Bob Log III: "The Cramps Would Be So Proud of Me"
Bob Log III
"I realized a long time ago that drunk people and 4-year-olds are really the same thing," says Bob Log III, taking a break from playing dolls with his niece in his sister's Los Angeles backyard. "And that's how I approach my show."
Leader of the one-man-band that bears his name, Log assures that his gigs are perfectly appropriate for the younger set, despite the fact that one of his most popular ditties is "Boob Scotch," a song that's about, you guessed it, drinking Scotch off boobs and is often acted out by bare-breasted attendees of both sexes at shows. Kids, like boozers, "drool, fall over, and are mostly just having a good time, but there's always the surly one in the corner."
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It's hard to be surly at a Bob Log III show, which he describes as: "One man band. Guitar. Party. Mess." Oh yeah, he wears a helmet (think Evel Knievel) and often "sails" on top of his audience in a rubber dinghy (three falls; one injury). "My shows are like the un-birthday in Alice in Wonderland," he explains. "I do parties for no reason. All over the world, all the time." No presents needed; just presence.
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The partying began in Doo Rag, his lo-fi blues duo based in Tucson, who toured with Beck, Sonic Youth, and the Cramps. In fact, Cramps guitarist Poison Ivy Rorsach was a big influence. "They were the straightest band I've ever toured with. We were 22, whoo-hoo. And Ivy would have a little sit down with us and ask, 'Do you tour to get drunk, or do you tour to play your music? 'Cause we're in Houston and all these people want to see you play, and I see you've already had four beers each." Log saw the light, and now, "Every time on tour I have a salad or eat some extra fruit, I think, 'The Cramps would be so proud of me.' I tour because I love playing guitar, so anything that gets in the way of that is a problem."
Log's beguiling persona and music is at once sublime, beautifully utopian and old-fashioned, while his enthusiasm and talent prove a winning mix of lo- and hi-fi in his six records in 11 years and myriad live shows. "I'm not like some purist guy, I can't be: I mean, from the beginning I've used drum machines, but I also use real drums," he explains. "I'm manually playing guitar, old school, a picker; I don't use pedals. I have an acoustic and electric sound and mix 'em together coming out of the same guitar."
As for his drumming--it was initially inspired by the mid-80s two-drummer lineup of the Butthole Surfers. "My drum machine sound, it's a beat, but never fully pre-programmed, I can change it any time, any minute. I also do real drums with my real feet, so I make it like I have two drummers; I got a drunk drummer and a tight drummer; and they fight."
Thus comes the crux of the Bob Log III musical wonderland: "I try to make time, instead of being a linear thing, like a rubber band. For that hour and 10 minutes [on stage], when I'm in charge of time, I can make it do whatever I want. I can make it stop, or slow down or speed up. Go sideways. I can take time and shove cake up its nose and shove it under the water, then take it out of the pool, dust it off and buy it a sandwich. I am suddenly the complete master of time," he says, the joy evident in his voice. "And that's what keeps me going."
Bob Log III plays Monday, August 4 at the McKittrick Hotel, free show, doors 10:30 pm; and Tues., August 5 at the Wick, 9 pm., $12-$14.
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