utilizes every free minute to practice. Chaotic swerves are managed with sureness when the team knows where to land.

And they really are a team. "I met you guys playing baseball," Butterfield exclaims, recalling a summer afternoon at Wayne State's diamond.

Their chemistry knotted up tightly through initial instrumental jams, so by the time Butterfield officially joined in summer of 09, the sometimes suited up cut-up could throw his throaty lyrical paint all over the room ... the walls of Pink Lightning's shack was sturdy. "We're going nuts the whole time, live," says Paw, "and Chris has this awesome ability to roll with that."

"I'm not even thinking straight when I perform," says Butterfield. "I'm not good at hiding my feelings. I like that dynamic with the audience not knowing, like, who am I gonna get tonight? What's it gonna be?" They're debut EP is out now. | RDW

Pink Lightning w/ Child Bite, Parts & Labor & Golden Torso • 4/17 • PJs Lager House • 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit • • $8 - Real Detroit Weekly

"Motor City Five: Pink Lightning"

A disco beat under a funky space-rock guitar and a grooving bass with an accordion's old-world-wheeze. Thus forms the dance-rock of the quintet Pink Lightning — galvanized by a suspender-sportin' frontman. After a full year playing, these former Eastern Market buskers are famous here for their live shows and mix of funk, Cuban, surf or Zappa.

MT: PL's known for great energy, costumes, dance rhythms, and your accordion. What's this band not yet known for?

Leo McWilliams: We take a lot of risks on stage. We baptize songs by fire. We've melted down a few times and some of those times have garnered us fans and sometimes enemies. Live music is a fully immersive experience; that's why we dress up. Once I played a show in my work clothes from that day; it wasn't the same. One time, Everette and I wore a full body spandex suit, for a show in Romeo. The crowd was peering at us hesitantly; it was hilarious. How we look is an important aspect of performance. I don't miss an opportunity to entertain someone if I can help it.

MT: Chris: suits, swagger, shouts; what defines your frontman style?

Chris Butterfield: I go from Jello Biafra to Michael Jackson; Tina Turner too. And why we don't celebrate Jackie Wilson more escapes me, and, also Marco Polio/Pupil's Steve Puwalski. Some big influences come from slapstick (Jerry Lewis) and I've been mulling adding more vaudevillian elements into PL.

MT: Matt, can you make sense of that sound? And is it true you almost got into a bar fight with Kid Rock?

Matt Paw: I'd rather just let that be a telephone-line of a tall tale; basically, he was being drunk, I was being drunk, comments were exchanged. I don't want PL to be known as the band who kicked Kid Rock's ass, but rather — a band who kicked everyone's ass. Anyways, I don't know our formula, nor do I wish to understand it, for then it may be destroyed.

MT: Can you talk about that, Neal, and whether you'd correct me if I said: dance-rock?

Neal Parks: With PL, I love how open we are to all styles of music, gypsy, Irish, funk, dance, pop, or rock, hip hop, even blues. Depending on how we feel at practice, different sounds come from different players and I just try to tie it all together with an appropriate beat; something people can get down to; simplified, but yet, dynamic enough to keep myself entertained.

MT: Everette, on entertaining live shows, what gets into you guys, besides beer, maybe?

Everette Rinehart: I've played in a lot of different bands, always bass, and although there was certain songs I'd prefer, I have truly loved all of the music. It's funny you mention the beer; I had to cut back considerably after getting a big-boy job where I wake up early. Beer's not a big part of the show; we really just try to have fun. That said, I enjoy drinking it.

Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Fucking Awesome Fest at the Majestic Theatre Complex, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; - Metrotimes

"Pink Lightning"

“…just, try to play high energy music,” Everette shrugs.

Talk about that, talk about getting up there, and that energy.

Everette: “Oh!”

What’s it like up there?

Mike: “…sweaty.”

Guitarist Matt Paw speaks for bassist Everette Rinehart, accordionist Mike McWilliams, and drummer Neal Parks: “We’re glad we don’t have to sing back up vocals” (behind lanky spark plug balladeer Chris Butterfield) “…because we’re fucking tuckered out by the last song.”

“I love the anxiety I feel,” Butterfield said, “before performing. I like to project that anxiety onto an audience

These five, as musically attuned as brothers and personally affably rowdy and anecdotal as lightly grizzled beer league socialites, form the rickety rocking post-punk groove of Pink Lightning, a band born on a volleyball field, ameliorated upon a baseball field, and consistently galvanized inside a cluttered fifth-floor loft in Eastern Market.

Parks and Rinehart started busking on corners at the Market with their friend’s Americana folk project , Parks on a snare and Rinehart playing a re-purposed garbage can and 2x4 (as makeshift “washtub” bass). McWilliams added his accordion to the mix, and the trio would then jam up in Parks’ loft. Parks would also jam with his fellow Wayne State student, Paw. “Neal and I are just jamming, getting stuff together, ‘till he says: Hey, I know this bass player and this accordion player. And I’m like…accordion player? Fuck! So…we all jammed a couple months and (Steve Gamburd) hooked us up with our first show at the Phoenix Café.” This was winter, early 09.

“Matt comes to us,” remembers Everette, “and says, Hey, we got a show… We’re like: Oh, shit…well, we need some songs!”

Mcwilliams chimes in, “I would never have joined that band if I thought we were ever gonna play a show.”
~all photos by Lo-Fi Bri~

Pink Lightning shows tend to emit that classic, rattled up spirit of rock n roll, where the stage is more a flimsy cage steadily more undermined by the vigorous (still yet exacting and graceful) jitter and juke of the wild sway and trounce of the players keenly moving and grooving to their own melodic fire as much as any crowd would be arrested by their danceable rhythms and keyed-up sonic aesthetic.

But, a certain bombast atop the characteristic wheeze of an accordion shouldn't’t suggest any passé reach to label them “gypsy punk” – whatever it is, its exerting, as rock n roll should be, and edgy and gnarled ,as punk should be…

Say what you will, it keeps its cohesion, because a.) each player’s been noodling and honing his craft for years and b.) this quintet utilizes every free minute to practice in that cavernous loft. Swerves into chaos are managed with sureness when the team knows where (and how) to land (together).

And they really are a team, let’s be frank.

“I met you guys playing baseball,” Butterfield recalls a summer afternoon at the Wayne State diamond. Pink Lightning was switched on by a volleyball match at Z’s Villa, where Parks suddenly threw off his shirt and exclaimed, “Fuck this, who wants to be in a band with me, raise your hands!”

Rinehart speaks of: “The ‘Raising of the Hands…,’” whereupon, of those gathered volleyball players, he and McWilliams were the ones to respond with the appropriate gesture. That gave you your rhythm core. Add Paw’s guitar and the quartet started piecing together songs as an instrumental band.

Their musical compatibility and familiarity knotted up tightly through that, which meant that by the time Butterfield officially joined the band in summer of 09 (after experimentally belting and scatting over their practice sessions), that the sometimes suited up cut-up could throw his throaty lyrical paint all over the room…the walls were secure, the Pink Lightning shack was sturdy. “We’re just going nuts the whole time, live,” said Paw, “and Chris has this awesome ability to just roll with that.”

“Because,” said Paw, “we don’t break, man. You can’t stop for a second.”

Parks: “The set’s at 100 miles per hour.”

Rinehart: “Live, the songs are about 1 ½ -times as fast, but, it works cuz we practice a lot.”

Lyric writing is a process Butterfield “doesn’t care to rush. If lyrics aren’t ready by the time we perform live, I scat through most of the song. I grew up listening to a lot of punk, so themes of disillusionment are fairly prevalent, though I would hardly consider myself a cynic. You sprout from your environment, look around and ask questions…..I like to ask loudly, sometimes incoherently.”

“I’m not even thinking straight when I perform,” said Butterfield. “I have no control over my thoughts. I’m not good at hiding my feelings. So, if I’m not having a good time, I might use that. It’s theatre, you’re on a stage. I like that dynamic with the audience not knowing, like, Who am I gonna get tonight? What’s it gonna be? It is what it is…” - Deep Cutz


First Rodeo (EP / 2011)

To Be Here (LP / 2012)

The Finder (Single / 2013)

Blue Skies (LP / 2014)



Pink Lightning formed in 2008 in Detroit, MI.  Originally comprised of Neal Parks, Everette Rinehart, and Leo McWilliams, the group performed as a busking trio in the Eastern Market district.  With the addition of vocalist Chris Butterfield and guitarist Matt Paw, the band began developing their post-punk sound, garnering them a following in throughout their native city and greater midwest.  Their first full-length album, 2012's "Happy To Be Here," saw the departure of Paw and addition of guitarist Tom Bahorski.  2014 saw the completion of their second full-length LP.  "Blue Skies," described by local writer Jeff Milo as"...nightclub lounge-pop cycloned into mutated post-ska jigs...punk-ghosts of crazy carnivals, nervy ragtime and twisted gypsy folk," was released December 13th to critical acclaim.