Driving across the North American continent with only a box of guitars, drum parts and the blues—and prolly the directions to dozens of roadhouses, dimly lit bars and rustic concert venues as companions—Bob Log III makes an appearance on Tuesday night at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW). He may or may not have his dinghy on board, but this mysterious and damn talented master of the six-string promises a jam party complete with dancing, boob-stirred drinks and lap sitting as part of the experience. Log wears a human cannonball outfit and microphone-equipped helmet during his performances. He recently chatted with the Alibi on his drive out west. The guitarist now calls Melbourne, Australia home, and stopped in the western desert to talk.
AM: So this is your big summer tour, eh?
BLIII: I get to come back home to America at least once a year, and I love it. I have a blast. I’ll play anywhere there’s a room full of people drinking beer, and that’s pretty much a lot of places.
AM: How’s it shaping up?
BLIII: This one’s pretty big, man. At one point, I’m going to be doing 37 shows in a row; it’s gonna get real interesting, but I’m also gonna get real good. I’ve been practicing 17 years for this show coming up in Albuquerque. But I keep it interesting. I change it up. I don’t do set lists. I just get up there and kinda see what happens.
AM: Are you touring as a solo act this time around?
BLIII: It’s just me and the car. My plan is to kidnap people. I do have an opening band for the stretch from Nashville to New Hampshire.
AM: You’re playing that legendary Silvertone guitar for this tour, aren’t you?
BLIII: I am, but I also have some Airline guitars right now too. I get acoustic guitars and put a Silvertone pickup on them, and I put a piezo-accoustic pickup on them. There are two outs, so I get a distorted sound and an acoustic sound at the same time; that way I cover every frequency a guitar can possibly make.
AM: Don’t you also play the drums at the same time?
BLIII: When I play drums, I try to sound like a tight drummer and a drunk drummer at the same time. So time becomes like a rubber band, and I can move it or change it or shape it anyway I want. All day, time rules your day … but for an hour and a half each night I get to be the master of time. For the drunk drummer, I have a kick drum and a cymbal. For the tight drummer, I use a drum machine. My two drummers kinda hate each other. I get to finger-pick on top of the fighting.
AM: That sounds kinda tense.What do you think about that kind of tension in music?
BLIII: It's really a kind of release. The first time people started banging on rocks, it was some kind of celebration. The first music—people banging on the stuff around them—probably would have been really fucking fun. I’m trying to keep music fun. That’s my job. I don’t know anything else.
AM: Besides being fun to listen and party to, some have said your act is deeply transgressive. What are your thoughts on that?
BLIII: I’m a guitar player, and I've played since I was 11. I take that seriously, but I try to turn that into a party, a guitar party. I’m trying to get people to dance, and to dance wrong. If they drop a drink and the glass breaks, I’m doing my job. People can come on stage anytime and get crazy, and I encourage that. They come up and sit on me and I bounce them around while I play. I couldn’t actually do that in normal time, but when I play guitar I get energy I don’t normally have.
AM: What about the boob references: boobs as accompanying instruments or boob-stirred scotch?
BLIII: It’s about making fun of people who use boobs to try and sell you something. I’m saying boobs are ridiculous; let’s take out the sexy, the commercial power. Let’s do something folks would never do with their boobs. I dare anyone in the audience to do it and not smile. As for the song itself, instead of writing a song about what made my day bad, I wrote a song about what made my day good. That day, a woman saw me drinking, said give me that drink and just put her boob in it. I took a sip, and that made me feel fucking better.
AM: How does that work within your music?
BLIII: It’s the blues turned into a party. It’s like Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. The songs aren’t about being sad anymore … Rock and roll came around, and then I decided to put on a funny suit and throw a party. It’s hilarious, and it’s the coolest guitar you’ve ever heard.
Bob Log III performs his one-of-a-kind take on the blues at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Tuesday, July 22, at 9pm. Doors are at 8pm, and the cover is just 8 clams.