Bob Log III is an American slide guitar one-man band. During performances, he plays old Silvertone archtop guitars, wears a full body human cannonball suit, and a motorcycle helmet wired to a telephone receiver, which allows him to devote his hands and feet to guitar and drums. The spectacle has been described as a blues punk guitar dance party.
He tours over 150 shows a year in more than 30 countries. Bob Log's version of quick Delta blues is a continuation of the sound that Bob Log and Thermos pioneered in the duo Doo Rag. The major differences are: greater emphasis on guitar showmanship, fingerpicking, and one-man-band-style drumming with his feet. Based in Tucson, Arizona, and Melbourne, Australia, he has made tours of North America, Europe, Japan and Australia, Mexico, and Iceland.
Bob Log III was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Arizona. Growing up, Log listened to musical artists such as AC/DC, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Bo Diddley, Hasil Adkins and Chuck Berry, later commenting that "That's what rock'n'roll is to me. You take a guitar, turn it up, make the ladies dance, and have a good time." Bob Log got his first guitar at the age of 11, and by the age of 16 he had moved to slide guitar, playing Delta blues, modeling his slide guitar style on that of Mississippi Fred McDowell. Log began his music career recording and touring with Mondo Guano, a four-piece slide guitar, blues, home-made percussion band based in Tucson, Arizona. Upon leaving Mondo Guano, Log went on to perform as one half of the Delta blues rock duo, Doo Rag, with bandmate Thermos Malling.
After six years of making music with Doo Rag, Bob began a solo career, warming up audiences for R. L. Burnside, Blues Explosion, Ween, Franz Ferdinand, and Ani Difranco among others.
Over time, Log acquired a kick-drum and a homemade foot cymbal which he custom-outfitted with a kick pedal of its own. These instruments, combined with his slide guitar work, telephone microphone vocals, and drum machine accompaniment, form the framework on which Bob Log constructs his songs. Log describes his on-stage setup in the song "One Man Band Boom", introducing himself to the audience as, "Bob Log the third, one-man band, Tucson, Arizona. Heyeeeh! Lemme introduce the band to ya. On cymbals, left foot. Over here on the bass drum we got right foot. Shut up! This is my left hand that does all the slide work, right hand does the pickin'. My mouth hole does most of the talkin'. And you're looking at my finger. My finger is an asshole."
The monkey paw
An early press release from record label Fat Possum claimed Log had a monkey paw grafted on to his wrist after a boating accident as a child. According to Bob Log's artist page at Fat Possum Records: "When Bob Log III was a child, he lost his left hand in a boating accident. It was soon replaced with a monkey paw, and a new guitar style was born. 'It's my own personal style, see,' Log says, 'the paw moves much quicker than a normal hand, so my real hand has to flop around a lot to compensate.'" When asked to explain Fat Possum's insistence that his right hand is a monkey's paw, Log replied to an interviewer that, "My hand is just hairy. Very, very hairy. It is NOT a paw. Fat Possum was drunk." Log further clarified the monkey paw myth in an interview with Bizarre Magazine: "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."
During performances Bob Log will often call audience members (both male and female) on stage to sit on his knee while he plays. Log credits years of drumming with his feet for his ability to simultaneously drum and support the weight of multiple people: "My legs are huge now. Sometimes I can get a girl on each knee and bounce 'em along." Log has distinctively used breasts as a theme in his performance and hired two "professional women" to use their breasts as percussion instruments on his song "Clap Your Tits". Log is quick to point out that all of these acts are carried out between consenting adults and individuals familiar with his brand of humor, stating, "First of all, if you come to my show knowing I've got a song called "Boob Scotch" and you get offended, I'm sorry but I've got to say just get out."
Eventually, Bob Log added a wireless set-up to his guitar in order to allow him to take part in more active antics about the venues in which he is playing. On a number of occasions, Bob has set sail atop his audience in an inflatable dingy or played portions of his set from the women's washroom. During various shows on his September 2009 UK tour Bob Log would enter/exit the stage whilst playing guitar sitting on top of the shoulders of Russell Gray, lead singer of Russell and The Wolves.
One of Bob Log III's more controversial antics is 'Boob Scotch', that is, scotch which has been stirred by a female (or male) breast. This practice was integrated into the song "Boob Scotch" from the album Log Bomb, in which Bob Log sings "I think we need to sit down and talk, put your boob in my scotch. Come on dip your tit in my drink, stir my scotch with something that's pink."
Bob Log III often invites audience members to 'make' a Boob Scotch, asking them onstage to dip their breast in his scotch (usually ordered for him by a fan) after which he lifts his helmet slightly and downs the drink. Log has also been known to dip his own breast in his scotch.
"I'm a professional, God damn it. I live in a car."
"Ladies and gentlemen's... We've all got boobs people, look between your, your, non-boobs... what you're going to find is a nipple! No matter if you're a man or woman, OR an angry woman."
Quotes about Bob Log III
Tom Waits: "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."