B-movie bluesman Bob Log III speaks in a stoner’s cadence, with jazzy rolls, micro-lulls and odd word emphases that recall the late great comedian Mitch Hedberg. It’s an eerie likeness, enough to make you wonder if Hedberg is beneath the helmet, living as this other dude until the time is ripe for a reveal. But did Hedberg play guitar? Could he do it and simultaneously manage a kick drum and cymbal? Was he fascinated with both AC/DC and Delta blues? Did he once claim to have a monkey paw instead of a hand? Mayhap he did, mayhap he didn’t.
All that Hedberg mess is just somethin’ to talk about, really. That’s an idea Bob Log III can get behind, seeing as the paw, the helmet and the organic (read: not his fault) trend of fans putting their pink parts in a glass of scotch whiskey is just conversation fodder. And speakin’ of that, City Weekly got in touch with Bob Log III this week to cover those aspects of Bob Log III that are talk-aboutable. One of those topics being whether or not the antics that accompany Log’s one-man blues-punk explosion—audible on his latest album My Shit Is Perfect (Birdman)—will fly in our famously conservative town when he plays the Urban Lounge on Thursday night.
City Weekly: Does the “Boob Scotch” stuff fly here?
Bog Log III: “Boob Scotch” is a song—all I’m doin’ is playin’ it. If someone jumps onstage and puts their book in my drink ... that’s not my fault. They’re just makin’ the show that much more fun for all the rest of us.
CW: Six years since your last album—is that the recommended gestation period for perfect “Shit”?
BLIII: I don’t think there is any recommendation for perfect shit. Let me just say this: It’s not a race. It’s not, ‘You gotta paint that picture by Tuesday, man!’ What I like is people makin’ somethin’ they like and finishin’ it when it’s done. Part of the problem for me is I tour so much. I’ll go home and write a couple songs and record ‘em, and a couple months later I gotta leave again. So yeah, it takes me a while to make a record. I don’t have any deadlines. I personally believe that if you gotta make a record by July, you’re gonna make a shitty record. And then you’re gonna have to listen to it for the rest of your life and say, ‘Goddamn. I wish I took a little longer.’ It’s done when I love it. And there it is. My shit is perfect. And because it took so long it was extra perfect.
CW: What’s behind the switch to Birdman? Was Fat Possum getting too drunk and rough?
BLIII: Nothin’, really. I love Fat Possum. I’m still gonna work with them someday. To me, a label is just like a pair of pants. Every once in a while you gotta change it. Just a little bit. You’ll make some new friends and spread some stuff around. But it also is because I can only carry 50 pounds on airplanes flyin’ from Australia; I can’t bring 200-500 CDs on tour anymore. They have to be manufactured on every continent I go to. So I made the record myself, all alone on Bloat Records—which is me—in Australia and Japan. In America, Birdman decided they could help me the most. But technically this is happening because of airline baggage requirements. Look at what we’ve become, man [laughs]!CW: Do the helmet, boobs, monkey paw, et cetera distract people from the music?
BLIII: 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.
CW: Bizarre magazine said, “Bob Log III is to the blues what cannibal Issei Sagawa is to cookery.” There’s something talk-aboutable.
BLIII: [laughing] I don’t know what the hell that means, necessarily. But one group of people that tends to get more upset about what I do is blues purists or blues Nazis. The guys that think the only blues is a Stratocaster played through a Fender, by a guy wearin’ a beret, who plays “Sweet Home Chicago” and that’s it! Those guys get really upset with me. That’s fine—if you like that music, go ahead.
Please. I’m not tryin’ to stop ya. But if you go back a little bit further in the blues, you get into Robert Johnson and Son House. And what were those guys doin’? They were beatin’ on an old fucked up guitar in a dirty bar and just possibly puttin’ their boobs in each other’s drinks. It’s a bunch of people sweatin’ and dancin’ and gettin’ their problems out. That’s where I’m comin’ from.