Album cover



Joel “Butterfingers” Johnson “was the worst teacher in the world,” said producer and friend AV Mittlestedt, because he was always on to the next thing. “His mind worked so fast.” Hailing from the Houston, Texas area, Joel and his brother Jim Johnson earned reputations as the smartest guys in the room. Joel wanted to get into the studio business because he thought a musician like himself could record better than any technically-minded engineer in town, and he was pretty much right about that, according to AV. Joel and Jim therefore founded Nashville Sound recording studio on the city outskirts in the early 70s, and worked there as engineers on such grails as “Zero Point” by the Kashmere Stage Band, and “Energy Control Center” & “Country Fried Chicken” by The Lightmen. During this same period at Nashville Sound Joel recorded his one, undated full length LP as “Butterfingers,” a name he got not for clumsiness, but for his unusual use of butter as a string lubricant. He distributed maybe 50 copies of the album with generic blank sleeves, on a label he called Pot Records.

The whole thing is a snarling, heavy Texas psych trip, and with nearly every track revolving around getting high, probably an attempt to cash in on the drug culture of the day — although Joel seems to have been straight and narrow on that count. Always on to the next thing, Joel started dealing antiques and started a bar, TOJ’s — Treasures Of Joel — after said antiques. By ’75 or so Joel got out of the studio business and left it to brother Jim and AV to rename the studio as Sound Masters, which grew into one of Houston’s most well regarded recording establishments. Joel made a fortune on TOJ’s, real estate and other things, and lived well up to his passing in 2020. “He was everywhere at once. He needed a place to put this mental energy. But he could also sit still and move mountains,” said his wife Beth Johnson.

Track List

  1. Butterfingers Hey
  2. Butterfingers Has The Buggerman Got You
  3. Butterfingers Look Out Now
  4. Butterfingers O' Clock Trip
  5. Butterfingers In The Shade Of The Night
  6. Butterfingers High Walkin'
  7. Butterfingers I Feel Like An Elephant
  8. Butterfingers Where Ya Gonna Hide
  9. Butterfingers Why Get High
  10. Butterfingers Bootleg