Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bob Log III @ Off Broadway

      Opener Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout was really something else. I've never witnessed a lead singer take his mic with him upstairs, into the bathroom, and out the front door all while singing. The craziest part? It wasn't a wireless microphone. He was dragging this thing on a cable throughout the whole venue, frequently serenading the audience one person at a time. Despite the strangeness, the band sounded cool too, spanning several genres including circus music. I might describe it as weird hardcore (weirdcore? Is that a thing?)
     Bob Log III is a blues musician. That's the simple way of putting it. He's a one man band. Also, he always wears the helmet and jumpsuit. Seeing him in concert is definitely an experience. At first I was really intrigued by the absurdity of the whole thing. He can barely see out of the helmet and his songs are mostly about sex and "doing whatever the hell you want." But then, as the show continued, I became incredibly impressed with the music and the skill it takes to perform that music. It's pretty hard to concentrate on singing, guitar, kick drum, high-hat, two drum-machines, and a clap pedal at the same time. My eyes couldn't even follow his left hand.
    Audience participation? At every show he invites two girls to sit on his knees while he plays his hit song, "I Want Your Shit On My Leg."
     "This one is for the ladies. And when I say ladies, I mean ladies named Shirley. Any Shirley's out there? No? No Shirley's? Well shit, this song ain't gonna fuckin work."
     I'm serious when I say that the last true bluesman is not Jack White or The Black Keys. It's Bob Log III. Isn't that what the blues was all about? Being the only person in your band, drinking, and acting crazy? 
   Here's a music video to help you understand what it's all about.

    Before the show, I was able to get a brief interview with Mr. Log himself. He laid on a couch while I sat down. I was like a therapist, trying to understand his insanity.

Anti-Formula: How old were you when you learned to play guitar and how did you learn?
Bob Log III: Well, I first started to play guitar when I was eleven. Umm, I didn't necessarily LEARN to play guitar when I was eleven but I started. And how did I learn? I just picked it up, put on a record and started just making noise  like the record was making, or tried to anyway. Just start hitting it. "Beat that thing every fuckin day," that was the plan.

AF: Where are you from and where do you live now?
BL: I'm from Tuscon, Arizona but I live in Melbourne, Australia.

AF: Is it true that the toilets flow backwards in Australia?
BL: I've never seen that happen because we don't have a swirley toilet, we've just got a whoooosh! toilet. It just all goes straight.

AF: Besides Evel Knievel, what are some of your influences?
BL: Well, Angus from AC/DC. I kinda liked Superman when I was a kid. And, uh, I like pole-vaulters. I think that they do a good job getting over that pole.

AF: They do. They are some of the most underrated athletes, I think.
BL: Right, right. And it's kind of a sport you kinda have to do alone. There's no real "team" pole-vaulting. And I'm not saying that there shouldn't be team sports, that's great. I play like pole-vaulting of music. It's kinda like you kinda gotta be alone to do it the way it's done right. This thing, anyway.

AF: If you weren't a musician or a pole-vaulter, what would you be?
BL: Yeah, I have no idea. I've never even thought about that. Hmm... nope, no idea. [laughs] Never occurred to me.

AF: Alright, that's all I got. Thank you very much.
BL: Alright, Dakota. That was very easy! Thank you very much, man.

     I'd like to end this one with a quote from the show last night. I want it to be the epitaph on my tombstone.

"I ain't done yet, goddamit." - Bob Log III

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mildred and The Mice - I Like My Mice (Dead)

There is a shroud of mystery that surrounds the musical act Mildred and The Mice. Jack White, the album's producer, has given us one story about a hardware store, a Winnebago, and a lack of artist info but I have some doubts. It's a wonderful story and I hope it's true but I just can't be sure. However, I know that they created a 45 single and that's what I'm going to talk about.

I picked this up at Vintage Vinyl knowing nothing about Mildred or her mice. I just knew that Jack White is one of my favorite producers and the girl on the front looks crazy. Awesome.

"I Like My Mice (Dead)" is a very simple song containing only two or three chords. It begins with Mildred singing in "meows" with some instruments behind it. Everything stops and the guitar comes back with a different riff. The ultimate stomp beat, Mildred shouts about killing mice. The guitars sound naturally distorted, a common theme with Jack White. After a few great screams, the tempo really picks up. If you listen, you can tell that Mildred barely has any breathe. She makes this kind of face-melting noise towards the end.

The B-Side, "Spider Bite," also starts with some excellent meowing. The song is very slow and scary as Mildred sings lyrics that are similar to "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" except the spider sneaks into houses and bites children. Then she sings about a cat that comes along and kills some more mice, a common theme in Mildred's small discography. Very quickly the song changes back into the fast tempo of "I Like My Mice (Dead)" and the entire song changes. That's right, the B-Side turns into the A-Side.

"I Like My Mice (Dead)" is out now on Third Man Records. The mystery of this record only makes it more exciting. I think it's pretty interesting, funny, bold, and a great way to make your friends very concerned. I only pray that Mildred hasn't already murdered the rest of her band...