Thursday, July 17, 2008

TAKING A NOVELTY TRIP TO THE 20’S WITH DOO RAG

There was this one week around 1994 where this Arizona-based duo called DOO RAG swept into my town and pretty much owned it each & every night. Having heard their awesome debut 45, “Swampwater Mop Down / Engine Bread” on Drunken Fish, I made a date to see one of their shows – and proceeded to see them twice more that week, & interviewed them for the cover of my fanzine as well. DOO RAG mania was on. People were just dumbfounded when they saw these two fellas set up their contraptions on the floor of each club: a drummer (“Thermos”) who smacked cardboard boxes and tubs to keep the beat, and a guitarist (“Bob Log”) who played and sang out of this bizarre tuba/vaccum cleaner-like kit hooked up to pedals and mics and whatnot. I can barely remember, I was so young then.

I do know that ’94 was a good year for this band – their first three singles were all great; a furious, ultra-distorted 1920s delta blues stitched together with duct tape and baling wire, with vocals so loud and echo-laden they could’ve been in Urdu. They even put out a couple of cassettes long before there was an LP, and those made the rounds to lots of hosannas and praise. I think what we all liked about these two guys was their willingness to set up their gear anytime, anywhere – in bus shelters, on street corners, and in dark clubs filled with San Francisco hipsters. Their sound reflected that sort of bootstrapping, and they were a blast live. After a couple of years, they began to strike me more as a novelty than as a band I wanted to spend a lot of time with, and I tuned out. I believe they broke up around 1998, because I started seeing Bob Log play solo around that time, popping up on bills like at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival, where we showed up to see HASIL ADKINS and BOB LOG III was playing instead (the Haze was sick – I never did get to see him). I spun this debut 45 again the other day, and remembered again why Doo Rag Week ’94 was so much fun. If anyone knows where Thermos is these days, please let us know.

Play or Download DOO RAG – “Swampwater Mop Down” (A-side)
Play or Download DOO RAG – “Engine Bread” (B-side)

7 comments:

Colinski said...

Thanks for that!

FYI: Bob Log III is touring right now with Scott H. Biram (another fantastic, blues-based one-man band). I'm getting impatient waiting for them to reach LA. Here's their tour schedule for anyone interested:

July 10 2008 - Granada Theatre - Dallas, Texas
July 11 2008 - Rudyards - Houston, Texas
July 12 2008 - Emos - Austin, Texas (outside)
July 14 2008 - The Opolis - Norman, Oklahoma
July 15 2008 - Mojo’s - Columbia, Missouri
July 16 2008 - The Picador - Iowa City, Iowa
July 17 2008 - Vaudeville Mews - Demoines, Iowa
July 18 2008 - Aquarium - Fargo, North Dakota
July 19 2008 - Triple Rock - Minneapolis, Minnesota
July 20 2008 - Deep Blues Festival - Lake Elmo, Minnesota
July 22 2008 - Ned Kelly’s Pub - Green Bay, Wisconsin
July 23 2008 - High Noon Saloon - Madison, Wisconsin
July 24 2008 - Empty Bottle - Chicago, Illinois
July 25 2008 - Pike Room - Pontiac, Michigan
July 26 2008 - Call The Office - London, Ontario
July 27 2008 - Casbah - Hamilton, Ontario
July 28 2008 - Horseshoe Tavern - Toronto, Ontario
July 29 2008 - Starlight Club - Waterloo, Ontario
July 30 2008 - Babylon - Ottowa, Ontario
July 31 2008 - La Sala Rossa - Montreal, Quebec
Aug 1 2008 - Harpers Ferry - Allston, Massachusetts
Aug 2 2008 - Jerky’s Live Music Hall - Providence, Rhode Island
Aug 3 2008 - Cafe Nine (No Scott H. Biram) New Haven, Connecticut
Aug 4 2008 - Mercury Lounge - New York, New York
Aug 5 2008 - Southpaw - Brooklyn, New York
Aug 6 2008 - Johnny Brendas - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aug 7 2008 - Iota Cafe - Arlington, Virginia
Aug 8 2008 - 31st Street Pub - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Aug 9 2008 - Cafe Bourbon Street - Columbus, Ohio
Aug 10 2008 - Off Broadway Night Club - St Louis, Missouri
Aug 11 2008 - Riot Room - Kansas City, Missouri
Aug 12 2008 - Waiting Room - Omaha, Nebraska
Aug 13 2008 - Larimer Lounge - Denver, Colorado
Aug 14 2008 - Bar Deluxe - Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 15 2008 - Neurolux - Boise, Idaho
Aug 16 2008 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, Oregon
Aug 17 2008 - Red Room - Vancouver, British Columbia
Aug 18 2008 - El Corazon - Seattle, Washington
Aug 20 2008 - Bottom of the Hill - SanFransisco, California
Aug 21 2008 - Echo - Los Angeles, California
Aug 22 2008 - Casbah - San Diego, California

chnkltgy said...

I got to see Doo Rag when they came through Georgia opening for the Blues Explosion in'94 and hot damn they were great.

Danny Plotnick said...

I saw them outside of Slims after a show there. I have know idea who I saw at Slims that night, but I remember Doo Rag. I bought a cassette. They were also selling Doo Rag bike bells as merch, which I thought was brilliant and almost bought one, but then I figured what kind of moron would buy a bike bell instead of the music. So I plonked down for the cassette.
DP

Brooklyn Bill said...

I saw them at brownies in manhattan i think, after buying this record. they were something else. had to get trike when i found out bob log was doing it by himself.

Michael Day said...

Saw one of those SF shows too. Great.

Anonymous said...

Thermos: Coin ( http://www.hafenschlammrekords.de/coin-attract-mode-p-6344.html ) and Napkin ( http://www.tucsonweekly.com/gbase/Currents/Content?oid=72232 )

FM SHADES said...

you can grab a bunch of Doo Rag's early stuff here, I digitized this out of print material a few years back.

http://fm-shades.blogspot.com/2006/05/doo-rag-early-singles-and-tour.html

FM SHADES