Last City Weekly spoke with Jesse Logan, he appeared to be neck-deep in the rock & roll dream. As guitarist in Josh Todd’s post-Buckcherry band, he was headed to Tokyo to play two gigs with the Josh Todd Band at Japan’s Rock Odyssey festival in a Yokohama stadium. The bill included Aerosmith and The Who; Pete Townshend invited him and his mother backstage for drinks and treated them like family, even hit on Logan’s mom, “the only blonde in Japan at the time.”
Logan was thrilled, of course. The last thing he told City Weekly: “Some things are meant to happen. And this is it.”
Then he woke up. “When I returned to America,” Logan says, “I was notified via telephone that I had been fired.”
After two years of touring, Todd had pulled the plug—evidently, Logan believes, to resuscitate Buckcherry. Logan and his bandmates, who had moved to L.A. from Salt Lake City in order to join the band, received no explanation; Logan hasn’t spoken to Todd since. What was supposed to be a dream gig for everybody had become a nightmare. Logan views the affair with a mixture of resentment and perspective.
“I was in the Josh Todd Band to win it,” he says. “Money and ego, like in many other bands, destroyed our momentum and it fell apart.” Then again, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Logan confesses to “a great deal of family issues” that he needed to come back and work on. “My family has always been as big a priority as my music.”
Once family matters were settled, Logan went right back to music. He’d met Aaron Lambotte and Matt Ballard at L.A.’s famed Whisky-a-Go-Go, where both worked. Each immediately signed on, respectively filling the vocal and bass slots. Logan looked to his childhood friend Erik Wahlstrom, with whom he’d played in the bands Piss Christ, Punkadelic and The Moon Family, to handle drums. They found their name during a writing session: As Logan and Lambotte sat around a kitchen table jamming, the latter’s girlfriend drunkenly shouted requests. Says Logan, “Aaron turned to me and exclaimed “Can you imagine spending every waking moment with her?!”
Aside from that particular session, the writing has been fruitful. The first song the pair wrote, a mid-tempo alt-rock ballad called “Wasted Time,” let the men know there was chemistry. Logan had written the music the day after his father died, but hadn’t let Lambotte in on the inspiration. Still, when Logan played the songs for him, Lambotte began writing lyrics that matched “exactly how I had been feeling at the time.”It was the first of four songs they’d write their first week together. “We realized that we were on to something and needed to move quickly.”
Things have slowed some now that Logan has returned to SLC, but the band continues to move. The chemistry is still strong across the miles, Logan and Wahlstrom pong song ideas back and forth with Lambotte and Ballard. They’re shopping their music (’90s alt-rock updated to include elements of emo, even screamo) to labels and have already showcased for Atlantic Records—before even playing their first club date. That, by the way, will be a show in SLC at Liquid Joe’s this Friday.
It’s a long way from playing stadiums next to Aerosmith and The Who, but it’s good enough for Logan. He knows he’s better for the experience he gained with the Josh Todd Band and that it wasn’t exactly the plum gig it seemed.
“The experience alone was a huge career boost,” he says. “Playing in front of hundreds of thousands of people at one time was awe-inspiring.” At the end of the day, though, nothing beats working for oneself. Josh Todd may have kicked him to the curb, but Jesse Logan is enjoying the ultimate severance.
“Josh Todd wasn’t Buckcherry, but his voice was so [associated with] Buckcherry that anything written for him sounded like Buckcherry. I’ve merely continued to write the kind of music I want to write. We can’t think of anything else we’d rather do.”
EVERY WAKING MOMENT Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, Friday April 8, 9:30 p.m. 467-5637