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A tour of Andy Logan’s basement reveals an obsession. Here's a guy who has a lot of amplifiers and a ton of pedals, most of which he built himself. It’s an interesting tour for gear heads. And if you get him started on Blues…
Logan’s passion for gear and all things esoteric does not, however, distract him from his love of songwriting. Seven of his songs have reached the finals in international songwriting contests. “I bought THAT with Shadow on My Trail”, he says, pointing to another well used piece of gear.
Andy Logan grew up in the San Francisco bay area in the sixties and seventies, when the music scene was huge. There was a definitive “San Francisco Sound” that would later form the foundation for nearly every song Andy writes.
In the early eighties, when Logan was attending the University of California at Santa Barbara, he formed a psychedelic folk rock group,The Colours, who soon after, won a local battle of the bands. After moving to Los Angeles, changing some personnel and modernizing the sound a bit(at the request of their new management), the band became Little America, and was signed to Geffen records at the end of 1985. Little America made two albums, sold over a hundred thousand units, and landed a couple of top ten FM radio hits, namely Walk on Fire. The group broke up in 1989, but has played a handful of reunion shows. Two laughably dated videos can be found on Youtube.
In 1993, Logan and extraordinary drummer/musician Kurt Custer (Little America, Steve Earle, Lynyrd Skynyrd) teamed up to record Custer and Logan, a groundbreaking piece of soulful Americana, then he followed with three solo releases, Last Dance on the Wild Frontier, 2002, Ride, 2006, and Psychedelic Delta Moonshine, 2010, all featuring exceptional tunes without filler.
This time around, instead of writing songs for a record, deciding how he was going to record them, and then determining what mood or atmosphere he would choose for each one, Andy Logan worked backwards. He built the gear he wanted, built the sound he wanted, then wrote the songs to fit the sound.
A fixation with Jeff Beck’s Yardbirds fuzz tone on Heart Full of Soul and Over Under Sideways Down led him to begin building fuzz pedals, and then ultimately, amplifiers. After 14 fuzz boxes and 3 slightly modded Fender style amps, Logan began writing songs that expressed his love for Blues in the style of Hendrix, Trower, Cream, Free, and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, and also for Bay Area sixties garage bands like The Count V and The Chocolate Watch Band.
Transistors of Mercy, Andy Logan’s 4th solo effort, is the result. Backed by the O.C. 75s* (Paul Slivka-Bass, and Brian Glass-Drums), Andy plays all of the guitars, with the exception of the legendary Ed King (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Strawberry Alarm Clock), who solos with his trademark virtuosity on the track “Mr. Nothin’”.
This is one relentless Blues-filled, fuzz laden, energy-driven, vibe-laced, acid tripping, train ride of a record. And it’s got a cool surf instrumental on it.
*O.C. 75s, incidentally, are germanium transistors used in some of the original Sola Sound Tonebender fuzz boxes made in the mid sixties. Jeff Beck used one for his Yardbirds recordings.