Bob Log III is talented. He’s a one-man slide guitar (and percussion) band celebrating all things delta bluesy, punky and rock and roll. But above all, Bob Log III is mental – and absolutely unforgettable.
Never turning up without his sparkly motorcycle helmet (wired up with an old-school telephone at the front to mic him up) and wearing a stuntman-style gold jumpsuit, his persona and presence is as much a part of the performance as the music itself.
At the Hare & Hounds, his set starts from backstage; a bluesy riff begins with no sign of the man himself, then he appears, strutting his way through the crowd, battered amplified acoustic in hand.
During his show, Bob pulls up girls to sit on his knee while he plays kick drums and the hi-hat with his feet (a regular part of his set) and pours Bucks Fizz into a dog bowl and inflatable duck for the audience to drink out of.
“Now it’s a party,” he quips, as the dog bowl and inflatable duck are returned empty to the front of the stage.
It certainly feels like an old-school party. Earlier he got us blowing up a pack of balloons and now they’re all floating around us and drowning him on stage.
Loud and addictive
His sound is loud, bluesy and addictive. I’d say it’s more towards a kids party on steroids.
Bob plays explicit hits such as Boob Scotch (with the famous refrain “get your tits out my scotch”), and My Shit is Perfect – such uncivil language means little to the audience, who cheer loudly with every jibe he makes between songs.
A recovered and anti-perspired Bob Log sits down with me post-gig for a chat. The mask is off – but it soon becomes apparent that the onstage persona is just an exaggeration of his personality.
But where did Bob Log III begin?
“When I was 11, I just wanted play guitar, and make a party,” he said. “And it took a while.
“At first, I was in a two man band, touring the world. Then my drummer wanted to go home all of a sudden on the day of a gig, so I had a choice – shutting up shop, or finding a way to play drums and guitar by myself, with eight hours to learn how to do it.
“But that sort of made it fun. If I’d had two weeks, it wouldn’t have ended up the same way.
“I like to make playing guitar as fun as possible, so everything I do is to make guitar more fun than it already is.
“If you think about it, it’s basically tap dancing whilst I play guitar. But I do it on a stool.”
He makes a good point and mentions how most of us tap our feet anyway while we play instruments. So maybe you may as well make a bigger deal out of it and use it to your advantage.
Girls sitting on his knee
I also want to discuss why – not to be ageist – all these young, attractive girls are all over a man who is nearing 50. Is there ever any struggle to get girls to sit on his knee?
“You’d be surprised,” he said. “There are days I can get no-one to sit on my knee. But sometimes, I get guys, I’ve had small people, huge people, pregnant people, once I had a baby, I’ve had couples. I’ve done weddings, all kinds of people.
“But I secretly like it when no-one gets up because I love that song, and it means I can play it to perfection for once. Of course, with people on my knee, it makes me play guitar far worse, but it makes the party bigger. I like a challenge.”
The popularity of his knee joints, however, comes with drawbacks.
“There were two girls sitting on me on this show in Sweden, and the crowd went wild,” he explained. “I was thinking ‘God, I’m so good’. And then I realised that the girls were kissing.
“It had nothing to do with me whatsoever, so I just played the song as good as I could. For a second I felt like I was a real rock star!”
Of course you can’t not mention his attire. I ask him if he’s ever regretted the choice of a nylon suit. He claims he doesn’t.
“I get pretty hot sometimes, and when I first got this gold one sewn up, the cuffs were sewn too tight and I couldn’t get it off,” he said. “It felt like a strait jacket.
“And when I first got my suits done, they were made by this older lady. I said I wanted a tight costume, that I could still lift my arms in. She asked if I was an ice skater. I just said ‘yes’ – it was easier than explaining.”
He’s never viewed his act as niche, or specialist. I’ve wondered why it’s always gauged such a thunderous reaction wherever I’ve seen him – from a tiny festival in the heart of Dorset, seven years ago, to the streets of quaint Guildford, to the Hare & Hounds in Birmingham.
But to Bob, it’s always been universally appealing: “It’s rock and roll. I grew up loving ACDC and Chuck Berry. I’m speaking that language, but with a little twist.
“I’m not surprised when people get it. It’s not like I’ve planned out this whole thing, it’s just like this is what I do. It is what it is.”
And no, he doesn’t plan on stopping soon.
“It’s just too much fun playing drums wrongly.”