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NIGHT LIFE

Texas Blues Guitarist : Will (Smokey) Logg plays a great boogie beat. He'll perform with his band for Blue Monday at Nicholby's in Ventura.

June 23, 1994|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Texas blues guitar road dog Will (Smokey) Logg does things his own way. On his own Gila Monster label, his first album was a record, his second was a cassette and the new one is a CD. What's next, an eight-track? Could be. Logg has been quoted as saying, "I don't care if everybody thinks I stink." Don't worry, he doesn't.

Logg is a fluid and rockin' blues guy who doesn't do any of those basic boring blues. The best ones off his newest release, "Crash 'N' Burn, are both Logg originals--"Gold E Lox" about a bad blond and "Coral Snake Skin Knee Hi Boots," a song with a great boogie beat. You can hear these and others when Logg does the Blue Monday gig at Nicholby's in Ventura. Or you can catch him up the coast the next night at SOhO in Santa Barbara.

Logg is a Texan who moved to Chicago for a while, got the blues, then moved back to the Lone Star state. Logg's brother, Dan, is the sax-playing Flamethrower. Randy Joe Fullerton plays bass and Kevin Vet hits the drums. Between a lot of driving time, the group plays biker bars, churches, riverboats, rodeos, rattlesnake hunts, roadhouses or about anywhere with electricity. Logg talked things over recently from his Dallas home.

How long have you been doing this?

Oh, a long time. I haven't had a day job for about 17 years, and the bass player and I have been together for 15 years. We've had the drummer for a year, and the sax player, my little brother, has been following us around for about five years. Our first album came out in 1984, something like that, on vinyl. I have two unplayed copies left. "Pell Mell Hell" came out in 1988. "Crash 'N' Burn" came out in 1993, something like that, on CD. We're going to record a live album in Vancouver in July.

Are you guys on that endless blues tour?

Yeah, we play as often as we can. I just play each gig and give all I've got. I mean, if you're paying the money, you're gonna hear the whole nine yards. We do a lot of Freddy King and a lot of Howlin' Wolf. We can play six or seven sets without repeating any songs. We probably have 15 or 20 originals.

Tell a typical road story.

OK, but there's a million of 'em. One night we played in Albuquerque and we partied till like 10 the next morning. We were supposed to play a rodeo in Odessa the next day. When we got there, I drove my '74 Chevy Van into the bullpen and all the bulls were as tall as my vehicle. They alternated sets by having us play between rides. So all these young cowboys would ride around, get thrown off and stomped on. We did that all day. All the little bull riders with these great big hats really liked us. They hated that cry-in-your-beer country (stuff) and were into Metallica and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Your bio has a lengthy list of bands you've opened for. Is there anyone left you guys would like to play with?

Most of the people I like would make us look real stupid if we opened for them. The only time we do an opening slot is when we can't get a gig by ourselves, or else if it's a real high-profile gig.

Why are there so many good guitar players from Texas?

I dunno, I guess it's because it's really boring here. It's dusty and flat with nothing to do except watch the tornadoes.

How did you get the blues?

I just always liked the way it sounded. When I was growing up, I saw a lot of Freddy King. If I saw it, I ended up listening to it. Seeing it happen is totally different than listening to it on a record. That one-on-one thing makes all the difference. I also listened to a lot of Howlin' Wolf, although I never saw him. I don't like "Stormy Monday" or "The Thrill Is Gone," any of that trite blues. We're more like Freddy King meets Charles Bukowski at "High Noon."

What's the secret to survival on the road?

I dunno. When I'm onstage lost in a note and really groovin' and lost in the passage of a phrase, that's cool. The worst thing is dealing with the money at the end of the night. This stuff still goes on. I mean just last week we played in Montgomery, Ala., for 400 bucks and an unspecified percentage of the door. They charged six bucks a head at the door and 1,500 people were there. At the end of the night, they gave us an extra 25 bucks.

Details

* WHAT: Will "Smokey" Logg and the Flamethrowers.

* WHEN: Monday, 8:15 p.m.

* WHERE: Nicholby's, 404 E. Main St., Ventura.

* COST: $5.

* FYI: 653-2320.

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