Before our interview even began, Chief White Lightning aka Josh Logan took us on an impromptu audio tour of his Long Beach, California neighborhood as we waited on the phone while he grabbed a snack and from his local 7-Eleven. Whistling as he walked, you could hear the bing-bong of the convenient store door as he entered followed by a warm greeting to the cashier who took his money for a Rice Krispy Treat and a bottle of water. All this to give context into the mind of this budding and yet humble rock star who takes music very serious, just not so much himself.
Chief White Lighting is the creation of Logan, who also heads the Austin-based stoner-rock trio the Blind Pets. For this new venture, Logan recruited Battleme’s Mat Drenik to produce the record and as well as multi-instrumentalist Jonas Wilson and drummer Paul Pulvirenti (Elliot Smith) to round-out the studio band.
This collection of nine songs might just be in heavy rotation this summer and the soundtrack at your next barbeque, with a beer in one hand and a burger in the other. With modern-day anthem-esque tunes like, “Bleach Blonde Heritage” and “City Alive,” we finally have an actual rock album that really rocks!
AXS wanted to get to know the man behind Chief White Lighting a little more, as we talked with frontman Josh Logan about the band’s upcoming epic debut self-titled new album, why he’d fit right into the 1970s and how Robert Plant once dissed him over a selfie in the middle of the supermarket.
AXS: Chief White Lighting have been described as garage rock, country blues, psych-rock, and power-pop-rock. How do you describe your unique rock sound?
Josh Logan: One of my friends coined it best, “it’s Raw Power (Iggy Pop) meets power pop, it’s raw-power-pop.” For me, this first Chief White Lightning album is all just straight from my heart. I think the sound is electrified backwoods rocker (laughs). It’s got a little bit of Creedence Clearwater Revival, it’s got some Kinks in there and even some Beatles stuff. It’s a columniation of every kind of music I have been listening to all my life, poured into one record.
AXS: I can hear a lot of those influences on this record. What music turned you on growing up that created your pallet today?
JL: Well, the first tape I bought was Bobby McFerrin’s “Be Happy.” I loved that song. I didn't choose music, music chose me. When I was five years old, I was doing Eddie Vedder and Elvis Presley impressions (laughs). Hearing Pearl Jam’s Ten album was like seeing a girl in a bikini, but then experiencing Nirvana’s Nevermind album for the first time was like seeing the girl’s boob. You didn’t think music could get any better, but it did (laughs).
AXS: Your artsy music videos have garnered some buzz in the social media world, including your mini-Lego movie. Where do you get the ideas for some of these music videos?
JL: Uh, drugs (laughs)! Honestly, growing up I've always been creative and experimental. I've always believed in exploring the mind a lot. I don't let that child inside of me die, I'm still trying to be creative, and music videos are just another way to get the creativity out of what goes on in my head. I'm probably a certified crazy person, but I pay my bills on time.
AXS: What can we expect with Chief White Lightning’s self-titled debut album?
JL: You can expect me sleeping on your couch, cooking you breakfast in the morning because I'm going to be playing shows in every city and every nook and cranny in the United States. You can expect to fall in love. You can expect to have your heart broken. And, you can expect to be healed after all of that. This record offers so much man!
We dove a little deeper with Josh with some Chief White Lightning-themed round of questions, and he was more than enthusiastic to oblige.
AXS: When in Austin, BBQ or tacos?
JL: Barbeque tacos, it's a thing, my brother!
AXS: Last song you listened to besides your own?
JL: Last song I listened to was “Sweet Revenge” by the legend John Prine.
AXS: What do you hear, Yanny or Laurel?
JL: Hmm? I hear Yann-aurel (laughs). No, but my mom’s name is Laurie, so I hear Laurel.
AXS: If you could travel back in time, what period would you go to?
JL: The 1970s for sure dude. I'd got back to 70s with a drum kit from the future and start the greatest rock band the world has ever seen.
AXS: Speaking of great rock bands. One choice, Led Zeppelin or the Who?
JL: Oh, man that's a hard one. Keith Moon the Who is my favorite drummer. I met Robert Plant in the toilet paper section of an Austin Whole Foods one time. I asked him for a picture, and he politely declined, so I'm going with the Who. (Laughs big) Take that Robert Plant!
Chief White Lightning killer debut album drops July 13, and you check out live dates around the U.S. this summer at chiefwhitelightning.com.