Chris Butler was born in 1949 in Chagrin Falls, OH, a suburb of Cleveland. While a sociology major at Kent State University in the early '70s, where he was among the student protestors fired upon by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970, Butler became involved in the Kent/Akron/Cleveland music scene, which included future members of Devo, the Pretenders, Pere Ubu, and many other bands. Through the '70s, Butler spent time in a variety of local groups, most notably 15-60-75, also known as the Numbers Band, a semi-legendary blues-rock scene fixture fronted by future Golden Palomino Robert Kidney. Upon leaving the Numbers Band, Butler contributed two solo tracks to a Stiff Records scene document, The Akron Compilation, and then joined with saxophonist Ralph Carney and pianist Harvey Gold to form Tin Huey, a surrealist avant-rock group heavily influenced by Frank Zappa and the Soft Machine. Rather surprisingly for such a willfully non-commercial outfit, Tin Huey signed to Warner Brothers for their first album, Contents Dislodged During Shipment. An often fascinating and deeply weird slab of rock Dada, the album sold poorly and Tin Huey split up after Warners dropped them.