Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Small Motor Mechanic On Rampage

You've probably never heard of Jack Logan. His is a fun story to tell. In Athens, GA, there are many small motors that run things like pool filters, refrigerators, generators, etc. Those motors break down. When they do, they need to be repaired. Jack Logan might have been your man if that was the situation you found yourself in.

On the other hand, Athens, GA is also a hotbed of musical activity. In that case, Jack Logan could also be the man you call on when in need of some musical grease monkey business.

Here's how I understand the Legend of Jack Logan (any errors are only fuel for the fire)...

Back in the early '90's, Peter Buck of R.E.M. told Peter Jesperson about a mechanic in Athens who wrote amazing songs. Peter Jesperson discovered The Replacements, ran Twin/Tone records out of Minnesota, and in so doing was basically the George Martin of the American Underground. Jesperson was intrigued and contacted Logan to ask him to send in some material.

Nothing came across his desk.

He asked again.

More nothing. Time passed. More asking.

Finally a bundle of cassettes arrives. It is a complete archive of his work from 1979 to 1993. Over 600 songs. Jesperson is blown away. He sets about listening to the tapes and from those culls 42 tracks that are released as a double album called 'Bulk'.

Jack Logan may be the only artist who ever debuted with a career retrospective.

Now I've bought several other of his albums and they are all fantastic. But nothing can equal the sheer force of that auspicious beginning. The titles alone are worth pondering...

Female Jesus

The Floating Cowboy

Graves Are Fun To Dig

15 Years In Indiana


New Used Car and a Plate of Bar-B-Que

Shit for Brains

Fuck Everything

The Sweetest Fruit

They veer from Stones-y vamps to country laments to strangled punk anthems. The breadth is incredible. There are polished songs with no sense of being homemade at all and there are songs where percussion is played with a book of matches run against a set of window blinds.

Critical response was immediate and definitive. The album was a minor cult hit and enabled Logan to finance a more unified recording of his next album 'Mood Elevator'. This almost beats 'Bulk' in my book. He toured behind this album, getting a leave of absence from the motor shop where he had worked for over 10 years.

He played The Mercury Lounge in NYC backed by his long time cohorts Liquor Cabinet. It was a good time show that was unafraid to break your heart.

Or get your motor runnin'.

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