Not nearly enough people paid notice when Athens, Georgia singer/songwriter Jack Logan released Bulk, an excellent two disc collection of songs he’d written over the years while working as an auto mechanic. Hopefully, more people take note of thee albums Logan is releasing on Backburner (including more of his own), the label he co-owns with friend and fellow musician Kelly Keneipp.
Following the critical success of Bulk, Logan recorded two albums on Restless Records – Mood Elevator and Buzz me In. Both were filled with the unassuming, articulate songwriting Logan has become known for. He followed up his two Restless releases with Little Private Angel, a combination with fellow singer-songwriter Bob Kimball.
Later this spring, Logan will release Monkey Paw, his first album for his own label. Last week, I had the chance to chat with Jack about Backburner, Booze and BBQ.
Nada Mucho: For starters, how did you guys get to be so fucking cool?
Jack Logan: That’s not something we’re accused of very often. I would think that would apply to bands like Grandaddy and Guided by Voices. We’re just kind of out here…
NM: What are you up to these days?
JL: Working, taking out the garbage, changing the oil, things of that nature.
NM: Sounds about right. So tell us about the label. Are all the Backburner artists guys that you’ve known and played with before, or have you found some talent elsewhere that you’ve signed to the label?
JL: The whole purpose of the label was to put out music by our friends and ourselves without losing too much money, and that remains the purpose for the foreseeable future. It’s not a label for those seeking a serious career in music.
NM: Who all has recorded on Backburner, and what releases do you have planned for the near future?
JL: So far the roster has included me, the Roach Bros., the Possibilities, the Vicious Rob Veal, Cafeteria, and Vic Chesnutt. No concrete plans for new records outside of my own (Monkey Paw, to be released in early to mid February), though the Roaches and the Possibilities have some really cool new stuff and they are likely candidates. Since the label is tiny and nobody tours much, we try to exercise caution so that we don’t end up with a load of CD’s in a storage bin somewhere.
NM: How would you compare your new album to Mood Elevator and Bulk, etc.?
JL: It’s probably closer to Bulk, recorded a little better, with more piano and organ than usual, due mainly to the fact that a lot of it was written on a $99 Radio Shack keyboard. That’s also a magnification of my obsession with droney Beggar’s Banquet-style open tunings.
NM: That little pullout list of players that accompanied some of your press stuff was eerily similar to our sense of humor here at Nada Mucho. I loved it. Who wrote that bad boy?
JL: You must be referring to the Tinker pullout. That was conceived and executed by me.
NM: Brilliant! So what’s up with liquor cabinet these days?
JL: Dave Philips is in LA playing with Frank Black and Tommy Stinson, Eric Sales has retired from music, Aaron Phillips is playing with an Athens band named Wide Receivers and records with us occasionally.
NM: The legend surrounding the liquor cabinet is that you all work hard, drink too much, ride motorcycles, and wear sleeveless shirts. How close to the truth is that?
JL: I think Dave Philips still has his B.S.A., but the rest of us are car guys. Our arms are too flabby and tattoo-less for sleeveless shirts… consistent heavy drinking is in the rear view mirror for the most part.
NM: Whenever I listen to “Female Jesus” (from 1997’s brilliant Bulk compilation) I want to die. Is that weird?
JL: Gee, that is weird… it makes me crave a grilled cheese and curly fries.
NM: What’s on your favorite plate of BBQ?
JL: It’s all good, but my latest discovery is a funky old drive-in called ‘Dairyland’ or ‘Dairy Lane’ in Sandersville, GA. You can get a huge BBQ chicken plate for under five bucks. The sauce is very unique for this area – vinegar based with a clove-like tang to it… m-m-m-m-m-mmmm!!!!
NM: Are you going to be playing Seattle again soon?
JL: It don’t look good… the B-Burner tour support fund consists of 37 cents and an old STP sticker…
NM: That’s too bad. What do you think of our fair city anyway?
JL: Very cool from what little I’ve seen… quite beautiful but getting somewhat pricey as far as cost of living, no? Maybe it’s just that the south is still relatively cheap.
NM: Did you feel like a “great glove, no bat” catcher after your brief stint in the majors with Mood Elevator?
JL: I would hardly consider Restless Records the “majors”… unless you consider the Dead Milkmen to be a potty-mouthed equivalent to U2…
NM: Name three contemporary pop/rock artists you think are really good.
JL: Keith Richards, PJ Harvey, Steve Earle.
NM: What are your top five favorite albums of all time?
JL: This is an absolutely impossible question to answer so I will just list five I’ve been listening to lately: 1.) Astral Weeks – Van Morrison 2.) Houses of the Holy – Zep 3.) What can you do to me Now – Willie Nelson 4.) Let it Be – The Replacements 5.) Let it Bleed – Stones.
NM: You mentioned Steve Earle. Some of our staff are really in to Marah, who recorded on Steve’s label. Have you heard of those guys?
JL: Since I only buy about one CD per decade (I prefer 25 cent vinyl records… what a fuckin’ cheapskate), I do not own either of the Marah discs, but what I have heard sounded very fine indeed. They seem to have a sense of purpose to what they are doing, which is admittedly a subjective comment on my part, but still, that’s really the only common thread between the stuff I find appealing. It’s something I don’t always get from, say, Radiohead, despite the beauty and creativity of their songs… but what the hell do I know?
NM: What’s your take on this Napster thingamabob?
JL: It’s a bit like the atom bomb… attempts to wipe it out are foolish because the technology exists and can be replicated easily. I don’t see how it could be effectively regulated either. Personally, I like the fact that I can download “Cocksucker Blues” instead of paying $200 for a crappy bootleg. Still, I think that copyright law being thrown out the window will provide problems for songwriters that are actually making a living at this shit.
NM: Sometimes do you feel sad?
JL: Sometimes. More frequently I feel indigestion.
NM: Have you ever been to a Turkish Prison?
JL: I prefer Amsterdam.
NM: One more thing before we sign off. Car question – I just bought a 1997 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for about 10-11 grand. Was that a good deal do you think? Do those cars have good engines in them? What types of problems should I look out for with it?
JL: My knowledge of GM products drops off drastically after 1970. I will say that for the same price you could have scored a ’66 Chevy II with a hopped-up small block that would smoke a new ‘vette in the quarter and still had enough left over for a sack of crank and a five year supply of cheap bourbon.
(Editor’s note: This interview appears in the February 22 print issue of Tablet, the Puget Sound’s free entertainment magazine, and also on the paper’s website at www.tabletnewspaper.com.)