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Bob Log III
Dec 2007. Interview by Eric Gebhardt. Pics Andy Hall
There are about five years of my life that are almost completely missing from my memory. I'm told that I spent them in Orlando, Fl. playing guitar for a rock'n'roll outfit called The Studdogs. However, my memories are so hazy that this may be a joke and my memories were dreamed up after hearing tall tales of this barbarian army called The Studdogs. Scars, old man aches and pains, and war souvenirs lead me to believe at least a fraction of The Studdogs mythology. One memory shrouded in death gray storm clouds has come full circle and revealed itself to be true.
I remember living in a house in Orlando dubbed 'The Scumbag Flophouse'. There were so many people living here that we all had to bunk up. I was walking down the hallway one day when Rich Evans called out to me "Eric, come here and watch this!" Now, Rich was the local punk/blues/rock guru in town. Most of the cool shows in town were booked by him and he was supposedly part of this gang The Studdogs. I sat down on his futon cushion that laid on the floor and watched his computer as a man in a motorcycle helmet screamed the ingredients and instructions on how to make a drink called a Boob Scotch. The ingredients were simple: Scotch of your choice and have it stirred with a boob. As we watched this, Rich and I laughed hysterically until our stomachs hurt. I asked who this Evil Knievel character was and, with my excitement following, Rich replied, "He's Bob Log. I booked him at Will's and we're opening."
The buzz around town grew as Rich hung more and more tour posters. These posters were a giant picture of Bob Log's slide wielding hand gripping a shot of scotch between a pair of naked breasts. Rock'n'rollers, drunks, and even police officers were getting excited. The anticipation for this show was high and seemed only rivaled by a later visit from Log's label mate, T-Model Ford.
The night of the show was a blur. The Studdogs played but no matter what crazy, drunken antics we pulled out of our pants it was no competition to the one-man, bottleneck, blues band. In interviews Log has made comments on the mass of his legs from playing drums with his feet and often a girl on each leg. It's true. All I remember of his stage show was legs, guitar, and motorcycle helmet. A few times his legs were adorned with the dancing women and, of course, he got his requested boob scotch.
After the show I stumbled up to the merch table with nothing on my mind but a record and a Boob Scotch t-shirt. The girl working (girlfriend, groupie - who knows) informed me that they were out of Boob Scotch shirts in my size. Drunk and upset I whined like an eight year old until she pulled out another shirt and said, "This one will look good on you!" I looked down and said, "But that's a girl's shirt!" "Yea, but it'll look good on you though." she retorted. In my drunk and weak male mind I decided that this girl must know what she is talking about and I bought the shirt. To this day, some four or five years later, whenever I wear it someone inevitably says, "Isn't that a girl's shirt?" to which I reply, "Yes it is."
After the show Rich would inform me from time to time that he'd received an e-mail from Mr. Log expressing his excitement over the Studdogs record. He explained in one e-mail that he and his girl had been blasting the record and screwing all up the west coast. Years later I e-mailed Bob Log about the girly tee story and he told me to "wear it with pride" and then asked how the Studdogs were, conforming to me that this story actually happened.
On Oct. 5, 2007, I caught up with Bob at the Hi-Tone in Memphis, Tn. to ask him a few questions...
ERIC: FIRST, HOW ARE THINGS, HOW'S THE TOUR GOING?
Great man, thirty shows in thirty days, my fingers hurt. That's what I was trying to do.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR LEGS?
Legs? I'm limping a little bit. The last couple days... wait, no, someone did sit on me yesterday. Yea, I should be limping more though. I'm surprisingly fit. I can still hit all the high notes. I haven't lost one thing, which is incredible. Yea, we wrecked one rental car but it wasn't really wrecked it just sort of stopped. So yea, successfull tour.
LAST I SAW YOU IN 2003, WHEN 'LOG BOMB' CAME OUT, YOU SAID YOU WERE BIG IN JAPAN...
HAHAHA I wouldn't have said that. Other people say that. I say if I get a thousand people in Tokyo technically I suck, cause there's eighteen fucking million people in Tokyo. A thousand people is not huge in Japan. I play in bars man, I mean they're big bars but it's a bar.
(Truthfully, he may have originally said they love him in Japan, which they do, watch youtube - Eric)
I HEARD A RUMOR THAT LOG BOMB HAD OUTSOLD MARIAH CAREY.
No, it was Celine Dion. I outsold it for one week. Yea, it was one week. They gave me the chart, it's all in Japanese, but, yea, that's alright.
WELL THE QUESTION IS, THAT'S A GREAT RECORD, IT WAS VERY SUCCESSFULL FOR YOU, WHY HAVE WE NOT SEEN A FOLLOW AND CAN WE EXPECT ONE SOON?
No, I just take my own sweet time. I'll never make a record before it's done. To many bands get like, "Oh, you gotta have a record by July" and then you end up making a shitty record that you don't ever want to listen to again for the rest of your life. I made a vow with myself when I was like fourteen that was never going to happen to me. I make a record when it's ready, when it's done, it's out. Then I tour too much and sometimes that makes me take longer than it should.
CAN WE EXPECT THE NEW RECORD ANYTIME SOON?
Oh, it's almost done now man. I'm like two songs away, I just gotta go sit down for a couple months and that's what I'm doing after this tour.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INFLUENCES OUTSIDE OF THE SLEAZE ROCK AND BLUES?
Well my Pop sure was. My Pop use to play me Screaming Jay Hawkins and Lightnin' Hopkins and Mississippi Fred McDowell and all kinds of stuff. When I was growing up it was AC/DC, that's what made me want to play guitar, man. Just straight up AC/DC and Mississippi Fred McDowell pretty much.
YEA, YOU GOT TO PLAY WITH R.L. BURNSIDE CORRECT?
Oh yea, yea. Well I'd already been playing guitar when that happened but, yea, R.L. was great. He was the nicest guy man. Really good guy. Let me play with him even though I wasn't doing so good the first couple of nights. He was like, "I want you playing with me tomorrow. I want you playing with me the next day. You're hangin' in there like a dirty shirt." That means he liked it.
AT BLUES IN LONDON WE COVER ANYTHING BLUES. NO MATTER HOW FAR FROM BLUES IT MAY SEEM.
Well that's alright man.
WELL, WE RUN INTO A LOT OF BRICK WALLS FROM PURISTS AND SUCH. DO YOU FIND THESE BRICK WALLS AS WELL OR DO YOU EVEN CARE ABOUT THE PURISTS?
Ahh, every once in a while I'll give it a whirl, I'll play a blues festival and there is definitely lots of people that like it, but the people that get upset yea, there's a few of the blues purists that get a bit knocky about what they want to hear. So many of them, I think they think the blues is a Fender Stratocaster played through a Twin Reverb and it's like, look man, that's not how anybody did it at the beginning. You know you got a cheap guitar, you beat on it in a bar and that was pretty much what you do, and that's pretty much what I do every goddamn day. Little bit different style of beatin' on it, I mean I don't think I sound too much like some of those guys, but that's where it comes from for sure you know. The way I see it, I bet when Robert Johnson or Charley Patton were playing guitar in a bar I don't think it was a room full of people being sad. I think it was a room probably sweating up a storm, possibly puttin' their boob in each others drink. For sure it was a good time. It wasn't sitting their and studying anything, it was a party and that's where I'm comin' from man, guitar party.
ARE THERE ANY NEWER GROUPS YOU'VE FOUND THAT YOU'RE INTO AND WOULD LIKE TO PLUG?
Oh sure man, I just did some shows with Uncle Scratches Gospel Revival they're fantastic. I like The Pork Torta, well they aren't so new anymore though. Peaches, goddamn it I love Peaches, I love me some Peaches. Yea, well, there's a lot bands I haven't played with yet that I haven't heard so once I get to play with them and hear 'em....
SOMETIMES THERE CAN BE A ROMANTICISED VEIW OF THE SOUTH AND THE DESERT, WHERE YOU'RE FROM, ESPECIALLY OVERSEAS CAUSE GREAT AND ORIGINAL ARTISTS HAVE COME FROM HERE SUCH AS BEEFHEART AND OUTLAW COUNTRY AND SO FORTH AND EVEN AUSTRALIA WHERE THE BIRTHDAY PARTY CAME FROM. WHAT IS IT, IF ANYTHING, ABOUT THESE AREAS THAT CAN BREED GREAT ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS?
Well I don't know how anyone else does it but in Tucson, I think the reason why so many people play music is that it's a little bit slower city. You can work a little less and pay your rent, rents a little cheaper. So, you got more time to mess around on the guitar plus the fact that there's not a lot to do so you have nothing else to do but play guitar. Whereas if I lived in, let's say London just for the heck of it, there's a million goddamn things to do everyday where your not sittin' at home doing what the hell you really want to be doing, you're just being entertained by what someone else thinks they should be doing or you should be watching them do. You know, it's hot, there's nothing to do, you get some weird ideas and then you do 'em. I would hope people do that all over the world, I'm sure there are people in London that have done that same thing.
I DON'T KNOW HOW OLD THIS IS BUT I READ THAT THERE MIGHT BE SOME DOO RAG SHOWS AGAIN?
We just played less than a year ago. We played in Tucson less than a year ago. Then we toured France, well, we didn't, his band and my band toured and we'd play in the bathrooms after the show. That was about two years ago. Yea, so we've been doing a few things here and there but I kinda doubt there'll be a big gigantic tour but you never know man.
ANY FUTURE PLANS TO TOUR ENGLAND AND IF SO WHEN?
I go back to Australia after this and then I go to Japan in February. Until then I'm just doing a few shows in Australia and finishing the record, and once the record is done then I'll be going everywhere again. Which will probably be next year. Yea, I'll be back man, nobody's through with me yet. You're gonna get sick of me.
Tomorrow drive to Little Rock man. We're driving to Little Rock and I've never played Little Rock, Arkansas in my life. After New York, Montreal, San Fransisco, L.A. I've been most excited this whole tour about tomorrow man. I'm tellin' ya, Little Rock, give me a new city, oooh I can't wait. I don't care if there's twenty two people there, I'm gonna fuck their shit up.
My girlfriend spent some time in Biloxi, Ms. living in a tent for hurricane relief. I made her three mixed cds: one country, one rock'n'roll and one blues. She said the blues cd was a hit with all her friends who all ended up copying it. The stand out track...'Boob Scotch' by Bob Log III. This bizarre man and his music will continue to leak into the nooks and crannies of the world. Why, when this man sings chauvinistic songs about boobs and instructs you to "Wag Your Tail Like a Dog in Back of a Truck." This man, in his flashing Evil Kaneval suit and motorcycle helmet, shows us that fun and ridiculousness are not only a real part of our world, but, also, a necessity. The way this man stands at the back of a club holding up a shot of scotch like it was the Olympic Torch, or better yet, the Holy Grail, makes you proud. Proud to love music, proud to be a citizen of the world, and proud of the fun that is hidden within it. I have a feeling (and I sure hope it's true) that Bob Log III will forever stomp the lands, spreading the lessons he's learned from Charley Patton, Fred McDowell, and R.L. Burnside. That lesson...lighten up, and above all, have fun.