Butcher may conjure up images of blood, axes and heavy metal, but the band is really just four goofy, innocent, easygoing guys who aren't scary at all, says multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Josh Sadler.

Butcher may conjure up images of blood, axes and heavy metal, but the band is really just four goofy, innocent, easygoing guys who aren't scary at all, says multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Josh Sadler.

The Ashland band formed informally in 2009, adopted its moniker in 2010 and started playing out last year.

"We stumbled into being a band," Sadler says. "It was all a joke at first."

Butcher is the first project for Sadler and bandmates Greg Alford (drums) and Matt Lambert (guitar). Bassist Larry Coble played in various bands in his home state of Missouri.

The name came after someone in the group suggested the band cover albums by various artists, to which someone replied, "We'd butcher it."

In the end, the band did butcher covers, but they did it on purpose and with pizzazz.

"If different bands were different animals, then we like to cut them up and make musical sausages," Sadler jokes.

Butcher plays covers but takes off on musical tangents, rearranging and reimagining songs by The Grateful Dead, Nathan Moore, Phish, Neil Young, Widespread Panic and others.

"We have no interest in recreating it the way the artist played it, but we are interested in playing what comes through us at the time," Sadler says. "We follow where the music wants to go rather than make the music go where we want it to."

The band calls itself "Southern Oregon's psychoactive, haight-pholk, jam band." This is not to say the band hates folk but, rather, has created its own style of deranged folk with a nod to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, the epicenter of the city's rock 'n' roll movement in the '60s, and to Phish, one of the group's favorite jam bands.

"We're just a folk, jam band with jazz and rock and funky ideas running through it," Sadler says.

In addition, the band has more than a dozen original songs to its credit and several live recordings that can be found on its Facebook page.

Butcher plays at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at The Playwright Public House, 258 A St., Ashland. The cover to the show is $3. Call 541-488-9128.

"Our tagline is, 'It's your fault you came,' " Sadler says. "If you came to a show called Butcher, that's on you."