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Mr. Butch - Allston, Ma. c. 1983

Harold Madison, Jr., (September 11, 1951 — July 12, 2007[1]), more widely known as Mr. Butch, and formerly known as the "King of Kenmore Square" and "The Mayor of Allston" was a homeless man living on the streets of Boston. Over the course of three decades, he gained significant celebrity among Boston's college students and within its rock scene.

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Biography

In the mid- to late-1970s, Mr. Butch was often seen on the streets near the Berklee College of Music, playing a Fender Stratocaster guitar, with an open tuning that allowed him to play chords with a single finger. His wild dreadlock hairstyle and choice of guitar invited comparisons with Jimi Hendrix.

During the 1980s, Mr. Butch's fame among the local music scene grew, and he was given gigs at The Underground in Allston and The Rat in Kenmore Square, as well as Channel club on Boston's waterfront (all now defunct). Besides solo gigs, he would also sometimes perform with his band of rotating musicians and derelicts, "Mr. Butch and the Holy Men". It was around this time that he began to be featured in The Noise, a local music fanzine published by T Max, and was featured in many of their advertisements. Mr. Butch is mentioned in the liner notes to local hardcore punk compilation Bands That Could Be God, which featured, among others, Deep Wound (pre-Dinosaur Jr.), as the man to whom the compilation would be dedicated had he been on God's other side. Mr. Butch is also featured in the art work for the CD compilation I've Got My Friends. It features a combination of Boston and San Francisco punk bands, including The Unseen, Dropkick Murphys, The Outlets, The Ducky Boys, Swingin' Utters, The Working Stiffs, and Showcase Showdown.

In the late 1990s, the Boston University campus police, extending their authority over Kenmore Square, exiled Mr. Butch to Allston, a neighborhood of Boston west of the Square. Mr. Butch sought refuge where he could find it, sleeping in friends' homes, a practice space where friends' punk bands played, and occasionally in ATM lobbies. He often played his guitar and penny whistle.

Mr. Butch's likeness appears in a mural on the side of a building located on the corner of Cambridge Street and Harvard Avenue in Allston.

His legend is also commemorated by a mural on the wall of The Joint Boston, a connoisseur smoke shop located at 1080 Commonwealth Avenue. The Joint also commissioned an artist to custom design a glass water statue in his likeness for display.

Death

Mr. Butch was traveling inbound on Brighton Avenue on his scooter around 8 a.m. July 12, 2007 at a speed close to 50 miles per hour when he struck a light pole. He was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 56.

A memorial was held Sunday July 22, 2007, where a crowd of about 1000 people gathered in the streets of Allston to honor him. Streets were closed off as the procession, led by the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band traveled down Brighton and Harvard Ave before filing into the International Community Church for a memorial service. [2]

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