IT’S A BOB LOG-APALOOZA:
A lot of people don’t know who Bob Log III is. Those that have seen him will never forget who he is.
My first Bob Log III experience came at the Deep Blues Festival ‘08. He played with Possessed By Paul James and Scott H. Biram at a few night shows so I managed to catch him a couple of times outside of the festival and once at the festival. The first time I saw him I was convinced it was Scott H. Biram in a silver jump suit and a helmet, but then I walked up to the bar for a drink and Scott was sitting there. Suddenly I wondered, who the fuck was this man on the stage in a full-faced helmet and full-body cannonball man suit? As the show wore on he had women sitting on his lap, women with their tits in his drinks and by the end of the weekend he had a devoted fan in myself.
Bob Log was born in Chicago and raised in Arizona. When on stage Bob wears a full-faced helmet with a microphone wired into a telephone handset attached to the front of the face shield. When asked about hiding his face while on stage Bob tries to put it in perspective, “”My face has nothing to do with the music, I’d much rather people pay attention to my guitar playing.”
Let’s talk about that guitar playing. Bob picked up the guitar like most 10-11 year olds, but when most 16 year olds would have been learning the riffs to the latest pop rock song Bob started playing slide guitar, modeling his style on that of Mississippi Fred Mcdowell. Playing with a style that is seemingly too fast to be natural, Fat Possum Records started the rumor that Bob had a monkey paw grafted onto his right hand following a tragic boating accident when he was a kid. When pressed about the monkey paw rumor in an interview with Bizarre Magazine, Bob explained, “I’ve got all my limbs. It’s just that when I’m playing my guitar my hand moves so fast it looks like a monkey paw, a hairy paw. My hand moves really fast. Faster than a normal human hand.” Personally, I love the monkey paw rumor.
If none of this has convinced you that Bob Log III is worthy of your attention, then perhaps this quote from Tom Waits will bring you around. Once in an interview, when asked what sort of new stuff he was listening to, Tom replied, “And then there’s this guy named Bob Log, you ever heard of him? He’s this little kid — nobody ever knows how old he is — wears a motorcycle helmet and he has a microphone inside of it and he puts the glass over the front so you can’t see his face, and plays slide guitar. It’s just the loudest strangest stuff you’ve ever heard. You don’t understand one word he’s saying. I like people who glue macaroni on to a piece of cardboard and paint it gold. That’s what I aspire to basically”. Seriously, when Tom Waits calls you strange, you’ve made it.
Back in early April Bob’s fifth solo album, My Shit Is Perfect, was released on Birdman Records. I’ve tried to figure out a way to describe his sound and the best I can come up with is this: Imagine Scott H. Biram with a tongue hyper-extended into his cheek but dead. fucking. serious. I’m not even sure you can truly appreciate Bob on cd unless you’ve actually seen him live. I know I probably wouldn’t have and according to a recent interview, I think Bob agrees:
City Weekly: Do the helmet, boobs, monkey paw, et cetera distract people from the music?
Bob Log III: I don’t drive with the helmet on anymore. I only wear it when I play. Helmet, monkey paw, suit, boob scotch—all this stuff’s basically somethin’ to talk about. I’m a guitar player, right? [laughs] That’s what I do. But you’re never gonna know what my guitar fingerpickin’ sounds like until you hear me do it. People can write about it until they’re blue in the face, usin’ all kinds of adjectives, but you’re not gonna know what it sounds like. On the other hand, if you’re readin’ an article where someone’s puttin’ a boob in a drink, ridin’ a boat on top of a crowd with a helmet on his head, we can all understand that. So I’m makin’ your job incredibly easy. ‘The ripping, swirling fingers of his magnitudeness—” You don’t have to go there. But [the show] is talk-aboutable.
Fortunately for you, he is currently on tour (and playing The Garage here in St. Pete on May 24), so get your ass out to a show and buy the cd afterwards.