Backbeat: Butch Walker Plays In-Store, Takes to Photo Booth To Save Atlanta's Criminal Records
Backbeat: Butch Walker Plays In-Store, Takes to Photo Booth To Save Atlanta's Criminal Records

Butch Walker
Record Store Day: Butch Walker clowning it up with Criminal Records' owner Eric Levin (left) and Criminal Record employees Carol Lai, Jason Huges, Lillian Lai-Huges and Kim Glenn.

With Criminal Records' future at stake, Butch Walker who lives in the same neighborhood as the Atlanta indie record store, appeared for an in-store performance to celebrate his new album and book; his guitarist's latest album; and to benefit the "Save Criminal Records" effort.

The in-store show was Oct. 9 and 200 fans bought a copy of either Walker's new record "Spade," or pre-ordered his book, "Drinking with Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt, or bought a copy of Walker band guitarist Fran Capitanelli's album, "Kave Talk."

Check out all of our Backbeats -- our exclusive look at the people behind the music business - right here.

In fact, Capitanelli is a former longtime Criminal Records employee, having worked at the store for over 10 years and whose album is on the Criminal Records' record label.

After the event, Walker made himself available to fans to get their pictures taken in the store's photo booth for $5 a pop.

Over a hundred fans took him up on the offer, with proceeds going toward the "Save Criminal Records" fund.

"What a generous gift Butch did for the store and his fans," says Criminal Records owner Eric Levin. "It was a very cool and open thing to do -- to spend so much time to take pictures with over 100 fans."

Since Levin announced that he had over-expanded and over-leveraged the operation and would go out of business to pay off debts, the Atlanta community has rallied around the store, helping to raise funds to keep it open, and boosting business by 70 percent, Levin reports. While the fund has yet to reach its goal, when it does, Levin says he plans on sharing store ownership with his employees, Lillian Lai-Hughes, who has worked there for 20 years; Shannon Mulvaney, who has worked there for 12 years; and Eddie Parsley, who has worked there for eight years. In addition to remaining involved in the store, Levin plans to continue to run the Criminal Records labels and the Alliance of Independent Media Stores Coalition, which he founded.

Butch Walker

Butch Walker
Butch Walker poses with fans in the photo booth at the Atlanta "Save Criminal Records" event.