Sitting in the lap of blues-rocker Bob Log III
Bob Log III has a “face” you can’t forget. The one-man band doesn’t go to a single show without his uniform consisting of a one-tone jumpsuit (often crushed velvet) and a motorcycle helmet with a tinted face mask and built-in microphone/old-fashioned telephone propped on the front. The helmet completely obscures his facial features and never comes off during a performance.
“Even as a kid, there were certain record covers that I hated, and the first one that pops to mind is that Phil Collins record cover where it’s just Phil Collins’ face,” Log said recently by phone. “How many record covers are just someone’s face? I don’t know what this music is because all I’m looking at is someone’s face. If you remove the face from the music, now you gotta focus more on the music.”
It’s not just an aesthetic choice, the helmet is a logistical must. Log’s sound often blends the grit of Delta blues, fervor of rock ’n’ roll, and energy of punk rock, meaning the delivery is fast and furious and all appendages are occupied. Not having to fuss with a mic stand frees him up to fly through licks on his Silvertone and simultaneously stomp away with both feet on a full percussion line-up.
Log (born Robert Logan Reynolds III) grew up in Arizona listening to classic rock and blues, from AC/DC to Mississippi Fred McDowell. The influences led Log to style his own playing as a blend of Delta blues and straightforward rock.
“I wasn’t able to learn things correctly, so I kind of combined these two things and didn’t really learn either one right, and I tried to make a guitar party,” Log said. “If you listen to old Delta blues, what was that music trying to do? It wasn’t trying to make people feel sad. The music I hear was trying to make people jump up on the table. It’s taking your sadness and turning it into something so insanely fun that somebody’s gonna do something that we’re all gonna talk about tomorrow.”
In Log’s case, some of that talk might come from a level of shock factor. With songs like “Boob Scotch” and “I Want Your Shit on My Leg,” during both of which Log invites audience participation, his live show rides a fine line between schtick and crass.
“Some people, I suppose, see this as vulgar, but if I can have a girl on my leg [while playing a song] or a guy—it doesn’t matter if it’s a girl or a guy—it’s just somebody who’s now crossed the line from audience to the stage,” Log said. “Once the line is removed, people start to have more fun than they would normally have at a show where they would have to stay behind the barricade.”
So far in 2017, Log’s already toured throughout Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S. The travel is seemingly endless, but it doesn’t bother him.
“The reason I wake up every morning is to play guitar at the end of the day,” Log said. “Whatever I gotta do to get to where I gotta play—if it’s a boat, a plane and a car. If at the end of the day I get to play guitar, that’s why I do everything.”
Even with a world of venues under his belt, Log is especially looking forward to his performance at Duffy’s (Friday, March 31).
“Chico has a mythic place in my mind,” Log said. “Before I started touring, there was a band in Tucson called Pollo Elastico. [They] went on a big U.S. tour, came home, and all they could talk about was Chico.”